Using modern 3D and VR technologies users are now able to temporarily disconnect from the real world and immerse themselves in a 3D digital world using their cell phones, laptops, or VR headsets. Virtual reality enhances and enriches the physical world in which we live, removing the boundaries. Going to physical stores in the market is quite inconvenient and burdensome. In contrast, 3D virtual stores offer a more convenient and flexible shopping experience for consumers. Virtual stores can be visited while being at home using desktop computers, phones, and tablets. It provides the customers a much richer online shopping experience compared to traditional e-commerce stores. Now, buyers can search for an online virtual store, see their 3D product models, select them, and interact with staff.
Virtual Store And Its Software
A virtual store is an advanced e-commerce experience generated through virtual and augmented reality technologies. It could be a virtual reality retail store or an augmented reality mobile app that allows shoppers to see how a product looks. No doubt, Covid-19 has increased the popularity of virtual stores, but AR technology has raised the use of an alternative tool to meet the most basic needs of shoppers. A Customer’s buying decision depends on his/her needs and desires. While making the buying decision most consumers opt for a more affordable and easy-to-buy product. Virtual stores can meet all of these needs by allowing consumers to experience products virtually and have instant access to information about them while providing a fun and exciting shopping experience.
Virtual Store A New Norm In Online Retailing
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the use of indoor shopping while closing physical stores and creating uncertainty about the future of in-store shopping. The impact of COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior. Digital interaction has changed face-to-face interaction and most of these changes may continue. Most virtual shopping, which is a growing trend, comes from luxury brands that may be experimenting with new outlets. However, with the advancement in virtual and augmented reality technologies and the closure of physical stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual reality shopping has become a viable long-term offer. Briefly, virtual retail draws more consumers to experiment with new shopping technologies. The invention of mobile shopping and wider cross-channel connectivity is proof of virtual retail becoming a new normal in the retail experience.
Virtual Stores Are More Advantageous Than Traditional E-Commerce Experience
Consumers who shop almost exclusively online find virtual shopping more appealing than traditional e-commerce. This means that VR and AR are key technologies that can attract tech-savvy digital consumers and increase brand loyalty. However, there are many more benefits that virtual stores can provide to users.
Allow Try-On and Touch: E-commerce technology has various advantages, however, it still lacks the property of added human touch which allows consumers to try on a product before buying it. VR and AR allow users to see how the product will look on its own or in their surroundings. In-store observation, also known as alternative touch, gives the option of hand touch to their consumers, increases their income, and boosts their confidence while making a buying decision.
Enhanced Browsing: Most consumers, accustomed to the benefits of online shopping, now expect instant access to product information, even in virtual stores. The ability to instantly access all relevant product information and evaluate product suitability can encourage shoppers to return to a particular virtual store. To this end, virtual stores can combine traditional physical shopping with online shopping capabilities that include instant access to product information, advanced search, comparison capabilities, and personalized offers from machine learning-based recommender systems.
More Convenient: Virtual brands are becoming more popular for businesses as they allow them to build stronger relationships with their customers. Immersive shopping can be far more emotional than traditional online shopping, allowing businesses to retain customers and increase their lifetime value.
Increased Sales: The added convenience provided by virtual shopping also helps retailers increase online conversions and remote sales. Because it uses virtual tools like video chat to provide a more humane payment experience. Unlike traditional e-commerce stores, websites and applications with virtual elements can use sales teams to build trust and relationships. As a result, the likelihood of cart abandonment and loss of sales is significantly reduced, especially if store employees are using virtual customer acquisition strategies.
Compared to traditional e-commerce practices, virtual stores provide a more natural shopping experience. Whether partially immersive with AR or expanding into a fully virtual world with VR, virtual stores can greatly enhance customer loyalty and brand reputation, enable hyper-personalization, and trigger enhanced marketing and research activities. While some businesses may struggle to justify investing in what seems like immature technology, virtual shopping is likely to become one of the most important shopping channels for consumers.