Virtual reality and its sister augmented reality has played a vital role in multiple industries. It paved the way to a new age of digital transformation. Although it has been theorized and brought to life for years, it is only now that it has an immense impact on businesses.
Plenty of individuals run their e-commerce shops nowadays. There are various services and products offered from the dropshipping business model to everyday needs like groceries. The growth in eCommerce has been exacerbated by mobile technology and the pandemic.
But the biggest problem that most eCommerce shops encounter is the increasing number of cart abandonment.
Cart abandonment can be affected by various reasons. But one that dominates is the lack of experience for the customer to visualize or even feel the product. ECommerce shops can improve this by using the latest technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality.
Gone are the days that VR and AR products were for gaming. Now, it’s part of a service offered by businesses.
Investing in modern technology in the world of retail can bring a whole lot of change for businesses. For example, problems like cart abandonment or bounce rate are reduced as customers can experience a product even away from them.
Before seeing how virtual reality transforms the e-commerce industry, let’s first learn about VR and AR.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: What Are They?
Virtual reality or VR is a technology created to allow people to experience a virtual environment. Instead of looking at a screen, users will be indulged in a 3D world and interact with their surroundings. It creates a fantasy world.
Meanwhile, augmented reality merges with the natural world in front of the user. It adds a digital element while using the device, unlike in VR.
AR is often used in smartphone apps. One famous example is Pokemon GO.
VR and AR Transforming ECommerce
Bridges the Gap Between Customers and Products
Buying online is a challenge. Customers cannot see how the product will look or take time to check it from every angle. As a result, when customers buy the item and it doesn’t meet their expectations, they have to return the product. Hence, it becomes a problem for eCommerce shops.
VR and AR can connect customers to the product they want. In addition, it partially provides customers the chance to explore the product as if they are holding it in their hands.
ECommerce can also adopt VR or AR by allowing the users to see how the item will look in a virtual environment.
Create a Virtual Showroom
Want your customers to experience your store even in the comfort of their homes? VR and AR are technologies made to create such an experience.
Using modern technology can allow your customers to virtually enter your online shop and provide them with an environment that looks like they are shopping in real life.
Some technologies make the experience more fun by allowing users to shop with friends or use avatars.
Another use of AR can be allowing users to try an item without visiting the store. For example, eCommerce furniture stores can offer an opportunity for their customers to try their products and see if it fits into their space. They can also see if the item looks good before buying it.
A Whole New Experience for Your Customers
We are afraid of change, but when it comes to a better change, humans adapt quickly. For example, using virtual reality in an e-commerce store provides the customer a new way to try things and see them.
About 71% of consumers said that they would often shop if the retailer offered AR. It’s because
AR adds confidence to the shopping decision of the customer. Being able to see every detail increases the chance of buying the product and has fewer returns.
Host Live Events
With VR, online shop owners can host events like pop-ups and live events to interact and build community with buyers. What’s done in real life can be done using virtual reality.
Improves the Marketing Strategy
Virtual reality improves the marketing strategies of online shops. As it provides a unique experience for the customers, they’ll more likely talk about it. In addition, the word of mouth marketing strategy will help businesses marketing techniques to bring in more potential customers.
Furthermore, using virtual reality can also become part of a shop’s brand. Building brand awareness can strengthen the customers’ bond with the business.
AR and VR can be one of the driving forces why people purchase on an online store. Since this technology is impressive and new, people like to engage in it. As more engagement happens, the longer people stay in your shop. Therefore, it increases the chance of purchase.
Modern technology also improves brand loyalty. It enhances the experience of shopping. Hence, customers return for a more convenient experience.
Helps Customers’ Decision-making Process
Customers can make a faster decision-making process when they are given the option to visualize a product.
With VR and AR, the decision-making process is shortened. There is no need to think twice when purchasing a product. It reduces cart abandonment and returned items.
Furthermore, it promotes a positive experience resulting in better reviews.
Virtual reality and augmented reality changes the strategies and experiences for both the customer and the seller. It improves the overall experience and sales.
Although these modern technologies are not 100% effective or wouldn’t boost sales immediately, having such on your eCommerce store can make a difference.
How to Implement VR and AR on Your E-commerce Store
If you plan to invest in VR and AR, here are some things you have to know.
● Determine Your Goal
When implementing a new strategy for your business, you have to ask what your goal is. Goal setting helps organizations set stronger plans and techniques. It will also help them measure their progress.
If you want to add VR to your shop, why do so?
There are plenty of reasons:
- Improve customers’ shopping experience
- Build positive reviews
- Increase sales
- Reduce returns
- Help customers in their decision-making process
You can have other goals why you want VR technology in your shop.
● How You Want to Deliver the Experience
After setting your goal, you have to plan how you want to deliver your VR and AR. You can create an immersive environment for the customer to experience your product in the right setting. For example, you can build an in-store experience. Or, you can make it interactive by allowing users to shop with friends and others.
● Developing the Technology
When implementing VR in your store, you need to choose the best quality and developers.
Hire experienced professionals to build VR or AR technology for your store. Remember that this technology requires developers who have experience, and their sole focus is on such technology.
Furthermore, think about how you want your customers to use your virtual technology. If you have an online shop, hardware that’s accessible to your audience should always be in mind. Don’t require your customers to use expensive gear to access your new technology.
● Test Your VR
Before launching it on your store, make sure you test run the service. You need to check for flaws, effects on users, function, and comfort level.
Testing your VR technology can help you see if you’ll need changes on the design or function. It would be best to point out the errors rather than letting your customers have a hard time using the technology. As it might affect their experience, leading to negative reviews.
● Market Your New Service
After testing your product, everything’s ready. Then, it’s time to promote this new feature in your shop. You can spread the word through social media or email marketing. Invite customers to experience your VR technology.
If your store requires some hardware for users to experience the virtual environment, you can give away some of them, like headsets.
ECommerce Stores That Utilizes AR and VR
Plenty of big eCommerce shops have dive into VR and AR technology. It improved the shopping experience of their customers.
IKEA has used augmented reality in its application. As a result, it changed the world of furniture buying differently.
The app first scans the room and computes the dimensions. After that, it allows users to browse from more than 2000 furniture products.
You can see if a piece of furniture fits the room and how it will look.
Using AR as part of your selling strategy can boost sales by helping your customers’ decision-making process.
AR in apps are more accessible for customers to use, and it’s a good option for businesses that sell bulky items.
● L’Oreal, Sephora, and Other Makeup Brands
Even makeup brands like L’Oreal and Sephora are offering AR for customers to shop their products online. Instead of visiting a physical store, customers can use the app. First, it scans the face to determine the eyes, lips, and nose. Then, customers can choose any makeup color they want to try on.
Dior’s VR experience allowed customers to buy their collection virtually. Customers can step into the virtual world of the Dior store and choose items they want to purchase, from perfume to candles.
Even the clothing brand Kohl made shopping easy with the collaboration Snapchat. Users can shop the style they want from a curated Kohl’s product. Customers can access the virtual closet via the snapcode or lens carousel.
Furthermore, purchasing any items comes easy. There is no need to leave the Snapchat app when buying an item.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are two different technologies but have the same purpose of transforming eCommerce stores worldwide. Adopting modern technology in this day and age can help businesses boost their sales and improve their customers’ experience.