Forget walking around a real shop or searching online to buy a PC – in the future you’ll be browsing around a virtual shop using a virtual reality headset.
That’s the vision of Trillenium, a builder of 3D virtual reality shops for online retailers, which has been backed by the likes of British tennis star Andy Murray and UK fashion etailer ASOS.
Trillenium has raised over £225,000 in funding so far on online crowdfunding website Seedrs, including an undisclosed amount from Murray.
Trillenium has already built ASOS prototypes using the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard VR headsets, as well as 3D software Unity. You can try out a demo of the 3D virtual shop technology on its website.
Obviously, the outcome of such a venture depends largely on the success of virtual reality and whether it will take off or not. The Facebook-owned Oculus Rift launches in early 2016, while other headsets such as the HTC Vive and Avegant Glyph are on the way too.
But certainly, the potential of 3D virtual shops is huge. It will offer retailers the chance to really focus on their strengths, highlight their core product range and ethos, and allow their customers to get closer to their brand, whether they’re a PC gaming system builder, components trader or a seller of major new desktops and laptops, like Currys/PC World.
Trillenium said in a statement: "We are the leaders in designing and making social shops just like a games designer makes a game. The social shops sit alongside online sites and catalogues. Then we scan the stock inventory. We’re experts at that, in 2D and 3D.
"When friends or store assistants shop together peer approval is given and received by your customers. So fewer items are returned to the retailer."
Murray also invested in London-based healthier eating chain Tossed and the Fuel Ventures Fund.
Murray said: “I’m excited to be investing in these driven entrepreneurs and their businesses on Seedrs. It’s important to me that I back people who I believe have the same dedication, hunger and professional standards as myself and always strive to be their best.
“The three businesses I’ve chosen to kick off my crowdfunding investment portfolio are all in areas of industry I find interesting. Healthy eating is something I have to be passionate about as a sportsman, so Tossed was immediately one to consider, and the other two businesses are really pushing the boundaries of technology.
"I’m hoping that I can learn something from how they are edging ahead of the competition and take that vision onto the court with me. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these businesses and continuing to work closely with Seedrs.”
Murray was the first major public figure to team up with an equity crowdfunding platform in this way.
Jeff Lynn, CEO and co-founder of Seedrs, added: "It’s great to see Andy already taking such an active interest in the businesses on Seedrs. The fact he has decided to make multiple investments in hungry entrepreneurs shows his commitment to building a dynamic portfolio of early-stage businesses.
"Andy has already brought a lot of value to the Seedrs Advisory Board over the past few months and we welcome his continued support.”
What do you think? Is offering a 3D virtual shop something you would consider offering your customers?