Saturn customers can use their own VR goggles to see products in two virtual environments. It is not yet possible to actually buy something in VR however.
German Saturn, part of Media Saturn alongside MediaMarkt, already introduced store robot Paul and augmented reality shopping assistant Paula. Now, it has launched Virtual Saturn which presents two virtual environments (Saturn Loft and Planet Saturn) to display electronics. Customers will have to have a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift for the time being, but a version for Windows Mixed Reality headsets is also in the works.
Virtually reality applications are not a new addition to retail: furniture store chain Ikea already launched an app to view its kitchens from every angle. Chinese Alibaba already introduced Buy+ in 2016: the platform allowed customers to view products in 360°. Nevertheless, Saturn believes it has taken things one step further, adding a layer of gamification to its app: customers can access fully-equipped virtual store worlds.
No purchases in VR yet
Customers can also consult Saturn experts in the virtual reality environment, but it is not yet possible to actually buy something in VR. If customers do want to buy something, they will have to leave the virtual world. “It all still feels a bit like you are shopping online in 1994”, chief digital officer Martin Wild admitted. “However, we are trying out things and together with our customers, we are optimizing our applications.”
The VR application will be introduced in Germany by the end of November thanks to a 10-week tour in 20 Saturn stores. This tour is actually a test to acquire as much feedback as possible about Virtual Saturn, but the group is already considering the next steps. “In the short term, we would like to expand our product catalog and develop a multi-user interface allowing four friends to shop in virtual reality at the same time”, Wild said. “In the long term, we would like to incorporate sensory components, like touch or smell, into the virtual reality experience.”