Provide consumers with an augmented digital retail offer
Every other Wednesday, h/commerce provides in-depth analysis of the most impactful trends reshaping retail.
Thanks to digital technologies, e-commerce is reaching a higher level.
As online shopping is fully adopted, nowadays consumers are expecting from brands a more impactful shopping experience. They want to get an interactive journey like in-store as well as convenient services like online shopping. To reach this perfect combination, e-stores are opting for virtual reality.
Indeed, Virtual Commerce is mixing e-commerce and virtual reality.
Virtual Commerce can consist in creating a whole new fictional design to plunge website’s visitors into an immersive and imaginary world. Virtual Commerce can also refer to the digital replica of a physical store in which visitors can browse and add items to their cart.
By moving on to the next step retailers are fully appropriating the new commerce era mixing online and offline shopping. Virtual Commerce seems to be a smart way to answer to an ever more demanding consumer waiting for interaction and convenience even during pandemic time.
Credits: Virtual store Dior
Virtual Commerce, a compromise between e-commerce and in-store shopping
Last March, Burberry launched a virtual replica of its Ginza popup store.
Burberry has created a virtual and interactive pop-up store in collaboration with Elle Digital Japan. A shopping concept fully mixing digital and physical experiences. This interactive store is actually a replica of the brand’s flagship in Tokyo. Just like the original Ginza store, the virtual three-floor store is offering a large range of handbags, womenswear and menswear. Shoppers can browse virtually and purchase the current collection. Some symbols help users to navigate through the store. Some touchpoints are even marked by the brand logo, allowing users to watch short styling films starring the Japan model and actress Elaiza Ikeda. The aim is to give to customers some tips to help them visualizing its items.
This new virtual concept came after the opening of its Social Retail Store in Shenzhen China last august. A store split in 10 rooms allowing customers to shop both virtually and physically using a dedicated WeChat ‘mini program’. The app was kind of a digital partner following shoppers everywhere they went, allowing them to learn more about new products, watch additional content including the items wore by various models and even share their own content. Customers were also able to scan every product.
Currently, the company is clearly focusing on delivering an augmented shopping experience to its customers by combining digital and in-store features. Burberry is actually one of the most innovative brands regarding its shopping experience.
Credits: Burberry Virtual Store
Jo-Malone recently expanded its virtual reality shopping experience. It is based on the “real” Jo Malone Townhouse designed by Rose Uniacke at the end of 2020.
The expansion will include three new spring-inspired worlds.
This special e-shopping experience allows shoppers to browse through a magical design and interact with products thanks to hotspots.
To add even more sensations to the experience, some spots are designed to trigger a motion such as shake, swipe, or blow.
Multi-sensorial elements and contents offer an immersive brand experience and transform the shop-at-home journey.
Source: Jo Malone’s website
Charlotte Tilbury created a kind of a virtual shop online relying on 360° pictures and virtual reality. The game-like online store allows users to browse through virtual “rooms”.
A virtual Charlotte Tilbury is here to welcome visitors and guide them into a creative and interactive space.
By clicking on pictograms visitors can watch some videos giving some tips and tricks to use products. A virtual try-on is also available for a selection of products.
When seduced by the product’s presentation, customers can add it to their cart and check-out on the website.
The brand tried to match this online experience with the real shopping experience provided in-store.
Just as the Burberry Ginza Store, the Dior virtual store is a real replication of the store located 52 Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Customers can access it since mid-2020.
Thanks to the virtual reality technology, visitors can browse into the real shop but online.
Perfumes, candles, bath and body products are presented in this virtual version of the store. By simply clicking on products, they have access to price and other details. If they want to purchase an item, visitors can add it directly to their shopping basket.
In a dedicated area, a short film is presenting the personalized gift options.
This innovative visit gives to the client a feeling of exclusiveness as he/she can explore the store whenever and wherever he wants to. This Dior virtual shop is also particularly convenient as customers can stroll through it from the comfort of their home whereas the real shop is often crowded.
Why could it be interesting to turn to Virtual Commerce?
The crisis clearly triggered the adoption of this new form of commerce halfway between physical store and e-commerce.
Nowadays, brands are looking for new ways to engage their customers as in-store shopping has been severely impacted during the crisis and would never be the same as before.
Virtual Commerce offers every benefit from both online and offline stores.
Online stores are often criticized for their lack of interactions and sometimes the poorness of the experience provided.
By offering an immersive and rich shopping experience to its customers, thanks to VR, the brand is able to connect emotionally to its customers even online.
Then, to plunge consumers into a magical universe arouse emotions so it truly boosts purchase as well as loyalty to the brand.
However, even if consumers want to live great experiences while shopping, they are not ready to give up all the convenient services they can find online.
Finally, this augmented retail takes the best of both models of commerce to answer to a forever more demanding consumer.
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