Different ecommerce companies are already taking notice of virtual reality technology.
According to Hypergrid Business, 75% of the top brands are on track to invest in VR within the next couple of years.
Virtual reality (VR) may solve common problems of retailers and change the way buyers usually shop. In this post, we’re going to shed some light on virtual reality business opportunities. Let’s get started.
High shop rents
With VR you don’t need to rent a big space to furnish your store with furniture or cars.
To put it simply, there’s a possibility to open a new virtual store everywhere.
You may choose the most convenient location for your customers or even locate the store near the city sights. There’s no land acquisition or permission required.
Sounds cool, right?
Another significant advantage is the retailers are free from experiencing the administrative or HR hassles.
To run your virtual store, all you need is to hire a software development team. You won’t need to hire permanent employees in the store, because you won’t have a physical space where people can work.
Also constructing a VR store brings benefits for your customers too. They won’t need to search for a parking place in a huge shopping mall and wait in queues in the fitting rooms.
High return rates in the online retail business
When clients buy online, they can’t hold, wear and try out the clothes.
As a result, receiving the purchase item, they feel disappointed with the color, size or fabric and decide to return the purchase.
According to statistics, every third online purchase is returned. So how do you avoid that?
Virtual reality business opportunities don’t have limits. With virtual reality, you can combine both benefits of the online stores with those of brick-and-mortar stores.
VR or AR hardware lets a customer see and feel the product. It delivers user experiences that are seamless, delightful and efficient. In this way, buyers may get a clear understanding of the product. Sometimes they can even look inside the goods.
Moreover, due to the immersive experience, VR encourages users to try out more items and consequently buy more even if they didn’t plan to do so.
Okay, you got it. Virtual reality business applications make the life of modern retailer easier and may improve the user experience for customers.
The question is how many popular companies use VR for shopping and what benefits it brings them.
Let’s take a look.
How retail brands use VR
The automotive industry is one of the leaders in using VR technology. When you walk into a car showroom, you can’t see every model of the given car maker.
In the VR environment, buyers can take a look at any model they wish, they may customize the car model, walk around it and step into the driver seat.
For instance, Audi has been rolling out a new VR system with Oculus Rift. This technology enables shoppers to customize the ideal configuration of the Audi they want and view the car inside and out from a first-person perspective.
Also, VR makes it possible to let customers see future products. For example, Toyota used VR to launch their new car. Although the physical version of the car hasn’t existed yet, everybody could experience what it would be like to have one.
VR is applied in the restaurant industry as well. For instance, a well-known restaurant chain TGI Friday’s in the UK delivered a nice virtual reality opportunity for their visitors.
Before the Christmas holidays in 2015, they helped their customers experience dog sledding. Each table in the restaurant was supplied with a specific VR headset allowing visitors to take a virtual trip to Lapland Province.
Previously TGI Friday conducted research that determined that dog sledding was the most desired Christmas activity for the UK people. In this way, TGI Friday made customers’ dreams come true and encouraged visitors to become big fans of this restaurant chain.
How ecommerce leverages VR
Undoubtedly, VR is expanding into ecommerce because marketers understand a high power and potential of this compelling experience. Ecommerce/retail-specific survey revealed that an astonishing 66% of shoppers are interested in buying items using VR.
People say that seeing is believing. That leads to the next conclusion: trying on seals the deal. The reason is customers tend to have deep-rooted desire to try before they buy. If online stores provide them with this exciting opportunity, customers are even ready to make more purchases than they planned before.
Let’s clarify how popular ecommerce platforms provide VR experience for their shoppers.
You certainly know eBay. They launched the first virtual reality department store in the world. To create it, eBay cooperated with Australian retailer Myer. For now, users may view more than 12, 500 items 100 of which are available in 3D.
Additionally, pricing inventory levels and product data in this store are updated in real time. Artificial intelligence learns about the users algorithmically serving them relevant items and remembering personal preferences.
This experience is incomparable because of the feature “eBay Sight Search”. Users decide on purchasing not by clicking on the desired product but staring at it for a few seconds. To add items to the cart, they have to stare at the “Add to basket” button.
Shopify also stands out among ecommerce platforms.
