Google's new app with BMW will allow shoppers to see life-size images of vehicles.

Google To Incorporate Virtual Reality Into Shopping

Google's new app with BMW will allow shoppers to see life-size images of vehicles.

For years, e-commerce has been all the rage — you’d be hard-pressed to find retailers who don’t make their products available online. However, there remain inherent drawbacks of online shopping, as opposed to visiting a bricks-and-mortar retail location. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell what you’re actually purchasing — even with established retailers. We’ve all had times when we’ve ordered a product online, only to find ourselves disappointed once we see the item in person.

But now, Google just gave online shoppers a new reason to rejoice. Google will be adding a virtual reality dimension to shopping, which will allow shoppers to see potential purchases from the comfort of their own home.

BMW and Gap Partnerships

Last week, the Alphabet unit announced two new partnerships with BMW and Gap Inc. These partnerships will use Tango, a 3D-scanning project that relies on cameras and sensors to project digital images in real space. For reference: you’re likely familiar with this type of technology from Pokemon Go.

For industry experts, this announcement isn’t a huge shocker. In recent years, virtual reality games and technology have only become more popular. Many analysts predicted it was only a matter of time before virtual reality technology would be utilized in a retail context.

But how exactly will this technology work? In the case of BMW,  a new app — which is currently being tested — shows cars right on your smartphone screen. The kicker? The vehicles can be made to look life size. So if you’re shopping at home, the car appears as if it were actually right inside your driveway or garage. High res images show what the car looks like in six different colours, with multiple types of wheels and trims. According to BMW, this smartphone app will be available at its auto dealerships in 11 different countries.

In terms of Gap, Tango would also let online shoppers test out the store’s clothes. Using their own 3D avatar, shoppers can try on different pieces of clothing. Similar to BMW, Gap will also have its own app in which customers can experience the brand in a virtual reality setting.

For more on this story, visit The Globe and Mail.

Featured image source: BMW

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