Virtual shop opens in Nelson

New technology is bringing traditional retailing into the 21st century.

Three-hundred-and-sixty-degree cameras inside Nelson's shops capture every angle - one Nelson gallery is now online for anyone in the world to browse.

"They can actually say, I've been there, have a look at this fantastic store in Nelson," said Craig Potton Gallery & Store director Catherine Potton.

The online initiative provides Nelson shoppers with a virtual experience and has attracted 170 retailers. 

"It's basically glorified window shopping - they can touch things, see things and then come into the shop," says Uniquely Nelson manager Simon Duffy.

Gustaves Menswear retailer Gus Beullens is on board. He's not worried about the competition from giant online marketplaces, like Aliexpress and Amazon, saying his customers still like to come in in person.

"They like to feel the fabrics and try things on, whereas ordering online, it's a bit of a risk," he said.

Nelson residents' attitude to online shopping is split.

"I actually do a lot of online shopping, I find it's more convenient," said one shopper.

"Very rare for me to shop online," said another.

The hope is that the boutique stores Nelson is well known for can survive and thrive in this online shopping age.