Lowe’s Brings VR to Power Tools

Lowe’s Innovation Labs is using virtual reality as a fun and safe way to let potential customers play with power tools in their stores. Their latest installation involves a hedge trimmer–actual blades removed, of course.

The experience was built on HTC Vive VR, with accurate visual approximation and the real vibrating feel of trimming hedges. It’s also gamified, giving out gold stars for a job well done.

The pilot test across several cities has seen great success. People’s confidence with the product increased 127% after the experience.

 

Why It’s Hot

This is a smart way to help people test drive products that would normally be difficult to evaluate before purchasing. It also helps people get comfortable with tools that might otherwise intimidate them.

Source: Fast Company

Checking Out With VR

MasterCard and Swarovski claim they are the first to make virtual commerce a reality.

Retailers like Lowes and Ikea have created virtual showrooms where consumers can browse goods while wearing VR headsets, but shoppers can’t buy products while in the VR experience. Instead, items are added to a shopping cart to be purchased later on a different device.

Swarovski borrows much from Lowes and Ikea, as its VR shoppers walk around a high-end home and interact with various crystals from the retailer’s Atelier collection (see video below). Engaging with a product also provides details about it, such as price and the option to check out right then and there with Mastercard’s MasterPass.

“The average time users spend on visits is nine minutes,” said Abi Mandelbaum, CEO and co-founder of YouVisit, which powered the option to check out in VR for Mastercard. “If you can get someone to engage with you for nine minutes, why do you want them to go somewhere else to complete the purchase?”

Source

Why It’s (Maybe) Hot

Marketers are still trying to find applications for VR so purchasing within an app is an interesting idea. But would this work for products outside of the luxury vertical? And will it actually drive sales?

Walmart Disrupts Healthcare?

8009-2-HW-Shoot-Walmart-Dallas-10.10-Store-5823-106-Accessibility is a key issue in healthcare. No surprise the titan of retail access, Walmart, is tackling the issue and looking to define its place. Walmart is quietly testing and extending wellness programming in-store and online, looking to become the chief destination of retail health and wellness, service and lower cost primary care options. Business insiders are predicting Walmart’s presence here as a major disruption in the U.S. healthcare system.

CMI wrote of the news:  In addition to making healthcare and healthier food more affordable and accessible, the retailer is focusing on preventive care and supporting overall well-being through in-store events, online education and an expanding array of healthy products and services. Walmart offers over 1,700 organic products, with nearly 10% in the produce aisle, and has been quietly opening its Care Clinic model across several markets, including Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. The Walmart Care Clinic aims to be a primary medical provider offering diagnosis and treatment of chronic and acute illnesses, as well as preventative services, such as immunizations, physicals and other health screenings.