Royal Bank of Canada is providing a virtual reality "try before you buy" experience for its RBC Rewards customers.

Consumers can now virtually try a product or experience before purchasing it with their loyalty points. The aim is to show customers the benefits of certain offers in a tangible way to help their decision making.

"As we evolve VR, you can imagine redeeming RBC reward points directly within the VR experience, providing a seamless journey from try to buy,” Jacquelina Calisto, vice-president of loyalty and rewards, said in a Dec. 20 news release.

Google Cardboard, a low-cost option for VR that relies largely on the hardware built into smartphones.
Customers can use Google Cardboard, a low-cost VR headset designed for smartphones, to browse rewards in RBC's mobile app. IMAGE: Bloomberg News

Customers can access the virtual experiences – being on a beach, luxury golf course or in a dream kitchen, for example – by visiting the bank’s Avion Holiday Boutiques or using Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets inside certain RBC branches.

Once in the experience, customers can select something from a “carousel of related products” which 'floats' to the customer and provides a 360-degree view.

"In a world that is changing so rapidly, it is important that we continue to innovate and test new technologies to stay relevant to clients," Sean Amato-Gauci, executive vice-president of digital, payments and cards, said in the release. "We see a future where virtual and augmented realities will impact the way people make purchases, from everyday shopping to buying a home."

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