The ecommerce industry has witnessed significant growth over the past decade, with the global pandemic further accelerating this trend. This expansion can be attributed to advancements in internet speeds and logistics, facilitating fast and reliable delivery services. However, despite its success, ecommerce still faces challenges, with approximately 70% of online shoppers abandoning their orders. To address this issue, ecommerce businesses are exploring new technologies and marketing techniques to enhance the customer experience and increase conversion rates. One such technology gaining attention is virtual reality (VR), which holds the potential to revolutionize the future of online shopping.
The Immersive Shopping Experience: VR offers a unique shopping experience by combining the advantages of online shopping with the immersive elements of brick-and-mortar stores. While customers can continue shopping from the comfort of their homes and enjoy speedy deliveries, VR eliminates the drawbacks of online shopping. Users can now walk through virtual stores with friends and try on clothes before making a purchase. This merging of online convenience and the physical store experience is highly appealing to consumers who want to enjoy the benefits of both worlds without the hassles of queues and traffic.
Adapted for Mobility: For VR to become the norm in online shopping, widespread adoption of VR mobile devices is essential. The growing market, with 171 million VR users globally and an estimated value of $209.2 billion by 2022, suggests that VR devices will become more prevalent in households. Presently, accessing virtual reality requires downloading specific apps compatible with VR headsets. However, as technology progresses, web browsers will integrate VR capabilities, allowing websites to seamlessly connect with VR devices. This enhanced accessibility will eliminate barriers and make VR online shopping accessible to a broader audience, including older generations.
Capturing Brick and Mortar Loyalists: A lot of customers still prefer physical stores due to its convenience and accessibility. A large group of customers want to physically feel their products before making their decision to buy a product. The integration of haptic hardware, enabling touch and feel sensations, further bridges the gap between physical and online shopping experiences. By wearing a VR headset, shoppers can enter virtual stores that closely resemble physical retail environments. They can browse products, evaluate scale, and visualize items in real-life settings, making informed purchase decisions.
The Social Aspect of VR Shopping: Shopping is not just about purchasing products; it also holds a social aspect. Many people enjoy visiting physical stores with friends or family, making it a significant part of our culture. VR enables ecommerce businesses to replicate this social interaction by allowing users to shop together in real-time virtual environments. Moreover, virtual shopping assistants can provide personalized recommendations based on users’ shopping preferences and previous sessions. This humanization of the online shopping experience through VR shopping assistants enhances customer engagement, reduces cart abandonment, and drives sales.
Showcasing Products and Boosting Sales: Brands are increasingly leveraging VR commerce to showcase products outside traditional retail contexts, providing customers with unique experiences. Retailers like IKEA have already implemented VR commerce strategies, engaging customers through mobile applications and complementary headsets. This approach boosts customer engagement, inspires product exploration, and facilitates upselling and cross-selling. As VR commerce evolves, brands that embrace cutting-edge technology and cater to early adopters will have the opportunity to address latent consumer needs and drive meaningful sales growth.
The emergence of VR in ecommerce presents a transformative era for the industry. By combining the benefits of online shopping and physical stores, VR creates a novel shopping experience that bridges the gap between convenience and immersion. With VR, customers can touch, try on, and visualize products, reducing knowledge gaps and increasing purchase confidence. Moreover, VR enables social interactions and personalized assistance, enhancing customer satisfaction and driving sales