Virtual reality, the panoramic technology with roots in gaming, is being adapted for retail consumers within the next year, aiming to pair the ease of e-commerce with the thrill of real-life shopping.
               
While no retailers have yet announced a virtual storefront, developers are experimenting with experiences that shoppers could enter with devices such as Google Inc's  Cardboard or Facebook Inc's Oculus Rift.

Marketing agency SapientNitro, owned by Publicis Groupe, worked with luxury boutique The Line to develop a demonstration that takes people into the brand's Manhattan store, The Apartment. It plans to show the technology this week at the Cannes Lions marketing industry conference in France that runs through Saturday.
               
Using a Samsung Gear VR headset with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone, viewers can walk around the store and fix their gaze on hotspots to approach furnishings. They then can hear a description through headphones placed over the headset, see the cost, and explore different angles. A tap of the headset adds the product to a virtual shopping cart.
               
Next year, virtual reality will become more widely available when Oculus releases its consumer Rift headset that can be used for multiple virtual reality experiences including shopping. It will cost up to $1,500 for the device and a computer that can run it, Oculus Chief Executive Officer Brendan Iribe has estimated. Sony Corp will also launch its Morpheus headset.