Is Virtual Reality The Future of Ecommerce?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that leverages physical space for generating naturalistic images, sounds and other senses so as to imitate users’ actual presence in a virtual world. Users are required to use VR equipment for immersive experience. Virtual reality was initially developed in the gaming world; later this technology has shifted into the military arena for training soldiers. Space training and Psychology therapies are also done in certain confined environments by using VR technology. VR technology has evolved in stages- Slowly and steadily, it also grabbed the attention of e-commerce marketing.
E-commerce marketing entails online transactions between buyers and sellers. There is still a huge chunk of people interested in buying products from brick and mortar retail shops, so that they can have a look at the quality by using their five senses. Such audiences have certain quorum of contempt for e-commerce giants such as the Amazon, eBay etc. Such audiences prefer physical shops for the selection of their own first-hand products from the available huge collections and assortments. Subsequently, they try them after reading the brief description of every product that has been kept for sale in the store by the salesmen.
Electronic commerce is now enhancing customer experience in physical retail stores through a VR technology called Virtual Reality e-commerce. The opposition to online services is decreasing the sales in the market. To improve their sales and create trust on the online products to customers, the e-retailers have chosen this way of Virtual Reality E-commerce.
What is VR e-commerce?
Virtual Reality e-commerce is a way of creating the same experience when you go to a store for purchasing an item from a heap. Right from allowing the customers to explore every part of the product they want to purchase to ordering their preferred items, VR e-commerce takes care of everything.
VR experience needs a headset which is of the following types:
- Built-in display headset
- VR Smartphone, which uses the Google cardboard
Enlisted below are the different types of VR modelling techniques
- Complete 3D
A large volume room is required for 3D modelling and creating axial and symmetric aspects of various products. This is expensive as it requires synchronous technology which may seem a tad difficult while implementing volumetric methods. This is suitable for the stores which sell a fewer number of products. X-cart Web VR implemented this type of technology for their services.
- Pseudo 3D
Pseudo 3D room is a room in which the user can move freely between various 360-degree images. Not only is this modelling technique quick but also easy to implement. It is helpful for the stores that intend to start selling their products through Virtual Reality. West Marine store of Maryland leverages this technology for its product selling.
Abstract is yet another VR modelling technique required for generating 2D & 3D images for products and categories on various browsers. Based on the data existing in its online stores, the software automatically deploys the products for the consumers. eBay is using the services from this technology. The smart investment on Web VR will be great for Virtual Reality e-commerce rather than a VR storefront.
Is VR e-commerce helpful?
Virtual Reality e-commerce requires a large initial investment for hardware set-up. As a matter of fact, initial investment may be higher for the companies of outside the gaming world. Prices will come down over time, with increase in the adoption of VR technology. This can be explained with a simple example. When the mobile phones first hit the markets in the mid-90s, they were really expensive. When the importance of the devices was understood and people started to accept them, the prices continued to drop automatically. Similarly, the situation now with the VR e-commerce can be envisioned.
VR e-commerce provides flexibility as far as monetary transactions are concerned. There is no need for the consumer to take his credit card or mobile wallets out for completing the transactions. With the increase in the number of e-commerce users, consumers are willing to secure their credentials in an online environment. Once the payment details are known, technology offers different channels for enabling frictionless transactions.
How is VR e-commerce implemented?
Initially, the VR technology was developed for gaming. Now, the technology has become a part of every industry. An instant way to implement the Virtual Reality e-commerce is through smart phones. Customers are accessing websites through smartphones, a perfect size for fitting the content of VR e-commerce in front of the eyes. When the content in the website is too small for the viewers, they are bound to leave the website and visit other sites. So, the text in the website should fit various screen sizes and this aspect is important for the VR e-commerce in mobiles.
Virtual Reality e-commerce is yet to reach its full potential, a lot of opportunities are available to customers as far as creative content is concerned. For example, when the customers are provided 360-degree views with zoom in and out options for various products, consumers appreciate the brilliance of VR. Along with rotating images, video content gives the consumers a better view on their purchase. The closer you reach to the VR e-commerce on your products, the more the consumer trusts their purchase.
Obstacles in VR e-commerce
There are many troubles involved in implementing the Virtual Reality technology in e-commerce landscape.
- A lot of equipment is required. High capital expenditure is necessary. Small players find it very difficult to handle.
- Virtual reality is still in the development stage.
- Consumers just look for minimal data. VR is costly and time-consuming. The question is- Is VR necessary?
To overcome the afore stated obstacles, experimentation has to be done in VR e-commerce by using the necessary equipment, through storytelling. Storytelling is all about immersing the emotions of viewers in the story of the brands. This creates special bond between the customer, his / her purchase and the brands. With the 360 degrees VR, customers can experience this premiere wherever they are present.
What may be the future of VR e-commerce?
Brick and mortar stores can leverage the benefits of Virtual Reality e-commerce. Such stores have enough space for the equipment, for rendering VR experience so as to entice the customers. Customer demands will lead to the development of the technology.
Retailers all across the world are adopting this technology and this is a step forward in the VR e-commerce arena. Companies already have customer needs, which makes them suitably aim for perfect and necessary virtual reality experiences. The major shift to fashion and beauty sectors in VR e-commerce will give a strong competition for electronics sector.
How is VR e-commerce running in the present world?
Major companies like Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Google are already struggling for superiority in the Virtual reality market. The market is growing rapidly. Each company has developed its own virtual reality hardware.
- Samsung’s Gear VR
- Oculus Rift
- Sony Play station VR
- Google cardboard
Virtual Reality e-commerce is not the only market using VR. This technology also helps in interior designs and home wares. With the furniture choices and layout designs of rooms, it is hard to visualize the variations but VR offers the solution with the specifications needed in the interior spaces.
Tommy Hilfiger, designer lifestyle brand added a VR fixture to their flagship in New York and planned to install in every flagship of their store in the United States and Europe, which can be viewed through a Samsung’s Gear VR. Those are installed for the customers’ entertainment and to show their every season’s collection.
Virtual Reality e-commerce offers your e-commerce customer with a headset. As a result, customers can walk through the store and subsequently see virtual salesmen and engage in discussions with them. The discussion with the virtual sales team members helps the customers take the right solution. This VR e-commerce is generally used in the social media just like Facebook.
Online marketing companies like Shopify, eBay, and Amazon also stepped into the Virtual Reality e-commerce. eBay has released their first VR departmental store. Shopify released their first VR app for windows, which supports the HTC vibe headsets. Amazon also made some development to their operating system named as Alexa. Facebook also set the platform by releasing the messenger app in the market.
The internet will majorly affect the way people shop. Physical stores have faced many problems due to online services. The glory of the stores can be retained by using the Virtual reality technology. VR has become more popular with the availability of technology at low prices, thanks to devices such as Google cardboard and Samsung gear VR which are supported to every Smartphone. Virtual Reality e-commerce helps the customers with the better views of the products.
Still, VR is in its developing stage, but a time will come that every purchase done by the customers will take the usage of VR and transactions are only done through e-commerce without any help of physical credit cards or mobile wallets. With the features existing at present is the evidence for the developments in the VR e-commerce in future. One day the Virtual Reality e-commerce might replace the top technology of present days.
If you have any doubts or concerns, feel free to drop a line or two in the comments section. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space for insights on vr ecommerce. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep yourself abreast of vr ecommerce. My best wishes are with you and your venture. Cheers!