Big, expensive crystal home-decor pieces aren't for everyone, or even most people. But for the few who are on the market for items such as crystal vases and bowls, shopping may have gotten a bit easier.
Mastercard and Swarovski said Monday they've teamed up to create a new virtual-reality shopping app for browsing through a virtual home filled with crystal objects designed by architect Zaha Hadid, designer Tomás Alonso and others.
The app could mean that VR and augmented-reality shopping will start to grow in the luxury markets. Because these crystal pieces are heavy, pricey and difficult to ship, VR shopping may be a useful step for potential buyers and help Swarovski make more sales. In another recent case, Apple's new iOS 11 offers AR furniture shopping through far-less glitzy Ikea.
VR and AR shopping have been discussed in the tech world for years as a new way to browse for and buy items, from clothing to furniture. But the cost of VR headsets and lack of interesting apps for consumers have kept these concepts in their infancy.
The new VR app, developed by immersive-tech company Youvisit, will be available for download on Apple iOS and Google Android phones next month, Mastercard said. The app will first be available in the US only, but Mastercard plans to expand from there.
To use the app, you'll need to place your phone into a VR headset, such as Samsung Gear VR, to look around five areas in a home. There, you can see the different crystal pieces from the Atelier Swarovski line, read their descriptions, see pricing and, in some cases, watch videos about their creation.
Prices listed online for these items run from $325 for a Kim Thomé-designed candlestick holder to $5,500 for an Aldo Bakker-made crystal and pink onyx vase.
To make a purchase, you can add an item to your cart and fix your gaze on a Masterpass button that appears at the bottom of the product description. Once you exit the app or if the app detects you've taken off your VR headset, the app will log out of Masterpass to prevent accidental or unintended purchases.
Below is a video from Mastercard:
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