Wayfair is stepping into the future of retail and bringing brand awareness using virtual reality. The company recently announced the launch of Patio Playground, its first-party reality application.
Using Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset, shoppers are introduced to a lakeside scene where they can browse Wayfair’s virtual catalog, selecting outdoor furniture and décor to design a backyard setting.
Mike Festa, Head of Wayfair’s Research and Development Lab, said since there isn’t a direct way for consumers to purchase products through the virtual reality application at this time, Wayfair is more focused on the opportunity to showcase some of its items in a new setting. He said this demonstrates its thought leadership in virtual and artificial reality fields, ecommerce industry and increased awareness.
Festa said Wayfair is looking into a purchasing component for its next iteration.
“For now, we want to use Patio Playground to test the virtual reality experience, look at how consumers are engaging with it, and integrate that feedback into our future applications,” he said.
Since implementing Patio Playground, Wayfair has been able to track the number of downloads, length of time playing, and how often certain features are being used, such as teleporting, loading products, saving and more.
Festa would not say yet what other ways Wayfair is looking to incorporate virtual reality.
“We are anticipating that consumers will not adopt virtual reality technology for a few years, but when it does happen, we will be well positioned to take advantage of the new platform,” said Festa.
Festa said virtual reality technology is a great platform to provide inspiration for customers looking to decorate their homes and considering new product purchases.
“It is an immersive experience that can bring the sensation of being in a showroom to your home, and allows for easy customization of everything on display,” said Festa.