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Retail Details: Virtual Reality Takes on Retail


The retail market can be a hard to break into—and even harder to fill all those empty storefronts. Where’s the best market for a product? What’s the best way to set up a store? How much inventory is needed? Some retailers have tested the waters online with the e-commerce interface started by Amazon (AMZN) 20 years ago to sell books.

“That kind of interface got co-opted now to sell every product category and every single type of brand,” said Neha Singh, the founder and CEO of Obsess, an augmented and virtual reality shopping platform. “Everything ends up looking the same online.”

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The other option is to open a pop-up, but how do retailers reach those who missed their chance to shop? Enter virtual reality.

“We are addressing a need for brands who really want to be able try before they buy,” said Joy Fan, the chief creative officer at Storefront, a company that provides short-term retail spaces. “We saw an opportunity to start to build out a virtual pop-up.”

Commercial Observer talked with two virtual reality shopping experts to get the lowdown on how the budding tech is helping not only retailers but also the landlords trying to fill their empty spaces.