AlibabaThe perks of shopping online is that you have pretty much access to just about any store in a world that has a website. Granted some places don’t ship to certain countries, but barring that the world is pretty much your oyster. However the only downside that sometimes you miss out on the experience of shopping in a brick and mortar store, the ability to try on clothes, and so on.

However Alibaba is hoping to change that as they have announced the launch of their own VR research lab, GnomeMagic Lab. The idea behind the venture is that they are planning on working with its shopping businesses to somehow integrate virtual reality into its shopping experience, so users can still shop online in the comfort of their own home, but at the same time browse a store as if they were there.

According to Zhao Haiping, a former Facebook engineer who is working with Alibaba’s GnomeMagic Lab team, he has suggested that through virtual reality, customers will be able to shop from the likes of New York’s Fifth Avenue as if they were there, which actually sounds like a pretty neat, albeit novel, idea.

We expect it will probably take awhile for such an idea to proliferate, but given that there are many companies who are heavily invested in VR at the moment, such as Facebook, HTC, Valve, Sony, Samsung, and Google just to name a few, hopefully it won’t take too long for all of this to kick off in a big way.

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