Virtual Reality is becoming more popular with consumers and it is no longer just for gamers. Businesses are harnessing the power it holds and is using it to make shopping easier and more enjoyable for the general public. However, whilst the software is out there, we still need to be Virtual Reality savvy if we want to use it to improve our shopping fun.
How to shop in Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality has introduced Virtual Retail, a shopping solution for anyone that does not want to spend time walking around crowded shops, vying to get hold of the best product or the latest item to hit the shelves.
Virtual Retail is straightforward to use if you are confident in using Virtual Reality headsets and apps, you visit the provider and interact with the products so that you can choose what you want to purchase without having to either make a long trip to a store or risk going to buy something that may not be in stock.
Some stores offer Virtual Reality headsets in-store to help showcase a product or garner interest in a new item. You just put the headset on and start exploring the environment around you – prepare to be amazed!
Do you need new frames but hate trying them on in the opticians? This app will change the way you view glasses forever but allowing you to virtually try on any that take your fancy before purchasing.
It’s simple; you scan your face in the app and then select the glasses you want to try on. The app will even suggest frames that will suit you so you don’t have to spend
Rather than having to wait to try on brand new items straight from the catwalk, Zeekit let you try them on straight away via their app.
You can either use a picture of yourself in as much or as little clothing as you are happy with or select a model that matches your shape and size.
When you have the right model or picture selected you can then try on all the latest fashions and check our how good they look on your figure.
Quytech Virtual Reality App
Rather than providing the app of another store – Quytech is the brains behind many brands Virtual Reality apps. One of the apps they have developed is for Locoporti Wines. Whenever a bottle of wine is purchased the consumer can scan the label to enjoy a sensory experience based on the bottle they have selected.
The idea behind the app is that people should savor beautiful wine and feel submerged in the experience as they enjoy every drop.
Mastercard and Swarovski
Imagine walking around a virtual world dripping with Swarovski products that you can purchase there and then.
Mastercard and Swarovski have teamed up to offer this experience and transport you to a house where you will be shocked by the number of products up for grabs and the price tags that go with some of the items. It’s certainly a niche market but it does go to show that Virtual Reality can be used for any product you can imagine.
Build.com’s app does exactly what you would imagine it would do – it helps you to get all your home renovation items chosen.
The app will show you different options for plumbing and electrical fixtures, even letting you see how they will look in your own home. It’s great if you don’t have time in your schedule to pick out the new faucets you and your partner should have purchased months ago and it can all be done from the comfort of your sofa at a time that suits you.
Neha Singh’s software platform is dedicated to bringing you all the biggest labels in a Virtual Reality showroom. You just log in, look round and buy whatever takes your fancy.
Obsess is the go-to platform when businesses are trying out using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to sell their products. The app is a place where all the stores are located so that the consumer can spend as much time as they want to look at all the stores that interest them
The brand with the big heart will take you on a journey to visit the youngsters that benefit every time you purchase new shoes. Imagine being transported to Peru where a Toms team awaits your arrival. Taking you to see the local area and visit children to size them up for new shoes. It is as heart-warming as it gets!
You are fully immersed in the experience and not only get to see the amazing sites of Peru but are left with a real sense that you have helped by the simple act of treating yourself to a new pair of shoes – how much better can it get?
Alibaba introduced its Virtual Reality offering back in 2017 and it allows the consumer to move through their online store, purchasing items as they go.
You can see the products and price tags and imagine you are in the store but by doing it from your home you can wear what you like, say what you like and visit when you like.
Volvo is well known for its safe cars and commitment to safe driving. This focus on safety may be the reason they released an app that lets you test drive one of their cars without letting you take a vehicle on the road.
You get into one of their SUVs and can take a detailed look at the inside of the car before driving it through a range of different scenes. It’s clearly working as other car brands are jumping on the bandwagon too.
Edmunds Can I Fit?
