Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day

Amazon has opened 10 virtual reality kiosks in India to promote its Prime Day shopping event, taking place for 36 hours over July 16 and 17.

Users stick on an Oculus Rift headset and are transported to a city filled with Prime Day products. They begin from the comfort of a hot air balloon ride, which gently places them down in an animated park. From there, they can walk through different rooms for different sections of a store – from bath and beauty, to technology and then toys.

The move is one of the more creative iterations of VR retail that we’ve seen – a more engaging experience than the typical recreation of a brick and mortar space in computer imagery.

That is particularly the case because users can handle any product in full 3D by using Oculus Touch controllers. Smartphones can be turned around, clothing can be experienced by being placed on holograms to demonstrate fit, while white goods including fridges and washing machines can be explored from every angle, including inside.

“How do you discover 200-plus products that are not in the market yet? Last year, customers told us ‘we loved the stuff when we got it but we were wary while buying it since it was not something we’d ever seen’,” Akshay Sahi, head of Amazon Prime in India, told Quartz.

“So now with VR, people can see the products in their true form factor. They can see how a microwave is going to look on a countertop and how a dress looks on a model. You can see jewellery up close and observe it in great detail.”

The initiative was pioneered by Amazon India and is in shopping malls in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata.