The virtual locker room
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    The virtual locker room

    The man was ahead of his time. In the autumn of 1967, the Frenchman presented by Jean-Claude Bourdier in the Parisian Department store Au Printemps, an “optical dressing method”: the head of The customers was projected using Mirrors on the body of Mannequins. It should look like, as would the customer, the clothing itself.

    At least 200,000 “illusion cabins” wanted to sell the young inventor. However, by Bourdiers has not set magic mirror. 50 years later, however, a very similar idea to send to revolutionize the shopping experience – it is based on Virtual Reality (VR).

    Using a pair of glasses, the user is immersed in an artificial, three-dimensional world. In this private, self-contained environment, he can move freely and interact.

    Manufacturers and retailers hope to additional sales. The stationary chain stores could offset through virtual Showrooms their drawbacks product selection in the face of competition on the Internet. But also your online competitors want to use the technology to make the Shopping on the net attractive.

    For Birger Priddat, economic philosopher at the University of Witten-Herdecke, it’s only a matter of time before the technology will prevail. “The current online world leaves people with a gap, because you can’t experience the things on the Internet so far, or touch,” he says. “The VR technology could close this gap.”

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    Even when shopping in the real world: “imagine that you could project with just a wipe of all the pieces of clothing on your body – directly to your personal character, your individual gear and your movements tailored,” says Priddat. You could see how the dress moves when Dancing. Or, as it is in sports clothing running on the treadmill. The lipstick can be tested, without the need to even come in contact with the paint.

    In the three-dimensionality of the customer to consider in any Outfit of all pages can advise self as a stranger. He may even try individually dresses and orders, which have not yet been produced.

    A few years ago, VR were glasses are expensive and only under computer game Nerds widely used. Meanwhile, the futuristic devices, reminiscent of mirrored goggles are for less than a hundred euros. Vendors such as Samsung, Zeiss, but also Facebook and Google to flood the market with new models. Cheap cardboard versions for the Smartphone costs only a few euros.

    The manufacturer, however high costs, they need to have their products for use in the virtual world using a special photo technique to measure. Christian Rahtjen and Martin copper by the Hamburg-based company 747 Studios are specialized, such by means of 3-D Animation generated images. Its customers include Siemens, Bosch, Nestle, and Vitra.

    To visualize a whole range of””, as Rahtjen’s called, can cost a high six-figure sum. For small brands, this is usually prohibitive.

    “But the shopping in virtual reality, of course, has a Wow effect,” says Rahtjen. The question is whether the technology will be a serious selling tool, “or whether it is mainly used for the Image of a brand”.

    German retailers use the innovations mainly as a Marketing gimmick in selected stores. In the case of Saturn, the VR Shop is located in a virtual space station, the Advisory Avatar is a mixture of Alien and squid. Intersport in Berlin at the Alexa shopping centre invites the customer to an adventure holiday. You can drive in the virtual kayaking on the Amazon, or a bonfire against the backdrop of the Northern lights ignite.

    In China, the trade is much more. The “smart dressing rooms”, the long lines with a predominantly young, curious customers form prior to the first networked changing cabins,. For Chinese customers, the US Department store Macy’s has already opened a virtual Store.

    “Pop-up Stores, where you can experience this new technology, are also likely to attract in this country a large audience,” says Angelika Huber-Straßer by the consulting firm KPMG. Even if the investment costs are high, “for expensive goods such as cars or luxury brands who want to distinguish themselves from the competition, will pay off in such applications over the long term”.

    So the customer could make it in the self-configured car to a virtual joyride, he could turn up the stereo and the wind feel like a real test drive.

    A real value for the customers, especially in the case of furnishings, such as beds and kitchens. A virtual Showroom offers an almost unlimited choice, regardless of the size of the stationary business.

    At Ikea in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the customer can look around by using a VR-glasses in a kind of virtual Ikea catalog, he can provide products in all variants, and even the lighting conditions regulate. What he cannot save: at the end of the shopping trip, the selected Goods and Colour requirements and so proceed to checkout.

    With the unsatisfactory result that the virtual shopping that is still just that: virtual.



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