The software, which lets retailers create and merchandise a three-dimensional model of a retail store, has been offered to universities and colleges across the world to help provide students with cutting-edge retail skills.
The total value of software given away has now surpassed 10m and vrSoftware has committed to giving away 5m over the next year.
The company has been offering its vrMockshop tool to over 250 educational establishments across all corners of the globe – from London to New York to New Zealand. In the UK it has provided support to several organisations including the National Skills Academy for Retail, The Fashion Retail Academy and Hugh Baird College in Liverpool.
As this software is used by major retailers such as Nike, Calvin Klein, Reebok, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas and Levi’s, the giveaway is helping to prepare students with transferable skills to the workplace.
The technology has helped students learn the art of visual merchandising at a detailed level to let them plan, build and visualise an entire 3D store a dimension impossible with the physical limitations of most educational institutions.
Thousands of students are using vrMockshop to quickly set up virtual stores, dressing them with 3D hanging and folding merchandise, adding mannequins, POS materials and even posters to produce crystal clear 3D merchandising.
vrSoftware has found that students pick up the intuitive software very quickly – one student had learned the software and built his own store in less than 20 minutes! The company is also helping with the apprenticeship programmes pioneered by the National Skills Academy through its SkillSmart centres.
Colin Liversedge, vrSoftware CEO and founder, said: “I’m a great believer in supporting apprenticeship programs and the benefit it reaps in terms of career development. Our solutions are already used on a global basis by some of the world’s leading fashion brands, and for me it is a privilege to be in a position to be able to give something back to the retail industry. If I can better help prepare these students and apprentices for their future careers and equip them with specific skills which is demanded by the industry then hopefully it will lead to an even more employable workforce.
Tony Morgan, Head of Visual Merchandising at The Fashion Retail Academy, said: Producing a 3D floor plan with vrMockshop will give students a sense of scale and perspective that other programmes do not offer. Having the chance to design their own ‘virtual’ store is critical when demonstrating their creativity. Just as importantly, seeing how their collections can be displayed in those stores will allow them to consider the commercial aspects of their designs too.
Jane Rexworthy, Head of National Skills Academy for Retail, said: We are delighted to have developed a partnership with vrSoftware and their VrMockshop software. The offer of free software through the National Skills Academy for Retails network of retail skills shops, worth around 500,000 now, is of course financially supportive but the software gives our learners a genuine cutting edge when they go out into the job market and the vital retail arena. Plus, we can meet out targets for other skills within the software, as it covers functional skills for all learners. Its refreshing to deal with such a supportive UK company!