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The Los Angeles Times had a long story over the weekend about how, while virtual reality "is coming to amusement parks, movie theaters and classrooms," the technology "presents a major opportunity for retailers as they try to lure fickle shoppers into their stores, particularly as consumers shift more of their buying habits online."

Already taking advantage of the opportunity are companies like Ikea, Lowe's, Toms and North Face, which "are turning to virtual reality to sell products, boost their brands and make shopping more fun."

For example, Lowe's in selected stores around the country is offering "a space that enables shoppers to see a 3-D mock-up of their renovation plans. Called the Holoroom, the simulated space can be personalized with individual room sizes, equipment, colors and finishings. Shoppers can give Lowe's the dimensions of a room and fill it from a selection of thousands of Lowe's products.

"Then they slip on an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to look at how all the elements play together (an employee can switch out parts of the room while the customer is still looking). The design is also viewable at home on YouTube 360 with a Google Cardboard viewer, which Lowe's gives out free through on-site vending machines."

You can read the entire story here.
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