Alibaba demonstrated a payment service on Wednesday that will let virtual reality shoppers pay for products just by nodding their heads. The new payment system, dubbed VR Pay, is part of Alibaba’s attempts to capitalize on the latest tech in online shopping, notes Reuters. The Chinese retail giant introduced facial recognition technology in 2015 for its Alipay mobile payments service, which was advertised as “pay with a selfie.”
Alibaba gives users a new way to shop
The VR payment tech means shoppers using virtual reality goggles to browse virtual reality shopping malls will have the ability to pay for purchases without taking off the goggles. Instead, they can just look or nod.
“It is very boring to have to take off your goggles for payment. With this, you will never need to take out your phone,” Lin Feng told Reuters. Feng is in charge of Ant Financial’s incubator F Lab, which has been developing the payment service over the last few months. Feng said with this technology, shoppers will never need to take out their phone.
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User identity can be verified on VR Pay via voice print technology that recognizes each person’s unique voice or via account logins on connected devices, notes Reuters. Feng said in comparison to other biometric recognition technologies, this was the most comfortable method in a VR setting.
However, for authentication, passwords will still be needed. Feng said users can enter the passwords with touch by staring at a point on a virtual display for longer than 1.5 seconds or by head movements. VR Pay is expected to be ready for commercial launch by the end of this year.
VR: the future of shopping
The fashion industry is ready to adopt this new technology, letting customers try on goods and shop from home. Fashion brands like Dior and Tommy Hilfiger let consumers experience runway shows at their stores through VR headsets.
In a post on Time.com, Jeff Booth, cofounder of BuildDirect, an online home improvement company, wrote that virtual reality complements online shopping by giving it what it lacks in relation to traditional shopping. Booth wrote that these technologies come together at last to solve a fundamental challenge in e-commerce, integrating both physical and emotional feeling into the buying experience.
Also eBay, a global e-commerce company, released a virtual reality department store in collaboration with retailer Myer in Australia in May.