Alibaba Teases VR Shopping Experience

by Charles Singletary • November 1st, 2016

Online shopping is the ultimate convenience when indulging in our retail obsessions or just seeking out the essentials. With only a few clicks, we can compare prices, designs, and features without having to brave vehicular traffic, foot traffic, or the ever unpredictable attitude of the employees tasked with guiding our perusing. While the absence of those things is a relief, there are aspects of a brick & mortar building that are missed when shopping online and Alibaba may have a solution with their Buy+ service.

A recent tweet from the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce company, showed off the Buy+ virtual reality device. The video teases the promised functionality from putting on the goggles to making a purchase. At the start, the video’s protagonist dons the goggles and watches as a small room is digitally created. After looking around, he notices a wall of moving pictures, like Harry Potter, and each one depicts a different major city around the world. The user mistakenly chooses one of the images and drops into a lowrider traveling through New York City, eventually ending up in a Macy’s department store. Once there, he wanders down an aisle and chooses a purse that his girlfriend may like. This prompts a new layer to pop up on the VR interface, showing all angles of the purse, price, and purchase options. The interface is mostly in Chinese, so there are some smaller elements that we’ll have to wait to understand (we reached out to Alibaba for comment and will update if we receive a response).

The video is likely a goal concept, showing what they hope Buy+ will be in its final form.

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