Ted Baker has opened its first ‘virtual’ store amid wider experiments with digital technology in a new concept store in London's Shoreditch.
High resolution panoramic photography software partnered with 3D mapping means customers worldwide can roam the space online, picking up items of clothing to view in closer detail, interact with surroundings as well as purchase goods.
The experience was created by virtual reality (VR) agency Avenue Imperia to coincide with Ted Baker’s concept store launch in Shoreditch, which has seen it expand its offering to include spectacles, bicycles and a barbershop.
Called 'Ted Baker and More' the store has also seen more digital elements incorporated such as outdoor screens which allow passers by to play games or watch films, a 3D hologram unit, a lenticular device, LED projection, and digital displays.
Craig Smith, brand communication director told The Drum that virtual shopping was not only a good chance to showcase the concept store but also gave the brand a chance to test the effectiveness of such a tool.
It comes as virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear become increasingly available, and affordable, to consumers.
However, Smith remained coy on whether the virtual store marked the start a greater investment by Ted Baker into VR.
“It still feels a like a PR story at the moment. It won't be too long before people are starting to utilise the technologies to actually assist in store and around product. But in the general programme of shopping it’s still a little bit out there. Although it won’t be long until it starts to fit in seamlessly. But this point in time people are too self-conscious,” he said.
Smith explained that over the next four months Ted Baker will take the temperature of consumer interest in not only VR, but other digital experiences trialled in its Shoreditch store.
“We are looking to experiment with things to see where we might adopt them,” he said. “We’ll then have a better idea of what to develop further and what we’re going to leave in the one store.”
Ted Baker has ramped up its digital strategy in recent months, having made a u-turn on what it had previously dubbed “alien” beacon technology to test it out in its Westfield store.