No, we’re not living in a sci-fi movie–virtual reality is everywhere. VR is becoming a common part of different industries, and since retail is always evolving, VR is becoming a common technology used by many sellers.
VR in the retail industry will be worth $17.86 billion by 2028, so eCommerce companies must keep up with the times and implement this technology.However, many sellers may struggle to implement VR.
Some stores may not know how to use the technology, while others are unsure how to apply it to their unique brand. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about virtual reality in eCommerce, including why you should invest in it and how to use it.
Overview of Virtual Reality in eCommerce
Before we define virtual reality in eCommerce, let’s cover VR itself. Virtual reality is an immersive digital environment. While VR headsets are the most common example, you can create a VR environment through photos and videos.
Retailers can use immersive VR technology to engage with your store digitally. VR is especially important for online sellers since it can give customers the in-store experience without leaving their homes.
Virtual reality often gets confused with augmented reality. AR uses this immersive technology but in a real-world setting. AR and VR are often used interchangeably; some examples are more AR than VR. It’s still important to define both and mention which applications are VR versus AR.
Why Virtual Reality Is a Booming Industry
Virtual reality is no longer some mind-blowing technology from your favorite sci-fi book or movie. Now, VR has made its way into the mainstream. There are over 171 million VR users globally, and more people are predicted to use this technology.
VR has transitioned to the mainstream for many reasons. Technology to use VR is more accessible to consumers. This also means VR technology is readily available to brands, specifically eCommerce companies.
Advantages of Virtual Reality in eCommerce
There are many advantages of using VR for your eCommerce company. Here’s why VR will make your online store more memorable.
- Builds brand awareness. VR is an effective booster for marketing and advertising since this technology captures attention. Virtual reality is still new enough to be innovative, helping your brand stand out from the competition.
- Entice word of mouth. Whether you host virtual product demos or social media filters, VR effectively increases word of mouth. Your customers won’t only share your VR with their family and friends but will feel more compelled to post it on social media.
- Convenient shopping. Shopping via VR is more efficient than running out to the store, making it more popular among consumers. When a buyer sees an item they want, all they have to do is purchase it digitally and sign off of the VR shopping device.
- Creates a memorable customer experience. While online shopping is convenient, it takes away the experience of visiting a store. VR gives your customers that same personalized experience online, making your store more memorable.
- Increases purchase confidence. VR try-on tools mimic the real-world shopping experience. Customers will have a more accurate view of your items, relying less on images and descriptions.
- Maximize sales. Virtual reality can improve the customer experience and give sellers a competitive edge. VR is also an innovative marketing tactic, compelling new and existing customers to visit your online store.
How Sellers Can Use Virtual Reality in eCommerce
Virtual reality has become one of the most innovative technologies, especially in eCommerce. That said, knowing how to use VR in your business is difficult. Here are ways VR can improve the customer experience and convert leads in eCommerce.
Since VR is more immersive than traditional manuals, this is the best technology for complex products. When your consumers are immersed in the how-to process, they will learn about your product quicker and be able to apply all features and functions during the first use.
If you want to give your customers the in-store experience while online, offer a VR-powered virtual store. With a VR storefront, your customers can browse through the aisles, shuffle through clothing racks, and look at items on the shelves.
If your technology is on Meta, your customers and their friends (as avatars) can go shopping together.
One of the benefits of shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is being able to try on or test products–something that wasn’t an option for online shopping. VR can blend those two lines, offering customers a digitalized way to try on items. While examples of this technology are technically AR, consumers can still use tech to test out products before purchasing them.
There are many ways that eCommerce stores can implement this technology. If you sell home decor items, you can use AR on your app to see how certain products will look in your consumers’ homes.
If you sell makeup, you can use filters so your customers will see how different products can look on them. Clothing brands can use these same filters so customers can “try on” different clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Social Media Filters
Many social media filters, such as Snapchat, let companies post branded filters. Filters can be used for fun or to promote your company. While this technology is technically considered AR, it will still boost brand awareness and audience engagement.
What are some social media filter ideas for your eCommerce business? You can use a filter to showcase a new product and any effect that gives your brand a “wow” factor.
Related content: Social Media for Ecommerce
Virtual reality changed the event industry during the pandemic. Crowds could no longer gather, and VR put users in a situation where they could still attend an event in a virtual setting.
Even though the pandemic is behind us, eCommerce businesses can host different VR-powered live events. Pop-up shops are a perfect example; customers can use their avatars to attend the event, and you can build a community among your consumers.
What the Future of Virtual Reality in eCommerce Looks Like
It’s difficult to predict the future of VR in eCommerce. While the outlook is positive, this technology is still new.
Many online stores haven’t invested heavily in it–the bulk of VR adapters are major retailers, such as Lowe’s. While VR has a lot of promise, it’s difficult to gauge the competitiveness factor until more small and medium-sized eCommerce companies invest in this technology.
That said, there’s no denying that VR takes the online shopping experience to a different level. Whether brands want to replicate the in-store buying process or use it to promote a product, VR takes branding, marketing, and advertising a step further.
Engage Customers With Virtual Reality in eCommerce
Virtual reality is no longer an out-of-the-box concept in sci-fi. VR is all around us, and many businesses use this technology to increase brand awareness and convert leads. While virtual and augmented reality are often used interchangeably, both can make your business more innovative and competitive.
There are many examples of virtual reality in eCommerce. How-to manuals, virtual stores, try-ons, social media filters, and live events are only a few ways that eCommerce stores can use VR.
Virtual reality isn’t the only way to unlock your full potential. When you trust the eCommerce experts at AMZ Advisers, you get a dedicated team to assist with your marketing, advertising, inventory management, competitor research, and more.
Click here to learn more about our services.
Stephanie Jensen has been writing e-commerce content for seven years, and her copy has helped numerous stores rank on Amazon. Follow her on LinkedIn for more insight into freelance writing and creating high-quality content.