In the age of innovative technology, pushing the boundaries of reality further and further holds far more possibility and potential than it did in the past. A complete virtual reality shopping experience used to be the stuff of dreams and science fiction literature. But now, that fantastical future is creeping ever closer to becoming a mainstream part of society’s life, presenting endless opportunities in the world of fashion and retail.
Dive in to find out what exactly an entirely virtual reality shopping experience entails and how the future of shopping is now.
The Beginning of a Virtual Shopping Experience
Over recent years, more and more brands have been diving into virtual experiences to bring a new level of engagement and immersion to their customers. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram have added in new features like AR Try-On, where you can try on clothes from your favourite fashion brands digitally without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Even short-form video phenomena TikTok is joining in on the AR experience through a partnership with JD and Nike as they launch the UK’s first digital shoe try-on. Social media is the easiest way for big-name companies and brands to make an impact as the vast majority of the world’s audiences have profiles and online presence.
This presents a straightforward method of engaging with audiences and bringing new layers of interactivity to their day to day lives. Many current AR and VR outlets are showcased as enhancements to the physical lives of their customers, marrying the two realities together. But with the rate of technological development and the constant drive for greater and greater creativity, we are quickly reaching a new reality where digital spaces are retailers’ new…reality.
The Reality of Completely Virtual Shops
An entirely virtual shopping experience will be a revolutionary step forward for the fashion world. We don’t just mean going online or having a dual experience in a physical store. A fully virtual shopping experience could give you the whole kit and kaboodle.
Virtual commerce company HERO has made great strides in bringing AR retail capabilities to customers and changing how shopping is carried out in people’s daily lives. They boldly say, “the future of shopping is virtual”, and they’re right, becoming trailblazers in the drive for retail to evolve into a new age.
Visitors can access virtual shops in several ways. Some have implemented 360-degree panoramic views that can be accessed on a phone or computer, allowing users to browse shops that could be hundreds or thousands of miles away from them. Others have virtual storefronts or have implemented AR changing rooms to give customers a more personalised experience. Some fashion companies have implemented VR headsets to allow users to view fashion shows in realistic 3D and engage with sneak peeks of the backstage fashion world.
But what if the VR and retail partnership took just one more step?
We live in a world where it is more and more likely that shops will take that final leap forward and introduce the world to the quintessential fully immersive shopping experience. Just take a look at the new virtual worlds Facebook (Meta) and other big-name companies are rolling out:
An entirely digital world for people to socialise in, find entertainment and shop. Brands will partake in digital advertising; users will be able to browse products and buy everything all from the comfort of their own home without ever feeling like they’re in their home at all.
This is made all the more possible by blockchain, in which anything digital – clothes, shoes, artwork – can be exclusively proclaimed ownable.
It is essentially a giant digital ledger that records the provenance of digital items. Entirely virtual shops wouldn’t be possible without this technology, and it will serve to make that future possibility even more likely. Blockchain and the metaverse are necessary steps for creating a fully realised virtual shopping experience that simultaneously provides the customer with one hundred percent satisfaction.
Benefits of a Complete Virtual Reality Shopping Experience
VR and AR retail experiences have been continuously lauded as being immersive and creating whole new levels of customer engagement with a brand or product. Taking the shopping experience to a completely virtual space will only increase and enhance these advantages, raising the value of a brand and allowing the user to discover a new sense of fun in the fashion world.
It will also serve to help the customer feel as comfortable as possible with the shopping process. It individualises the experience, putting the user front and centre and customising how they do their shopping to them. This creates a more enjoyable atmosphere and provides them with a unique experience that they won’t find anywhere else.
There won’t even be a time limit to how long one can spend shopping. So often, when travelling to physical stores, you have to make sure you’ve done all your shopping before your parking metre runs out, giving the retail experience a sense of urgency. But at home, you can simply relax and unwind. You would be able to wander around a digitised mall to your heart’s content, try on products in a boutique in Italy, get lost in the history and information of a product when you tap it or scan it to find out more details before you purchase. And you’ll never have to be in a rush.
And for those of you who are habitual window shoppers? Be prepared for even that hobby to be taken to a whole new level, especially if you wander the displays of products in such extravagant locations like the moon or maybe even the palace at Versailles.
Anything is possible with a shopping experience that takes the whole retail process virtually, from the first moment of entering a store to browsing and trying on clothes and ordering whatever you want. Fully digital virtual reality shops are the future of shopping, and technological developments like the metaverse have brought us all one step closer to that reality. The future of shopping is dawning on the world, and it’s only going to get brighter from here.