Whether embedded within the metaverse or hosted on brand websites, you’ll have seen a plethora of virtual stores this year provide brands with new ways of reaching prospects and generating a sense of community. Virtual stores offer users a 3D environment to explore and view products, adding a sense of novelty and excitement to retail as we know it. It’s the next evolution of the retail industry, taking what brands have learnt from e-commerce and building on it using an immersive, life-like environment.
But how do virtual stores drive brand revenue? In many ways, actually. Just like other technological revolutions, virtual stores and the metaverse are changing the landscape of many industries. For businesses there’s no time like the present as the space is still relatively new and untapped. Virtual stores can accelerate brand growth and revenue as we move into this new era of retail; here’s how.
Find New Customers
The constant mission of any brand is to discover new customers and find ways to engage them. Fortunately, the metaverse is engaging by nature and drawing the attention of millions of users worldwide. The intrigue and audience are already established, but brands need to connect the dots and use the space effectively. If brands can find a home in the metaverse by creating virtual stores with loyal, ever-growing customer bases, then the digital future is bright.
People from all walks of life, interests, and careers use the metaverse. Many of them may not have even heard of your brand. This is why virtual stores will prove to be so crucial. By interacting with other users or simply stumbling upon your store, they’ll instantly become aware of your brand and check out what you offer. Word of mouth and reputation are essential in every world, even a virtual one.
Upsell and Increase Revenue from Current Customers
Among the biggest challenges for businesses is finding new and effective ways of selling more to their current customer base. For some, the virtual environment may be enough to garner short-term success. However, long-term success and solidifying your standing in the virtual space require creativity with your offerings and giving back to those who support your brand.
Many achieve this through customer loyalty schemes and benefits, such as discounts and access to exclusive events. The latter is already showing promising results as geography isn’t a factor in the metaverse, meaning that customers from all over the world can attend your event. Pop-up stores are incredibly impactful for product launches as the experiences are highly immersive and provide a range of ways to highlight all of the products and their features.
Our project for Dior Beauty to launch its Atelier of Dreams Collection is a perfect example. This engaging experience whisks users away to the Château De La Colle Noire in France, Dior’s former residence in the Grasse region. The store encouraged personalisation and interaction to engage customers while helping them discover more about the brand through a unique holiday shopping experience. This gave loyal customers a new reason to fall back in love with the brand and be excited about future experiences, not just the products they release.
Gather and Use Data
The advanced capability to gather and utilise customer data is one of the most significant advantages any business has in the digital age. And this has evolved once again thanks to the introduction of virtual, interactive experiences. Whether customers use VR or web browser shopping experiences, their behaviours and actions can all be easily tracked.
Therefore, virtual stores allow brands to analyse every aspect of virtual shopping — what customers interact with, what they ignore, which features engage people enough to buy, and the list goes on. And with this data, you can do much more than tailor experiences to better suit the needs of your audience. Data can inform personalised marketing, fine-tune loyalty programmes, optimise services, and highlight areas of the brand which would benefit from the additional virtual investment.
Brand and Customer Connection
We live in an era where customers are more connected to brands than ever. Everyone has their go-to brand of shoes, clothing, perfume, homeware and pretty much everything else. Just look at the fierce Nike vs Adidas or Microsoft vs Apple debates, both of which will likely continue for many years to come. Virtual stores are unique in the way they can provide customers with memorable experiences that cannot be replicated in real life.
This alone is enough to make people stand up and pay attention. People love exclusivity and inclusivity, especially when it’s as unique and impressive as a virtual store. When people enter your store, they instantly feel part of the experience and, in many ways, as if it was designed just for them. While eCommerce is highly effective and profitable, virtual stores reintroduce the human touch and social aspects we fondly associate with shopping. These feelings naturally create warmth and enjoyment — combine this with the excitement of a digital environment, and it’s easy to see why customers can be emotionally swayed.
When a customer visits your virtual store and is impressed and excited by what they’ve seen and experienced, it’s not just the store they remember. It’s your brand. A brand that’s not just staying in its lane, playing it safe and assuming your customers will stick with you. By exploring the possibilities of other retail channels and providing customers with a more exciting way to shop, you set yourself apart from the crowd and demonstrate real investment in those who invest in your brand.
Capitalize on the Holidays
There’s something about the holidays that makes people want to get swept up in the magic and feel like part of something special. And this is also the appeal of virtual stores, not to mention the advantages of convenience and hassle-free shopping. Exclusive Christmas and holiday events or pop-up stores in the metaverse create excitement amongst customers and inspire a need to be involved. This is somewhat lost in the e-commerce era, as the sales process is simplistic and not so much of an experience.
Just think how many stores worldwide benefit massively from holiday-themed events such as Santa’s grottos for kids or winter wonderland overhauls. It’s simple, but people love Christmas and everything that comes with it. With this in mind, virtual stores can play a pivotal role in your approach to the holidays.
If you’re looking for virtual store inspiration for the holidays, look no further than Bloomingdale’s multi-brand virtual store, developed by Emperia. It features brands such as CHANEL and Ralph Lauren and has several unique spaces for each brand to celebrate the holidays and tell their story. If variety is the spice of life, then the virtual world is worth living in. CHANEL offers a virtual experience on the moon, whereas Ralph Lauren’s room is a magical snowy forest leading to a cosy ski chalet.
While this is a unique approach as it incorporates several brands, each with distinctive experiences. This idea could easily be replicated for singular brands looking to provide customers with a virtual buyer’s journey or varying rooms to suit their different customer bases. When you consider the lack of restrictions and endless possibilities of the virtual space, brands may be about to discover the gold mine they’ve been looking for.
Learn more about Emperia’s virtual stores and how we help brands establish themselves in the new era of retail.