Imagine being in a position where you can afford to buy a new SUV straight from the dealer. The only problem is whether it will fit in your garage or not!
Edmunds Can I Fit is here to save the day and the app helps you to map out the space you have compared to the space you need so that you can buy that big, beautiful SIV without a second thought.
Nike is a well-established brand that has a cult following like no other. This app lets those fans access rare sneakers and exclusive promotions.
You can also try on sneakers and pick out your next purchase with ease. It’s a great app that works well and has the exclusive edge you’d want if you were as made on Nike as some of their fans are.
IKEA Place brings you ‘Will it Fit?’, the question we all ask when wandering around their huge stores. The app has made it easy to see if the furniture looks good in your room and will scale it to the right size so you can see what it will really look like.
Enjoy looking at all the furniture IKEA has and plan each room so that when you go to the store you will know what to pick up. It even lets you take photos of furniture and matches it to the nearest possible option that IKEA sells.
Converse Sampler App
Converse is a well-loved, international brand and everyone should own a pair of their shoes if possible. The only problem is choosing between their traditional high tops, low tops or their boots.
The app allows you to try them all on and make an informed decision about what you want to put on your feet. Share the pictures with friends and family, you never know your luck, they may buy you a pair.
Imagine having the question popped in a secluded spot with no ring – well Say Yes! has come up with an app that will solve this nightmare.
You use the app to try one all the engagement rings you want and when you find ‘the one’ you can purchase it through the app to save having to wait until you get home to go shopping. The best part is that when you have chosen the ring you can share a picture of it, on your hand, to all your social media accounts so that everyone knows that you are going to tie the knot!
Do you have work you need done on your home but don’t know who to get in to help or what items to put where? Houzz helps with all of it! You just type in where you are and what you are looking for and you will get a list of people that can help to transform your home.
Even better is the ability to look at items placed into your home virtually so that you don’t have to hope they will look good when you get them home! Try mirrors on different walls or put the sofa you’ve been keen on into the room you want it in so that you can see if it really will work.
Dangle HR is an app that allows you to try on earrings before buying them. You place the earrings on your ears virtually and watch them dangle and move on you to see if you like the way they look.
When you settle on the earrings you want you can then buy them directly from within the app and wait for them to be delivered to your door. Like many other apps, you can share your purchase on your social media so that your friends turn green with envy!
Home Depot not only lets you place furniture in your rooms to help you choose but also offers a color app that lets you paint your rooms virtually.
Imagine going around your home and checking out how different colors and shades will look in each room and whether they complement or clash. You can use the app to show the colors in different lights and jot down the pain you want to get so that you don’t forget when it comes to the time you need to order it.
Gap Dressing Room
Do you hate going into a fitting room and trying on clothes in a tiny space? It’s a concept that desperately needs an overhaul and Gap has tried to do just that.
In their Virtual Dressing Room, you can select any Gap items to try on. You put the item on and then can change the color options as well as deciding which ones look and fit you best- and all of this is done without taking one item off a hanger – it’s a great idea that works brilliantly!
Wanna Kicks is the perfect app for people who either love wearing sneakers or have a sneaker lover in their life!
You get to try on loads of new sneakers and pick which ones match your style before purchasing them and waiting for them to be delivered.
The really great thing about the app is that it not only allows you to see what you look like but you can also download a video of you in the new sneakers to show all your friends and even post it to your social media if you want to.
Virtual Reality holds the key to unlocking huge changes in the world of commerce, changing the entire landscape of what shopping is to consumers. We’ve considered the ways things will change and have come up with our top ten ideas:
- The introduction of virtual showrooms – people will be able to pop on their Virtual Reality headset and be transported to their chosen store, looking around and selecting items they want to try on or place in their homes. This is as close to reality as you can get without actually going to the shops for yourself. With a VR headset, you can feel like you in the shop, selecting the products and get a much better idea of what you like than if you look at the items on a webpage.
