Virtual reality is the next big thing, it is here and it is here to stay. This does seem to be the general consensus among most people who are interested in technology beyond the superficial level. However, these sentiments are somewhat contradictory to the habits of the average consumer right now, as in spite of being here virtual reality has yet to take off in any meaningful manner when it comes to the general public’s shopping habits. Yes, exposure to virtual reality is increasing due to companies like Samsung who offered free Gear VR headsets to those who pre-ordered the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, as well as some of the big name VR companies like HTC, Oculus and even Sony starting to make available their high-end virtual reality options to consumers. But that does not change the fact that large and wide adoption is not anywhere near happening yet.
Although, Best Buy does seem to be a retailer who is looking to ensure that when virtual reality does drop into the mainstream, they are there and ready to account for those hungry VR customers. According to a report out of Bloomberg today, Best Buy plans to significantly ramp up its virtual reality exposure in time for the holiday season. This ramping will include the introduction of 500 in-store demo stations which will be showcasing the Oculus Rift. This is a unit which is already being showcased in some Best Buy stores, although the latest news is that the retailer will significantly increase the number of store demonstrations in the weeks ahead. In addition, 200 demo stations will also be showcasing the PlayStation VR option. In contrast to the Oculus demos though, the PlayStation ones are said to be somewhat roaming with the demonstrations rotating across the store’s network over time.
According to the same information, this is all happening as Best Buy sees the possible value in what will become the virtual reality market going forward, with comments made during a conference call by Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s CEO, that “virtual reality has the potential to contribute to our growth”. Of course, Joly is more than acutely aware that this is not going to happen overnight and does highlight some of the genuine issues that are already suspected to prove problematic for a general consumer VR market. Issues which include the high cost of the equipment needed and the fact that consumers might be somewhat hesitant in buying or using equipment which intrinsically needs to be attached to their head.