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Singles Day: How China's Alibaba wants to change shopping

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Gary Wynn
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Alibaba customers could use virtual reality to shop

Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba singlehandedly created the world's biggest online shopping event known as Singles Day.

Customers either use a VR headset or buy a 1-yuan 12p, $0.15 cardboard frame - similar to Google Cardboard - to slot in their smartphones and explore virtual replicas of stores such as Macy's and Costco.

Those with headsets can "walk" around the shop, "pick up" items to examine them virtually, and make instant purchases by staring at floating buttons.

Observers say VR shopping could take off as it gives online shoppers a more immersive experience - and Alibaba is the first to do it in a big way.

So this way the company is pre-empting that and building their own VR mall to keep these brands in their eco-system," says Jack Chuang of OC Strategy Consultants.

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Gary Wynn
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