- Shopping around the clock – consumers will be able to shop at any time day or night and so work schedule and store opening times will not stop you from shopping until you drop. All you will need is your internet connection and your VR headset.
- Public holidays will no longer prohibit consumers from adding an item to their cart or lining up their next big purchase, trying it on before they spend their hard-earned dollars.
- Visualization will allow consumers to really see what an item will look like from all angles and in all lights or they can really see how an item will look in their house by virtually placing it in its new home to see if it goes. Have you ever noticed that the lightning in a store is different than in your home? With VR shopping you will be able to see what items look like where they will go rather than on a store shelf.
- Queuing will become a relaxing experience as if there is a delay in the virtual world then the consumer can just relax until it becomes available rather than having to spend hours queuing to get the new must-have item.
- The hype around items will grow as people can experience them virtually before buying – that way consumers will have a clear idea of the item they will eventually get their real hands-on. The doubts that consumers often have about making purchases will reduce because they can experience the product before they spend any money on it.
- Stores can change their layout with a quick update so that the consumer is never bored with their surroundings! You could try your items in the environment that they were intended to be used in so you can truly see if they work for you before you buy them.
- Better sales pitches from companies as they can harness the power of a virtual world to convince you that their products will translate into real life with ease. Advertisers will have more to work with and how you interact with products will help to convince you to buy them.
- Live events for consumers will grow in popularity. We have seen how fashion runway shows have been delivered via VR and this can be utilized for retail too, by rewarding customers with live events, businesses will be able to promote their products whilst rewarding customers for their loyalty.
- Finally, consumers love a gimmick and the excitement of using VR to shop is a selling point. If you excite consumers with a new way of doing something, then they will reward businesses with their money! Virtual Reality is exciting and consumers want to be excited.
Many stores have tried to use Virtual Reality to entice customers but mostly through experiences or advertising rather than by providing an entire store experience. The ones that haven’t always had the expected outcomes they were hoping for. However, there are a few stores out there that have experienced increased sales and more traffic to their sites. Here are a few that we found and thought were worth sharing:
The Swedish company is a much loved international brand that people enjoy shopping with around the world. The IKEA experience isn’t one that is limited to in-store or shopping on the website anymore. The is a store with a great app that allows you to try before you buy. IKEA Place allows customers to see what their furniture will look like in your own home. You can make sure that it fits and works with the pieces and décor you already have before spending your hard-earned cash and regretting it later.
The app has enjoyed widespread success and IKEA is committed to continuing developing Virtual Reality so that they can bring their products to you in the most user-friendly way. Virtual Reality isn’t just about gimmicks and increasing sales, it’s also about accessibility, and IKEA is a store that is proud to be accessible. Allowing shoppers to use VR is another way that they bring their products to people in a way that suits the consumer.
What’s great about the app is that it automatically scales furniture to fit the room in real-time and the graphics are so clear that you can see the textures of the items you are placing. Anyone who has been around IKEA with a tape measure in hand trying to measure whether items will fit and if they will, will look ok with the other items that are already in the room? With the IKEA Place app, those days are gone, and for many people, this will be very welcomed! Seeing your furniture in the room it is intended for, complete with the other furniture around it is a selling point that may well tempt consumers to choose IKEA over another store. It was initially an iOS app but the virtual store is now accessible on Android too so that everyone can enjoy IKEA wherever they are.
Toms is a well known and loved American brand with a huge social conscience. The brand has used Virtual Reality to help show its customers the power of a pair of shoes and in turn, it has helped them sell more than ever! Customers walking into the LA flagship store were met with a sign that said ‘Reserved: Virtual Giving Trip’. Toms successfully managed to host a virtual store within their bricks and mortar store and it was a sales pitch that worked perfectly!
Imagine going into a Toms store, picking out your next favorite pair of shoes and then being able to don a VR headset to see what that means to the child that receives the new shoes. Toms usually keep this for the employees and partners but on this occasion, they allowed customers to see the impact of their spending first-hand.
