Virtual reality shopping is on the horizon


Virtual reality and shopping

What if you could browse the shelves of a clothing store without leaving your sofa? It’s not just point-and-click e-commerce. Retailers are designing whole new ways to shop that incorporate the latest virtual reality technology.

Life after the lockdown has changed the way consumers buy retail products. As restrictions are lifted, retailers are finding that shoppers are no longer lining up like they did before the pandemic. No worries: Retailers are looking to the future of e-commerce.

Prepare for an upheaval as there has been a hard reset of the shopping experience.

As people get used to using technology in their daily lives, shoppers are looking for more interactive ways to shop online. The same old point-and-click framework isn’t good enough anymore. Buyers want an attractive, easy-to-use and interactive user interface.

Quick pros and cons of virtual shopping

Pro – It’s super convenient. You don’t have to go anywhere to shop virtually.

Disadvantage – You cannot physically touch or handle the products.

Pro – You have the privacy to browse items you might be embarrassed to look at in the store.

Disadvantage – The shopping interface can be a bit wonky at first.

Pro – You can take your time without disturbing other buyers.

Disadvantage – You can’t talk to a real retail salesperson when something is wrong.

A virtual shopping experience from The North Face

The North Face is one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands. Today, they are one of the first brands to use virtual technology to innovate the shopping experience. With your smartphone or internet enabled device, you can virtually recreate the shopping experience at a North Face store.

Over 50 years ago, The North Face took iconic looks for camping skiing, hiking and mountaineering and transplanted them to the city streets. The North Face boots, shoes, outerwear and bags have become a staple in men’s wardrobes around the world. Tough, durable and stylish – The North Face makes clothing and gear designed to last.

Yet all the bottlenecks and issues in supply chains can frustrate shoppers who cannot physically make it to a North Face outlet or retail store. Don’t let that stop you. The north face made their online store better than the real one. Now you can get a personalized online shopping experience in a virtual store.

Here is what you need to do

First of all, you just need to scan the QR code of their website using your mobile device. It will invite you to choose a time slot to make a live virtual appointment with a sales assistant. Once your niche is available, you join the North Face team member to talk about what you’re looking for. They will also inform you of any current offer or sale.

They will walk you through difficult sizing questions and show you different colors and variations. It’s like shopping in a live store. Some guys just want to be left alone to sail and that’s cool. You can always just visit the online portal and order whatever you want. However, you should think of this new virtual service as your own personal concierge and product expert. It is certainly an advantage.

Once you have selected an item of equipment, you will be taken to the online payment portal. Then your order can be shipped to your doorstep or you can arrange for a pickup at the nearest brick and mortar store. The North Face virtual shopping is super easy and convenient. This is the future of online retailing.

Related: Should you prepare for the virtual party?

Big companies are betting on virtual shopping

Virtual product demonstrations and live broadcasts via social media will likely be the shallow end of the pool, allowing consumers to familiarize themselves with the new framework. After all, virtual and augmented reality is only as good as the value it presents, and so far the average consumer base is just not up to date. Savvy retailers prepare for these technology experiences by getting ahead of the game.

Live shopping, virtual product experts, and augmented reality are the next waves of e-commerce retail. Tech companies are creating new ways to reach customers using next-generation technologies. Don’t you think it’s coming to a city near you? Check out this 3D virtual shopping experience created by Walmart.

Facebook recently let the cat out of the bag about its future VR plans. The company is making a difficult shift towards the “metaverse” – its new social platform of virtual reality. Facebook changes the name of its company to “Meta” and invests 10 billion dollars in the new virtual environment.

Amazon already uses a virtual shopping cart to track purchases in its Amazon Go supermarkets. There is no live checkout at the Amazon grocery store. You come in, get what you want and go out. Your cart is scanned and your payment is automatically withdrawn using the Amazon Go app.

Why is everything becoming virtual?

There’s a hidden reason why big companies are priming the pump for virtual reality. It’s incredibly immersive technology. This has certain risks and benefits. Most of the risk will fall on the user, but most of the rewards will fall into the coffers of big companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Facebook.

UC Santa Cruz researchers have published results in May 2021 from a study on virtual reality that identified a time compression that takes place during virtual reality sessions. In the study, a group of gamers constantly lost track of time while playing in VR. Participants spent 28% more time in virtual reality than in conventional video games.

This is called time compression. When you are in virtual reality, you lose track of time in the real world. Retailers are salivating over data because the more time you spend in VR, the more you engage with their products and services.

So, it could help your finances (and your sanity) keep track of how much time you spend in VR. You have to remember that virtual reality is relatively new, even though the concept has been around for decades. It is difficult to assess how virtual reality will affect society.

Maybe it will make shopping a lot easier and more fun. It could help people who cannot leave their homes find the products they need. Virtual shopping could also help small businesses compete for storage space in a world dominated by large companies.

It’s too early to tell, but you better be prepared for tiny virtual locker rooms and boring virtual store workers. Some things never change.

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