Virtual and Augmented Reality are Changing the Way We Online Shop

Online shopping is a quick, easy, and often inexpensive way of getting everything your heart desires. But too often it ends in disappointment. Your glee from coming home to an Amazon box on your doorstep is quickly shattered when you pull out an ill-fitting sweater or boots two sizes too small. Luckily for both shopaholics and those that just like to indulge here and there, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are changing the way people shop online.

Facebook 360 Video Offers a Gateway to Virtual Reality

Powered by Oculus, an innovative virtual reality technology company, Facebook 360 is letting users upload videos and images that show the entire 360 degrees. Retailers have jumped on this new technology, providing customers with a full view of their products. For makeup enthusiasts, NARS Cosmetics has created 360-degree makeup tutorials that let the viewer hone in on certain steps and facial features. By simply rotating your phone or swiping your cursor, you can skip the tiresome step of adding foundation and go directly to mastering your smokey eye.

Hotels are already getting in on the VR action, creating 360 videos showcasing their rooms. With this new technology, you’ll never have to blindly choose a hotel room again. To get an even more immersive effect, view Facebook 360 videos using a Samsung VR Gear device.

Furnish Your Dream Home With Augmented Reality

Augmented reality goes even further than VR. Retailers using AR let customers showcase their products in their home without ever having to make a purchase. Users can integrate products with photos of their living spaces, providing a virtual test drive of big purchases like furniture and appliances. Home improvement site BuildDirect created an augmented reality-inspired tool called Design Center. Here you can plan virtually visualize renovations before they even get underway. Simply input your dimensions, select fixtures, features, wall colors, and themes, and visually see and print your new design, without the help of a designer or architect.

Fully Immersive Shopping On Your Phone

Amazon is the world’s 8th largest retailer, so it’s no wonder they are leading the way in shopping through virtual reality. The retail pioneer recently posted a job description on LinkedIn stating “In 2016, we will launch a physical and digital Virtual Reality shopping experience anchored by new Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR gaming headsets.” All of the details aren’t yet revealed, but VR shopping, led by Amazon, would completely revolutionize the online experience.  Seeing products in a virtual space and possibly trying them on in this virtual world, could potentially alleviate the need for returns, or at least drastically reduce it.

Online shopping has never been easier. With these new technologies and what’s to come in the future, making purchases online won’t be much different than making those same purchases at a brick and mortar store. Virtual and augmented reality allows users to perfect makeup and other skills, design their dream living room and try on bathing suits from the comfort of their home.

Image via Flickr by nan palmero