With the headset on you are taken to Peru where you find yourself working with Toms employees and getting to know a young man who is to be a recipient of a new pair of shoes. The experience allows customers to see first-hand what they have done for the child and to remind them of the power of giving.
People who shop at Toms usually do so because of their socially conscious mindset. Toms could’ve chosen to give each customer a leaflet explaining the process and the impact that purchasing a pair of shoes has had on a child but how many of us would read the leaflet given to us with our receipt? VR is a perfect way to bring the reality of this social enterprise to the consumers and make their part in the process all that more real.
Whilst Houzz isn’t a Virtual Reality store, it does use Augmented Reality to help consumers decide on how to decorate their home and office spaces. It was launched after the idea was brought to life by a couple who were renovating their home.
After a celebrity-filled ad campaign, it became a household name and the idea of being able to place items in your home via the app allowed consumers to see what they looked like without having to buy them first.
Houzz has grown in popularity and offers many other services, such as finding contractors nearby that can do the work you need. No matter how it grows, Houzz’s ability to use AR to show a consumer how a product looks in their room will always keep people returning to the site.
Obsess is breaking down barriers between real-world shopping and Virtual Reality shopping and it is exciting to see it develop!
They state that their mission is ‘to turn online shopping into an experience’ by changing the way people access the consumer world of shopping online. They run a software platform and technology that gives big name brands the ability to offer Virtual Reality experiences and sell their products in a Virtual Reality space.
Obsess is currently a market leader when it comes to Virtual and Augmented Reality retail experiences and by the number of brands that are signed up with them, you can be sure that they will be around for some time!
The person at the helm is Neha Singh, MIT graduate, and tech expert. Singh’s experience in fashion and technology made her the perfect person to create Obsess and she now has many household and luxury brands on her books.
If Virtual Reality shopping is to take off soon then we are certain that Obsess will be at the front of the stampede!
Will there ever be virtual reality stores? If so, how soon?
Currently, there are not many retailers who are offering full Virtual Reality stores but don’t think this won’t happen and soon! Many big-name brands are working with developers to extend their use of Virtual Reality in their physical stores and as well as within their online shopping experience but to have an entire store in Virtual Reality there will need to be more work done on the tech that is behind the scenes.
Every store would love to attract more customers and customers want to shop in the easiest, stress-free way possible. The market demand is out there and the money is there too so we just need to wait for the tech to catch up! In short, expect Virtual Reality stores to happen but not for a few years yet.
Would you buy clothes in a virtual reality mall?
People love the idea of Virtual Reality and Virtual Retail seems an obvious next step. Stores are developing ways to allow customers to don a Virtual Reality headset and look at their products, share them with friends and purchase them. Virtual Reality was once considered a fad. It was thought that it would be short-lived or that it would be a tech that stayed in the gaming world. However, virtual reality has become a household term and while most people don’t yet have the technology in their homes, they are aware of what it is and what it can do. Virtual reality is becoming more popular as the tech improves and evolves and it isn’t just with certain groups of people. Various industries are seeing the benefits and the potential of virtual reality and clothing stores are likely to get in on the action to give consumers more options when it comes to trying on and purchasing clothes.
Many people would enjoy buying their clothes in a virtual reality store as they could spend time looking at the clothes in 3D and work out whether they would suit them before deciding to purchase. It seems to be a no-brainer, the traditional way of straining to look at all the angles in the dressing room mirror is long overdue an update and Virtual Reality seems the logical next step.
How is Virtual Reality going to help online clothes shopping?
Virtual Reality is not just a fad and could help clothes shopping in a variety of ways. Customers could access the latest trends without waiting for stock to arrive in the store, people could change the location background to see what the clothes look like in different settings – at dinner, in the park, etc., you could even get to sit in the front row of fashion shows to see the birth of your favorite brand’s new line. Consumers would be able to shop from home and pick out the clothes, try them on virtually and order them to be delivered. This takes away the stress of not being able to find your size in the item that you really want to buy, the hustle and bustle of stores (especially around holiday times when queueing to try items on or pay in stores can take a ridiculous length of time!) and not having to find a parking space. All of these will be incredibly helpful to retail and will entice users to make purchases.
