Microsoft partner 360dgrees has developed a VR “shopping experience” platform running on Azure for clothing retailer Country Road, with plans to bring it to other retailers in the near future.
The platform uses Microsoft’s Hololens to allow customers to select garments to try on, buy, or put on a wish list within a VR environment.
Retailers can also gather insights about customer shopping habits, like being able to identify which items are selected but not purchased.
The platform will be showcased at the US National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show later this month along with retail use cases.
“We are excited about the opportunity for retailers to experience 360dgrees at NRF,” 360dgrees chief executive Toby Ellis said.
“With our partner Microsoft we are committed to empowering retailers through a solution which can not only provide a unique training solution for staff across the organisation but also deliver a heightened experience for customers.”
“One of the conversations with Country Road group – is about how to create immersive retail customer experiences,” Ellis said.
“Imagine going into the retail clothing store and instead of seeing the clothes hanging there – you put on a VR headset and see the fashion in the context it was designed for – that could be on the beach, at the races, lunch with friends – you are seeing the clothes in action.”
He added that Azure has made the 360dgrees platform more affordable by doing away with computer generated images and 3D modelling, in what he describes as “interactive reality”.
360dgrees will facilitate training by placing people into situations they might not previously have experienced, allowing employees to prepare for and refine their customer engagement strategies.
“Knowledge retention from listening is at 5 percent, from writing something down 10 percent – but from doing it’s 75 per cent,” Ellis said.
“When we make the content interactive and gamify the experience people are learning by doing so knowledge retention goes from 5 percent to 75 percent.”
“But the real kicker for interactive reality is the ability to experience consequence safely – experience drives behaviour. In nine out of ten cases knowledge is not the problem – if you can let someone experience the consequence of something whether it be the customer experience in a store or instruction while driving you can go a long way to changing behaviour.”
Founded in 2016, 360dgrees is a venture tied with Sydney-based "reverse incubator" Lakeba, whose more than 100 staff backs up 360dgrees' five full-time staff.
"360dgrees.com came from conversations with industry looking to solve problems using emerging technology," Ellis told CRN.
"We conceived the solution responding to an industry request to help solve a business problem using emerging technology, created the platform with our development teams and have commercialised it as 360dgrees.com and taken it to market as its own venture."