It’s no secret that shopping for the holidays is an expensive time of the year for consumers worldwide. Americans are forecasted to spend more than $1 trillion for Christmas this year, with almost $150 billion going to online retailers, suggests WeForum.
Retailers can almost always bank on the holidays to bring in a large proportion of yearly turnover. However, the joy the holidays bring is not only down to the luxurious products available to purchase but largely down to the exciting memories the retail experience provides. As more and more shoppers move online, it’s pivotal that retailers are prepared with virtual stores and shopping experiences.
Shopping online is becoming increasingly popular as web experiences continue to improve, and the convenience of purchasing anywhere, at any time, is becoming a high priority amongst shoppers. This year, 85%, up from 80% in 2020, of shoppers are expected to include online shopping into their Christmas purchasing plans. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who plan to shop exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores has dropped from 20 percent in 2019 to 14 percent today.
Retailers across the globe are assembling extravagant, creative shopping experiences of their own this season. Virtual shopping within the metaverse has established itself as a way of providing an immersive and engaging, yet magical experience for shoppers online, so they can amp up the Holiday spirit and drive revenue in a convenient place for their customers.
But, It’s Not *Just* a Holiday Experience
As the metaverse expands its capabilities for retailers, it is transitioning from a temporary to a more permanent solution for brands. There are already vast numbers of opportunities for e-commerce in the metaverse, with numerous brands already hosting their virtual stores inside Roblox and creating engaging and immersive experiences.
The metaverse has established itself with powerful community interaction, enhanced customer insight and database management, all while creating a worldwide accessible, personalized experience that brings in long-term profits for retailers as Research indicates that consumers are prepared to spend up to 40% more for 3D evaluated products.
This isn’t just a holiday experience, though. These experiences are the foundations that retailers are embracing for an ever-green solution, embedded into their websites..
Dior Beauty: Atelier of Dreams
Last Christmas, Dior Beauty partnered with Emperia to build a magical shopping experience for the holiday season. The retail experience became timeless and location-free, allowing for 24/7 global access and free movement around the magical space while offering a direct purchase from the virtual experience.
The virtual store’s second floor is reached through a climb up Dior Beauty’s signature tree, leading visitors to the Exclusive Dior Garden, featuring a limited-edition holiday collection of customized cosmetics and perfume products, laid out in an enchanted winter garden settings, under a starry night sky, allowing shoppers to schedule a private in-store showing.
Visitors to the virtual store spent an average of 15 minutes browsing, purchasing and engaging across the platform. The magical Atelier of Dreams was also featured in Vogue Business and Harpers Bazaar.
Ralph Lauren launched a holiday-themed experience on Roblox
Ralph Lauren partnered with digital platform Roblox in the 2021 holidays to launch a virtual experience, ‘The Ralph Lauren Winter Escape’. The experience was designed by a Roblox community developer Funomena and included ski mountains, ice skating and treasure hunts to bring on the winter festivities.
The brand launched a gender-neutral digital clothing collection which featured limited-edition items that users could dress their virtual avatars in. This took a vintage approach with the collection being inspired by the brand’s Polo Sport line from 1990.
“Our engagement in the metaverse is a natural extension of our lifestyle brand which, at its core, has always been about stepping into the worlds of Ralph Lauren,” said Ralph Lauren chief digital and content officer Alice Delahunt.
John Lewis’ virtual Christmas store
John Lewis are widely are widely recognised for their appealing, immersive Christmas productions and magical embrace of the holiday spirit. Last year they revealed a virtual tour of the Oxford Street flagship store, decked out for Christmas.
The virtual experience was broken up into the Christmas Forest, the Home of Christmas and the Festive Footpath. The Christmas Forest allowed customers to browse through more than 40 different styles of Christmas tree, one of which was the Symphony Tree which played several various Christmas masterpieces.
The Home of Christmas gave shoppers interior design inspiration for decorating their homes, while the Festive Footpath was home to more than 1,500 light bulbs and dozens of baubles.