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Virtual Reality and eCommerce Stores

Shopping is going to take on a whole new type of medium, virtual reality, and is becoming even more reliant on technology. That’s right, the new shopping experience of the future is through virtual reality. This provides the shopper the visual enjoyment of walking through a store, yet they are still shopping from their own personal space. Shopping from the comforts of your home is a bonus for many customers.

What developers are trying to hack into is the experience portion of online shopping that has disappeared and taken the fun out of shopping while online.  The traditional brick and mortar experience is coming closer to fruition with virtual reality, all that is missing is the tactile portion of the experience. This may seem like a far off reality, but there are some companies that are already taking shopping virtual.

What are the benefits?

One of the most common problems ecommerce companies face is shopping cart abandonment problems and is occurring because shoppers get sidetracked while they are shopping and get sucked into a new episode of Game of Thrones. Whatever the case maybe the shopper leaves the cart unattended and never completes the purchase. However, with virtual shopping that eliminates the potentiality of getting sidetracked while going shopping and greatly reduces shopping cart abandonment while an individual is shopping.

Having a virtual assistant help the shopper with clothing makes sure that they are having the same shopping experience customer service as they would in stores. Quite often this is the aspect that companies are trying to mimic the most. What’s most exciting is that there is a potential for the future to have virtual reality stores where there will be a need to create jobs for the virtual fashion industry.

What are the down Falls?

Although this may be obvious, but the most important thing to some shoppers is the experience of feeling the product.  Certain materials feel better to some individuals than to others and this could be a reason someone doesn’t purchase a product.

Just consider the many different materials you currently have within your wardrobe? With the plethora of options out there are for fashion these days it can be hard to tell what the product will look like when it arrives at home. Furthermore, taking into consideration all of the aspects of virtual reality, it takes away the convenience of online shopping in terms of time.  Especially, because some of the stores claim they personalize the shopping so you could be spending a lot of time with all your favorite products. With virtual reality shopping brings back the leisure and the experience of shopping like everyday life. It will no longer be a time saver, but a unique experience for the individual.

Examples of VR Shopping

There are many exciting examples of virtual reality shopping websites.  Ikea is one of my favorite examples of VR shopping. The shopper is allowed to design and change the way the room is designed. Furthermore, you can cook those famous meatballs that everyone craves when they go to Ikea.

What is exciting is that this virtual reality actually makes the individual feel like they are part of the process of changing their new house. Furthermore, design changes are very easy to make. For example, if the shopper thought they wanted to have a certain type of wood in their kitchen, but wants to see other options they can click a button and quickly change the type of wood they are seeing.

Another example of virtual reality shopping is the eBay virtual reality department store. This is another great example of virtual reality shopping because the user receives content that becomes more curated as the department store learns what type of products the shopper likes. In order to participate in using this application eBay has created Shopticals, which are virtual reality glasses that allows the user to shop.

These examples are two great new ventures in virtual reality shopping. The affordances that this new medium gives to individuals could change the way we all interact with products when we are shopping online. This is definitely a futuristic platform that is becoming more of a reality than we all thought at a much faster rate.

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile has been social media strategist for the last eight years in the Internet Industry. She has also professionally worked in the film and television industry as a documentary film editor in New York City. Currently, she is a researcher for the University of Hawaii and pursuing her doctorate degree; focusing her research towards online political social movements.

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