How Offering a Virtual Shopping Experience Can Increase Your eCommerce Sales
The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the retail industry with the forced closure of physical stores worldwide. As consumers rapidly shifted to primarily online shopping, many retailers with three-year plans to join the e-commerce model were suddenly forced to do so overnight. Now, with many countries opening back up and consumers feeling safer venturing out, one thing remains clear: the dominance of e-commerce is here to stay.
While many consumers state they prefer shopping online to shopping in person, there are a few drawbacks for retailers and online stores to customers not physically visiting a store. Among these are the reduced possibility of impulse shopping, higher return rates due to not experiencing the product in person, and less interaction with a company’s brand, resulting in reduced customer loyalty. To combat this, many forward-thinking retail businesses found ways to bring the in-store experience to their customers through virtual shopping experiences. Brands and retailers across industries such as fashion, footwear, and outdoor gear, to name a few, have witnessed the power of creating immersive online & in-store virtual shopping experiences using three-dimensional (3D) & augmented reality (AR) technology. Used as a sales tool, 3D Commerce helps eCommerce brands and retailers grow their businesses, increase average cart size, reduce return rates and provide an exceptional customer experience.
In this blog, we’ll look at what virtual shopping is and the benefits of incorporating virtual experiences into your e-commerce strategy. Then we’ll consider two essential applications of virtual shopping technology and how it’s enabling brands to deliver the best online shopping experience.
What Is Virtual Shopping?
The term “virtual shopping” refers to the use of 3D & AR technology to create a shopping experience that mirrors the way customers interact with products in a physical store. Customers can use any personal device, such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, to view a product as a 3D model. The customer can see the product from all angles, inspect designs up close, and see variations of different colors and styles. In some use cases, which we will cover in-depth later in this article, the customer can use the camera on their device as a 3D Viewer, enabling them to virtually try on the product the same way they would in a store or view the product in their real-life environment. To deliver a virtual shopping experience, brands and retailers must use a 3D Commerce platform to create and manage 3d replicas of products and optimize them for use on the web.
Benefits of Offering a Virtual Shopping Experience
Higher Conversion Rates & Increased Average Cart Size
Once you have your customer on your website, you’ve won half the battle. But now the question is, how do you get them to convert? Brands that use 3D Commerce platforms like VNTANA to deliver an immersive virtual shopping experience enjoy increased sales conversion rates as high as 83.1%. Additionally, the opportunity for cross-selling and upselling can lead to a 61% increase in order value. The bottom line is that when shoppers can experience your product virtually, they can make a more informed buying decision and feel more confident that your product suits their needs and provides enjoyment.
Reduced Return Rates
The customer journey doesn’t end with purchasing your product, and neither do the benefits of virtual shopping. There’s nothing worse than eagerly awaiting a package for days or weeks and opening that box to find the product is not as you expected. Reduce return rates and associated costs like packaging, shipping, and carbon imprint by providing product clarity. Returned items are not only an additional cost for e-commerce businesses but also a hassle for the customer that could leave a bad impression and reduce the likeliness they will purchase online from you in the future. Online brands and retailers that utilize virtual shopping experiences can experience up to a 40% reduction in returns by clarifying product features, materials, and dimensions to ensure customers receive the product they expect.
Enhanced Customer Experience
For many consumers, online shopping has become the norm- but the experience of visiting a store, interacting with staff, and seeing all the inventory holds sentimental value for some. Virtual shopping bridges the gap between eCommerce and in-store shopping by delivering an omnichannel shopping experience. Online shoppers forgo the traditional customer experiences, and helpful sales associates offered in-store. Virtual shopping experiences provide an opportunity for you to differentiate your e-commerce business in a sea of online storefronts. Customers who enjoy an immersive shopping experience on your website are more likely to connect with your brand, leading to repeat business and referring others.
How eCommerce Brands and Retailers can use 3D and AR: Main Applications
The range of applications of 3D for eCommerce is growing daily as more brands adopt this critical emerging technology. Two of today’s most essential applications for B2C are 3D Web Viewers and AR Product Try-Ons.
3D Web Viewers
Perhaps the most common use case for virtual shopping, 3D web viewers allow you to showcase your products as interactive 3D models. Online brands and retailers can use a 3D Commerce platform like VNTANA to use a professional 3D modeling creation service or upload existing 3D product models into a web-optimized format. These files are then embedded into your storefront, where online shoppers can get a 360-degree view of your product, see color and style variations, and read about specific product features you can highlight with callouts.
AR Product Try-ons
Another valuable 3D eCommerce application is AR product try-on. Using augmented reality, customers can transform the camera on their smartphone or tablet to virtually try on clothing, jewelry, or even place an object in their real-life environment. For example, a customer could see how they’d look in footwear of a specific style or color. Customers shopping for more oversized products like furniture or outdoor gear can place the object in their environment to see if it fits their needs. The best part about creating virtual shopping experiences through augmented reality is that no download or friction is necessary for the customer. By simply scanning a QR code or visiting your product page on a mobile device, your customers can embark on a completely web-based experience.
Deliver a Satisfying Virtual Shopping Experience to Grow Your eCommerce Revenue
To recap, virtual shopping uses 3D & AR technology tools to provide customers with a way to view products and try them out without visiting a physical store. E-commerce websites can use 3D Commerce platforms to help give customers a better understanding of a product and how it fits them or fits into their physical space, increasing satisfaction and sales. Getting started with 3D & AR for virtual shopping experiences is easier than you think.
The VNTANA 3D Commerce Platform has all the tools you need to start offering 3D & AR virtual shopping experiences for your customers. We help brands, manufacturers, and retailers deploy immersive online experiences for e-commerce, B2B sales, social media, and the metaverse. Our team can handle everything from 3D model creation to integrating 3D assets into your e-commerce website. Go live and start generating more sales in 10 days or less with our fully-automated, patented 3D optimization, reduces which file size by up to 99% without any human effort— so you instantly have the file types and size you need for the web, social media, and virtual worlds. Contact our sales team to talk to one of our 3D and AR specialists about how our virtual shopping platform can help you make more sales.