Due to the pandemic and the growth of technology over the last decade, buying items online has become a natural part of people’s lives, often replacing the physical experience due to how easy and accessible digital stores are.
But how to keep the popularity of shopping online rising instead of waning? The process of clicking on links and adding to the basket can get monotonous after a while. Something had to change.
This is where virtual reality and the metaverse come into play. By creating a realistic and authentic experience that took customers beyond a website, beyond the internet, developers were able to create immersive worlds that enhance and build upon real life, reinvigorating the buying process and giving users a reason to want to return. And a large part of this is selling your products right – through a virtual store.
What is a Virtual Store?
A virtual store is essentially an extension of a brand’s physical presence. A vast, open space, artfully laid out to put your best products on display, laid around and layered in a way that makes products pop.
A virtual store is best utilized as a bright space, making the area inviting to customers and putting them in a positive frame of mind.
A lot of the information customers will want to seek about a product will be available through augmented reality, helping to increase the interactivity of the virtual store. Users can learn as much information as they want from the supplied product descriptions in a more immersive and engaging experience.
A direct video connection to the brand’s physical store and a sales representative can help guide the customer around the virtual space and be there to answer any questions they might have.
Virtual stores put the customer front and center in a more intimate experience than when shopping in a physical location. It is all about building a closer relationship between the consumer, the product, the consumer, and the brand, helping the experience to be more personalized and unique to each user.
What is the Purpose of a Virtual Store?
The virtual store is ultimately centered around telling a brand story and encouraging prospective buyers to purchase the showcased products by making them as attractive as possible.
To this end, a virtual store should always have a natural flow that leads the customer through a process that allows them to experience the wonders of the space, building up as positive an atmosphere as possible so that the products have an effortless appeal that capitalizes on the immersive journey users have had up until this point.
In this way, it’s precisely the same as a store in a physical space. The layout is vital for enhancing the customer experience and guiding them towards making a purchase.
A smooth and seamless virtual environment will help customers make a natural progression through the products in your store. The virtual tour should make sense, placing a natural flow to product exploration, creating a rhythm to the VR experience that focuses wholly on the needs and desires of the specific buyer.
Setting Up Your Virtual Store
The widespread consensus in any store is to begin the customer’s journey with the most popular products. This provides an easy way to pull them into the virtual experience, creating a sense of familiarity and trust as they get accustomed to the virtual and augmented reality experience.
Each department or area in your space should closely relate to the one that came before, and the checkout process should be as smooth as seamless as the one your shoppers would experience on any average e-commerce website.
Virtual Store Technology
To start creating your virtual store, you must select the right platform and software for you to realize the virtual space you envision fully.
You’ll want to create a B2C store (business to consumer), always considering what customers are looking for in an online shopping experience.
You may think this is similar to a virtual tour of your business, but virtual stores often take things one step further. Many virtual tours you see on a website are 360-degree photo tours. These often lack the interactivity and depth a 3D store can offer its customers.
Another thing to consider is the longevity of your store. Naturally, stores require updating decor and products; by seasonality, they are not static products. The virtual store you create must have a SaaS backend that allows you to switch things around, so your virtual space can easily catch up to your physical stores.
Accessing Your Virtual Store
The only thing left is ensuring your customers have an accessible entry point into the virtual reality you’ve created for them. It is highly recommended that you embed your virtual store directly into your website, allowing shoppers to easily find it and improving its Google (SEO) rankings.
The important thing is to ensure the customer is always comfortable inside your VR store. This will improve their experience and help raise awareness of the innovations your brand is taking when implementing virtual reality.
Virtual stores are the future of remote buying, providing the perfect supplement to real life and giving customers a new avenue of creativity and discovery.
In the modern digital age, creating your virtual store should be effortless, allowing you to begin the next stage of your business-consumer relationship and add a whole new dimension to the e-commerce aspect of your brand. VR stores will help you elevate yourself in the eyes of the public and open the way for you to get in on other technological developments in the future. Welcome to virtual shopping!