Ever since virtual reality revolution has started out with gaming in 2016, it has progressed very fast to a number of different industries, especially eCommerce. When business opportunities show up to integrate virtual reality in an effort to deliver a more immersive shopping experience to customers, leading eCommerce solution providers have jumped forward with great enthusiasm. Moguls like eBay, Amazon, Shopify and X-cart have utilized everything from artificial intelligence to environmental-friendly packaging attempting to market themselves as the most technically advanced players in the market.

vr - The Future of E-Commerce: V-Commerce

  • The Start of Virtual Reality in eCommerce

Though the user adoption rate of VR headsets is currently pretty low due to the item’s high price (only 5% of North Americans claim to own a VR headset), what technology wasn’t when it was at its early stage? When smartphones first came out, the majority of people were hesitant to buy one since it was expensive and no one knew how functional it was. Yet we have witnessed how quickly the push-button mobile telephones faded to touch-screen smartphones. After all, technological revolutions require pioneers that are willing to take risks in order to improve functionality.

Myer, an Australian retailer, is one of the champions in virtual eCommerce. It partnered with eBay, and launched the world’s first VR department store. Through the “Shoptical” cardboard VR viewer, clients are entitled to a customized shopping experience that is almost the same as they are in brick-and-mortar stores. When items are added to their cart, customers will view a series of related products, initiating a continuous shopping experience defined by their personal preferences and shopping history.

You are probably thinking, “how is this different from shopping online or on a mobile phone?”

Discovery. Customers are able to evaluate the product they are purchasing from every aspect with the freedom to move, spin, and zoom in. As opposed to a full screen of two-dimensional images and a crafty sales pitch on a website, virtual reality provides an opportunity for customers to “try before they buy” with extra assistance in the awareness phase of the customer journey, enhancing the convenience of shopping with that brand.

  • Leverage VR Marketing for eCommerce

Other than virtual reality has opened the door for retail stores, it also poised to transform the world of marketing. Research from Neilson shows audiences tend to remember brands 8 times better using Virtual Reality. Brands can use VR as a way to create differentiation in their marketing campaigns.

Consider below benefits VR marketing brings to you:

  1. It breaks through the marketing clutter. We are bombarded with marketing messages non-stop. However, virtual reality requires intensive attention so is much more memorable than traditional ads. Even if it is harder to reach a mass audience, your brand lift is higher when viewed.
  2. It is measurable. Unlike some media, you can use features like heatmaps and tie-ins to Google Analytics to measure the interaction with your virtual environment. Therefore, rather than just having a generic sense of the success of your VR experience, you can get actual data and visual representations of visitor behavior data.
  3. The brand using VR is perceived as cooler. According to a 2016 survey by Greenlight VR of 1300 adults, 71% said VR makes a brand seem more “forward-thinking and modern”.That is a substantial perceptual lift just because of a distinct form of technology. 53% of participants said they would be more willing to purchase from a brand that uses VR than from one that does not.

One of the most fabulous VR marketing ideas is McDonald promoting their Happy Meal Box by turning it into a virtual reality toy box. People can reconstruct the happy meal box into a goggle and use it to play Slope Stars. Although such marketing campaign has not yet flowed into all countries, it was launched in Sweden on trial basis.

Virtual reality stores and marketing strategies have successfully paved its way from the gaming arena to the retail sectors. Marketers around the world have already taken notice of it, exploring it to its best value and its alsE one of the top trends for eCommerce in 2019.

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