Will Virtual Reality ever become a shopping platform?
There is a possibility of Virtual Reality creating a Virtual Retail platform designed solely for shopping but this is an expensive notion and there is no tech that has yet been designed for this purpose. Don’t worry, we can’t see it taking long before a developer decides to take this idea forward and brings us the shopping mall on our VR headsets.
Before we get an entire shopping platform, we should expect to see big brands offering Virtual Reality opportunities more frequently and for a bigger audience. Brands won’t want to invest a lot of money in something that they aren’t completely sure their consumers want. By testing the waters and offering elements of virtual reality, brands will be able to understand the demand for the tech. For those of us who want to see virtual reality used more in the retail world when VR options are offered, we need to make sure we take advantage of them, demonstrating that there is a desire for brands to bring us more. There is no doubt that this is something consumers want so it’s a case of watching and waiting for it to become a reality.
What’s Virtual Reality Shopping?
Virtual Reality shopping is simple – it’s the process of making purchases via a Virtual Reality headset and it is a growing trend in the US. Many consumers are looking for innovative ways to complete their shopping at a time that suits their busy schedules and Virtual Reality shopping will help with this problem.
Whilst Virtual Reality is not a new concept, it is one that has been slow to take off in popularity and so developments in the Virtual Reality world have not been as fast-paced as with other technology.
Will Virtual Reality replace brick and mortar stores for shopping online?
Whilst Virtual Reality may eventually grow big enough to host entire online stores it is highly unlikely that it will fully replace real-life stores. The demand for online shopping continues to grow but people still need last-minute purchases and the reality is that online shopping cannot cater to this niche. Of course, we also can’t ignore the groups of people who genuinely prefer to enter a physical store and be able to experience an item in real life before choosing whether to buy or not.
We may see the number of stores decline further but we can’t imagine a world with no real stores to visit.
How will Virtual reality will change the ‘Shopping’ industry?
This is a question that is difficult to answer fully as Virtual Reality is an ever-evolving concept. Currently, Virtual Reality shopping is mainly used for marketing specific products or stores rather than offering a full retail experience. However, with the ongoing rise of Virtual Reality developments, we can see it becoming something that is used far and wide in stores and eventually from the comfort of your own home.
Eventually, the shopping industry will be able to deliver new products instantly and manage demand from their online store stock rather than having to send items to stores that won’t sell specific items.
What are examples of virtual reality in fashion?
There are many ways that the fashion industry is already utilizing Virtual Reality to sell more products:
- Fashion schools are using Virtual Reality experiments to show off the designs of their students and prepare them for a Virtual Reality way of working.
- The catwalk is being delivered to consumers via Virtual Reality, allowing them to experience fashion shows as if they were in the front row.
- The Gap has created an AR fitting room so consumers can try clothes on digitally.
Whist these examples are all about learning how to use Virtual Reality and AR in the fashion world we are excited to see where it takes us next, the future looks bright for Virtual Retail.
What are the best B2C online shopping stores?
There are many Business to Consumer online stores but some of the most famous have reached that position because they are the best! Here are our top picks:
Amazon. We all know and love Amazon, they are well known for their massive online store and can deliver quickly to your door, even offering same-day delivery on many products now!
Etsy is home to all things handmade with love. You can get many personalized and unique gifts to show that special person how loved they are.
eBay. Online auction house eBay hosts online stores for major brands so you can access their goods from the comfort of your own home.
What is virtual commerce?
Virtual commerce is a tool that helps consumers make purchases in virtual online rooms. It is also known as V-commerce or vCom and can take the form of an app, online service or store feature for consumers to use.