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SapientNitro developing VR Shopping Experience‏ for The Apartment

Imagine putting on a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), then instead of firing up the latest immersive videogame or underwater experience, you are simply transported to a virtual shopping centre or high street to browse whatever takes your fancy. Well marketing agency SapientNitro, owned by Publicis Groupe, has been working with luxury boutique The Line to develop a demonstration that takes people into the brand’s Manhattan store, The Apartment. 

SapientNitro has been using a Samsung Gear VR HMD combined with a Galaxy Note 4 phone to enable viewers to walk around the store and focus their view on hotspots to approach furnishings. Then an audio description is played through the attached headphones while the cost is displayed. The viewer can also rotate the product to explore different angles. Tapping the headset then adds the product to a virtual shopping cart.

Adrian Slobin, global innovation lead at SapientNitro states, “This was about creating a vibe relevant to what the Apartment is doing,” adding “It’s a Soho-based, heavily curated, high-end brand experience.”

The company plans to show the technology this week at the Cannes Lionsmarketing industry conference in France, which runs through to Saturday.

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This isn’t the first time SapientNitro has combined VR and online shopping together. The company worked with virtual reality developers Sixense earlier in the year to create a demonstration where a consumer could virtually browse shoes from a display, “pick up” a product with their hands, using an avatar “try on” an outfit, and purchase. The platform is able learn consumer prefernences and personalize the selection with frequent use.

As more devices become available, a virtual world where friends near and far could go “shopping” together becomes a possibility, creating a more immersive social experience within the digital realm.

VRFocus will be following any further updates from SapientNitro in the future.