Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has introduced its own virtual reality research lab. Dubbed GnomeMagic Lab, the space will work with Alibaba's shopping businesses with intent of integrating virtual reality into the shopping experience.
The Lab will also explore other applications such as video with Youku Tudou and entertainment via Alibaba Pictures, reported TechCrunch.
According to Zhao Haiping, a former Facebook engineer now on the GnomeMagic Lab team, virtual reality could enable customers to shop virtually on New York's Fifth Avenue while sitting in their homes. On a practical level, Alibaba wants to help merchants to use the technology to sell on its sites. Alibaba says it's already created visuals for hundreds of products on its site.
Other retailers are also experimenting with virtual reality. For example, AT&T recently announced a partnership with Samsung Electronics. As of February, 133 AT&T stores in 37 states have a Samsung Gear VR by Oculus that lets users virtually experience a Carnival Cruise.
In another example, Lowe's showed off a Holoroom at the International CES in January. The home improvement retailer is using a virtual product platform to help shoppers connect smart home devices.
And last fall Tommy Hilfiger teamed up with Samsung GearVR headset to create a virtual experience of sitting front row at a runway event.
-See this TechCrunch article
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