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Amazon’s Mall-Based VR Kiosks Lure Indian Shoppers for Prime Day

How’s Amazon promoting Prime Day in India, a lucrative e-commerce market where it’s in an all-out war with Walmart?

With virtual reality (VR) pop-up kiosks located within 11 malls in India’s biggest cities, from Delhi NCR and Kolkota to Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Rather than simply telling customers about all of the Prime Day deals, Amazon India is using a fully immersive VR experience accessible via Oculus Rift headsets to show the products up for grabs starting July 16. And shoppers can interact with them, too. The e-commerce firm conceived of a virtual city that VR viewers can explore before encountering a home with rooms stocked full of Prime Day products. High-definition 3-D images of clothing and accessories are displayed in a boutique setting in which consumers can zoom in on details, see them rendered life size or even dress holographic models to observe how garments drape and twirl.

The VR kiosks could be a great vehicle for attracting new Prime memberships in the run-up to Prime Day. In Amazon Inc.’s first-quarter earnings call this year, CFO Brian T. Olsavsky said Prime’s growth in India has outpaced its launches in other countries.

“We’ll continue to invest in India where we’re seeing great progress with both sellers and also customers,” he said. “And we like the momentum we’ve seen there.”

Though the VR kiosks are themed around Prime Day, Amazon India said it will review customer feedback from this focused activation to determine if the pop-ups have a long-term future in malls or other physical locations, according to VentureBeat.

July 16 doesn’t just mark the launch of Prime Day in India—it also kicks off Flipkart’s 80-hour Big Shopping Days sale, though the e-commerce startup seems to host major promotions more frequently than Amazon’s once yearly extravaganza. In the U.S., Prime Day has spawned a flurry of retail activity as other merchants look to cash in on a renewed thirst for mid-summer deal-hunting that effectively ushers in the back-to-school season.