In the second installment of our VR exploration, [retail bytes] takes a look at the latest trends, including “try before you buy” (or in this case, travel before you fly)!

From try before you buy to try-instead-of-buying: Thomas Cook has commissioned a 360° view of their Sharm el Sheikh holidays, for their award-winning Try Before You Fly virtual reality holiday experience. After the recent security risks in that part of the world it looks like the only way to experience Egypt in the immediate future will be with Thomas Cook’s virtual reality. You can experience their VR version for yourself in their Bluewater shop. Safer than the real thing.

Grand designs: Slightly less dramatic but equally worthwhile is the new attempt by HTC to get husbands involved in re-designing the kitchen. Normally a dead-cert route to an early divorce, virtual reality kitchen design may just turn your average male into a keen collaborator on your new home re-decoration project. The sound of ‘shooting’ while selecting the new cabinet surfaces is strangely satisfying…watch the video here and start choosing. John Lewis-branded VR helmets are undoubtedly on the way!

Gamers get fit: Sick of your teen boys endlessly playing Call of Duty? Relief is in sight, as new virtual reality games will be playable on a treadmill-like contraption, coming to the market soon for about £400 apiece. It is a simple round treadmill with a concave shape, where all the ducking, running and chasing zombies will now be in physical reality. The player’s body will create real responses triggered by what’s being seen via the virtual reality helmet. The South Park game is the hot favourite in our team. I’m hoping for a fitness game that will get me in shape for the upcoming Black Friday shopping ‘experience’.

The closest we’ve come to teleportation: For Chelsea fans the only salvation may be through virtual reality, as new tech allows players to experience more immersive training. The American NFL is also introducing virtual reality for its players, helping them to watch competitors’ games as if on the pitch itself. It may not come early enough to save Mourinho, but for the fans the ability to experience the game as if sitting on the bench with the team looks like a no-brainer. We would pay for that, and even more, if it was the view from the front row of the next Stella McCartney show. First person VR narrative is coming.

The end of parking problems: It’s not long before we’ll be able to train our long-suffering shop assistants via a VR headset rather than letting them loose after a 5-minute pep talk before they face shoppers. ASOS is hoping to get rid of the need for shops altogether, putting their money behind a start-up that can create an express version of your store in VR. No need to park? Bring it on!

From one retail leader to another: Have you checked out John Hoerner’s new book yet? Nicholas Coleridge, the President of Conde Nast International, thinks it should be ‘a mandatory set text on every business and retail marketing course’! The book holds invaluable tips for all levels of retail – from those on the shop floor looking to become management, to SMEs that want to increase success, and entrepreneurs who want to start a business from scratch. Retailer or not we all need to know how to sell, and who better to learn from than the man who’s been at the top of multiple high street brands including Debenhams, Arcadia and Tesco Clothing, as well as Chairman of the British Fashion Council!

Find out what others are saying about the book and make it your secret weapon of choice. You can also enter to win one of ten signed copies by Tweeting your own recipe for success using the hashtag #RecipesForRetail by December 1st