This brand launched a virtual reality application for merchants and fashion designers that delivered a new way of examining clothing designs within a virtual design studio.
Thanks to VR’s 3-D possibility users get a more detailed first-person perspective into a clothing design. They may even virtually customize branded items such as hats, mugs, and coasters.
Of course, this innovation received a positive feedback from users.
Holly Cardew, the founder of Pixc, and one of Forbes “30 Under 30” entrepreneurs write about trying VR at the Shopify Unite conference in San Francisco and finding it quite impactful and inspiring.
Additionally, Facebook 360 expanded opportunities for using VR for brands.
This technology empowers users to navigate 360-degree videos in their News Feeds without a headset.
On a computer, you have to click and drag your way through the action. And if you use iOS and Android devices, you may rotate your phone or tablet.
NAPS Cosmetics has become one of the first brands to collaborate with Facebook 360 Video. They enabled customers to try on makeup through their smartphones.
Popular fashion brands such as Dior and Tommy Hilfiger sometimes provide shoppers with VR headsets to watch 360-degree runway shows and go-behind-scenes with models.
Online car retailers aren’t exceptions. Some of them also use virtual reality technology in business.
For instance, Vroom, an ecommerce company that sells used cars, was eager to make customers experience online car-buying.
For this reason, they created three-dimensional showrooms powered by VR. A user has to visit one of these locations and put on a VR headset to view various car models.
Thus, customers have the ability to hear engine sound and visualize important components.
The goal of implementing VR solution by Vroom was to make customers feel comfortable when buying a high-priced car online.
This smart decision eliminates the need for shoppers to travel and test cars at numerous physical showrooms.
Additionally, home improvements stores also take advantage of VR. Lowe’s is one of them. In 2017, this brand introduced an immersive design and visualization tool. They became the first retailer to apply AR and VR technology for home improvement learning.
Their Holoroom How To experience provides users with a useful training tool to learn DIY on their own terms. When users put the VR headset and hold the controller in each hand, they will be immersed in a DIY project and receive step-by-step instructions to complete the task.
From mixing the mortar to laying the pattern, the simulation walks the user through each step of the process. Haptic feedback, such as feeling the vibration of a drill through the controller, adds to the life-like experience, without the waste or mess of testing a DIY project in the real world.
Initial testing of the VR technology has not only proven an increase in positive customer feedback, but also in boosting customer confidence and enhancing the motivation to take on DIY projects.
VR benefits for ecommerce
- Thanks to such immersive and exciting experience, the shopping may be prolonged and customers will want to make more purchases than they planned.
- VR applications collect information about shopper’s behavior. You may analyze this info for the further sales process improvement.
- VR technology helps avoid huge expenses on building a brick-and-mortar store.
- Customers don’t need to wait in the queue to try stuff. With VR this process is quicker and easier.
- Some apps work on smartphones and tablets. So there’s no need to provide users with a high-cost specific hardware. Some of them use only the camera. Ikea AR app is an example.
- Users are able to make a better choice in comparison with online shopping. Virtually trying stuff, it’s easier to choose the most fitting item. Thus, a business may decrease returns and increase customer satisfaction.
- Retailers get rid of insecure and expensive transportation of the goods from producers. With VR, they don’t have to wait for delivery. They may choose the virtual presentation of the product, take a close look at the item and make a decision.
VR technology is constantly developing. The price starts to lower which is due to affordable VR glasses and headset becoming smaller and more accessible.
In 2018, VR industry is expected to generate $2.2 billion. Mobile VR is also exploding due to its accessibility.
Google has shipped more than 10 million Cardboard headsets since 2014, and it’s estimated to have sold between 2 million and 3.5 million Daydream devices in 2017 alone. Meantime, Samsung is on track to sell as many as 6.7 million Gear VR headsets this year, according to analysts.
In the end, I’d like to quote the CEO of YouVisit, creator of video content for Carnival and other companies “We see [VR] as a very natural evolution that has taken place from text to photos to videos to virtual tours to virtual reality. The main thing that makes the virtual experiences unique is that they’re interactive. That interactivity leads to immersion, and that immersion leads to conversion.”
Therefore, virtual reality is an incredible way to increase a conversion rate, delight your customers and surpass competitors.