News

Retale envisions virtual showroom app

BY Dan Berthiaume

The Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset is slowly gaining popularity with retailers as a customer engagement tool, and an industry vendor is hoping to capitalize on the trend.

Location-based mobile platform Retale is releasing Retale Virtual Reality (VR) for Oculus Rift this year. Designed to be a VR, location-based shopping companion, it will provide an immersive, 3D environment where customers can shop context-based local offers.

Retale is building its Oculus app upon the intuitive retailer, product, and coupon browsing experience it provides on iOS, Android and Apple Watch apps. With VR capability, Retale seeks to add an immersive interface that connects the digital experience with an actual brick-and-mortar one. Users will be able to browse virtual showrooms and researching deals in a virtual world, learn about products in 3D and then add them to their shopping list.

Once the user has explored the weekly deals and VR showrooms offered by Retale’s retail partners, they are able to select products or stores that they’re interested in and add them to their shopping list on the Retale mobile app. From there, the mobile app will send a push notification confirming the addition, and users can receive navigation information to guide them to the nearest retail location to purchase their selection.

Retailers including J.C. Penney, Lowe’s and Canadian Tire have launched Oculus-based store promotions in recent months. VR innately blends the physical and digital worlds, so it is a natural fit for omnichannel promotions that digitally drive store traffic and purchases. As Oculus Rift and other VR devices become more mainstream in the coming years, expect more retailers and retail IT vendors to take advantage.

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Jordan’s Furniture, New Haven

BY CSA STAFF
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Jordan’s Furniture believes in giving people a reason to visit its stores — a reason that extends beyond merchandise. And its newest location is no exception to the rule.

The 192,500-sq.-ft. space combines retail with entertainment, and devotes 20,000 sq. ft. to such attractions as an elaborate indoor rope course, a water show with light and sound effects, a pizzeria and ice cream counter.

The “IT Adventure Indoor Ropes Course,” billed as the world's largest indoor adventure ropes course, features two 60-ft.-high ropes courses with four levels, zigzag swinging beams, bridges, plank-walking, a catwalk and a 48-ft.-high free fall jump. There are four 200-ft.-long, 48-ft.-high zip lines that extend above the water show.

On the retail side, Jordan’s uses home-styled vignettes to display its massive assortment of furniture and related accessories.

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Strong dollar hits Bed Bath & Beyond

BY Gina Acosta

A drop in same-store sales led Bed Bath & Beyond to report a 21% decline in profit for the third quarter.

The retailer said same store sales in the third quarter ended Nov. 28 decreased by approximately 0.4%, compared with an increase of approximately 1.7% in last year's fiscal third quarter. Same-store sales from digital channels grew in excess of 25%.

Bed Bath & Beyond reported a profit of $177.8 million, or $1.09 a share, compared with $225.4 million, or $1.23 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 0.3% to $2.95 billion.

The company said its income faced tax expenses and currency headwinds in the third quarter.

For the current quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond said it expects same-store sales to climb about 2%.

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