Initially touted for its potential to revolutionize the video-gaming experience, the latest generation of virtual reality (VR) technology has found numerous applications beyond its initial scope, including within healthcare, education, and industry. Even luxury brands are getting in on the action (Dior, Lexus, and Yves Saint Laurent, among others), hoping VR apps will prove an enticing new avenue for customers to get up close and personal with their products.
Now, Swarovski has teamed with MasterCard to offer a comprehensive VR shopping experience—letting customers not only browse wares from their Atelier Swarovski home décor line in a virtual setting, but also directly purchase the items that pique their interest. Once the app has been downloaded from either the iTunes store or the Google Play store, users enter their MasterPass (MasterCard’s digital payment service) credentials. They then put their phone into a compatible system—such as a Samsung Gear VR—strap on the headset, and enter a virtual home stocked with Swarovski products.
Using the motion of their own heads, customers can look around the home and move through its various rooms. If an object catches their eye, they can focus in on it to learn its price, the story behind the piece, its manufacturing process (sometimes including video), and the creative journey of its designer. If the user wishes to purchase the piece, they can complete the transaction simply by staring at the MasterPass logo at the bottom of its description. Once the headset is removed, the user is automatically logged out of MasterPass so no accidental purchases can be made.
The Swarovski and MasterCard app will be available for download within the iPhone and Android app stores in October. It remains to be seen whether apps of this nature are a passing fancy or the way of the future, but at least one thing is certain: impulse buyers have just met their worst enemy.