Best Buy has been providing in-person demos for the Oculus Rift since the headsets were available for demonstrations.
In May 2016, this retailer announced that it was going to provide demos at forty-eight locations around the US. Now, it’s going to double down on this bet with a plan that will allow customers to experience VR in five-hundred locations before the holiday season begins.
Before you start thinking that Best Buy is completely relying on Oculus for wowing consumers, you should know that they are also going to be offering demons for PlayStation VR in two hundred locations. It’s also going to rotate among various stores. The PlayStation VR isn’t due for release till October though which means Oculus will have no competition for a while.
This is a big thing for Oculus since virtual reality is something which needs to be experienced in order to impress people. The average customer most probably has a passing interest at best in technology. They need to experience virtual reality in order to love it. Even Best Buy requires a win right now. VR has the potential to be a big one for this retailer who makes up margins on accessories sales. VR has been a driving force for the resurgence of the PC market, and Best Buy is full of add-ons for the PlayStation and PC.
Best Buy is betting on experience rather than immediate returns here. There are few people who expect VR sales to go through the roof in this, their first year. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive along with mobile VR headsets are expected to sell just 2.5 million units in 2016. This is modest as compared to the big sellers in the industry like TV’s and smartphones.
There is absolutely no doubt VR is currently facing a chicken-egg situation. You need to know about it to want it, and the presence of demo stations at Best Buy is going to help with this.