FL feels like people have been yapping on about Virtual Reality technology for years. FL always assumed it would be similar to the hologram messages the droids send around in Star Wars. But until very recently, FL hasn’t seen any tangible results of this labour. Now all of a sudden, VR seems to be taking over. We’ve already mentioned Pokemon-Go and even drone racing, both of which use VR to create fun new realms to play in. And now, Ebay has been the first to release a VR shopping device in Australia. You put on the headset, and then proceed to perambulate around the inside of their virtual shopping centre.
FL has seen similar attempts at this kind of technology in the last 5 years, which you probably never saw because they didn’t take off. These were computer programs which you could pan around on and walk through the virtual shopping centre. This failed for several reasons. 1) The graphics were similar to a budget computer game. 2) The products were basically cartoons, and when you click on them you get directed to amazon or another online shop. Why not just go there straight away? And 3) they completely missed the fact that no one actually enjoys yomping around a shopping centre. Why do they think conveyor belts that go in a straight line were invented? Because no one can be bothered with the time and effort it takes to traverse a whopping great shopping centre, why would we want to do it online anymore?! No. All wrong.
Ebay’s headset seems to be getting a lot closer to hitting the nail on the head however. They’ve ditched trying to copy a real shop, and have a much more intuitive and slick interface. You can whizz around the grid from one category to another. All very quick and easy. The product isn’t launched in the UK yet so FL hasn’t been able to test it for itself. However it seems you just control it with your eyes which is pretty awesome.
Another fun feature of e-shopping is the ability to try things on virtually. This works in the same way as Snapchat filters, which project things onto your face that move and adapt with you. FL hates trying things on in shops. Getting dressed and undressed in a tiny cubicle multiple times in quick succession is not FL’s idea of a nice Saturday. Especially when you’re carrying lots of bags, a coffee and have to watch the whole experience in mirrors on all sides. FL does not look graceful in such a scenario it has found. No. FL appreciates that until VR cannot cater for all the 3D curves of the body, this will not be a complete solution. But even if it reduces the ordeal by 50% – FL will be appreciative and watch the progress of this particular sector with encouraging interest.