Virtual Reality is not going away anytime soon. From E3 to San Diego ComicCon, the platform has gained a great deal of press in how it presents entertainment. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has started the process of adding a more useful application of the product. It’s not educational, but it does make people’s lives easier. Alibaba calls it Buy+, and it allows shoppers to have a virtual reality shopping experience.
The advent of Buy+
Zhuang Zhuoran, the mobile technology director for Alibaba was interviewed by the South China Morning Post about this reveal. Zhuang admits that the technology still has a long way to go. “An initial market for VR and AR (augmented reality) is yet to be developed [in China]. The industry needs time more time to mature,” he says.
Chris Tung, Alibaba’s chief marketing officer, was also interviewed about the technology. Tung explains that Buy+ is mainly a tool to allow customers to see what the future of shopping could look like. The rest of the of the industry in China needs to mature and adopt VR before it becomes commercially viable he explains.
Alibaba is not the only online store looking to embrace the potential benefits of VR for the e-commerce market. eBay in May teamed up with Australian retail chain Myer to begin development on a VR store. Buy+ furthermore is being treated more as a proof of concept rather than a definite launch by Alibaba. China’s adoption rate of VR is partly the reason for this, according to the South China Morning Post.
Most important to note from the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, is that the company is not developing their own VR hardware. Buy+ or any of its future iterations will remain as software only. This makes it will likely be available on both mobile and PC VR platforms.