Ecommerce is a rapidly expanding sphere and ecommerce brands are continually looking for ways to get one up on the competition.Virtual Reality (VR) is a relatively new and exciting industry, which is still only just going mainstream.
Popular gaming VR devices, such as the HTC Vive, are incorporating physical actions into gameplay. But looking at the VR industry as a whole, aspects like augmented reality and 360° views are already being used for ecommerce, as well as traditional retail, hospitality, and manufacturing.
This post will run through six compelling reasons to jump on the VR bandwagon – and show you why as an ecommerce entrepreneur, it’s a whole lotmore important than you think.
VR attracts smartphone shoppers
The rise of mobile shopping has hugely impacted the way consumers make purchasing decisions. Through the clever use of things like dedicated apps and 24/7 automated chat platforms, ecommerce brands can provide personalized customer service experiences.
VR usability can also be replicated with a smartphone and cardboard VR viewers to create unique personalised marketing campaigns. A prime example of this is Myer, the world’s first VR department stor. Through its mobile online platform (in association with eBay), mobile shoppers can view products in their store, zoom in, and see all angles of the product before they buy. Once an item is placed in the cart, other product recommendations appear in the shopper’s line of vision.
This site is a fun take on the latest VR technology, encouraging people to spend lots of time viewing and interacting with the site and products.
VR eliminates customer hesitation
Online shopping always carries a degree of risk. Will the product purchased online meet the customer’s high expectations? Augmented reality can help customer replicate the ‘try before you buy’ experience characteristic of brick-and-mortar retail within online stores. style=”font-weight: 400;”>, for example, allows visitors to take a selfie and overlap makeup shades on the image. This easy-to-use tool builds consumer trust and convenience and increases brand loyalty as a result.
VR increases content shareability
Today’s social media-driven world has made consumers eager to share their everyday experiences with their friends. Facebook’s development of 360° views has brought simple VR imagery to the mainstream and the photos are proving to be a big hit with users. Hospitality booking sites like Ideal Insight offer 360° views of their hotel and accommodation spaces to visitors. These are perfect for sharing amongst holidaymakers on social media. These images go a long way towards removing hesitations and increasing conversion rates amongst customers.
VR creates brand narratives
Tommy Hilfiger introduced VR in retail by presenting a virtual headset tourof his fashion collections back in 2015. He set out to create a catwalk and backstage tour to create a ‘compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience’.
VR can be used for design and merchandising
In the early stages of developing your brand and creating an online store, conceptualising and designing your product output, and finding ways to lower costs and reduce the time spent on wasted efforts, will help your business grow in a sustainable way.
Apps like Shopify’s Thread Studio offer ecommerce merchants the opportunity to test their branding designs on 3D VR models, offering 360° views on a range of products like t-shirts, mugs, baseball caps, etc. It is one thing to see a rendering of a t-shirt design on a 2D photo; with 360° views, merchandisers can make smarter purchasing decisions by utilizing VR through their ecommerce subscription service.
Introducing gamification to advertising
If your brand is an everyday product, it can be hard to retain the attention of fans in your digital marketing campaigns. Virtual reality can be a great ‘draw’ for the public, and if you can introduce an element of gaming, all the better.
Oreo attracted over 3 million views with their Filled Cupcake Flavoured Oreo campaign. Developers created an animated VR video offering 360° views of an imaginative, dessert-based world.
Virtual reality is developing at a rapid rate. Experts predict that by 2020, the VR industry will be worth $162 billion worldwide. Brands that adopt the possibilities now can achieve the competitive edge as the technologies become more mainstream amongst everyday internet users.