Can Vitual Reality become the New Luxury Shopping?

With our reality and normality being changed forever by the Covid-19 Pandemic,
brands have decided to venture out into the world of virtual reality. Virtual reality refers to a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using any electronic device. Luxury brands have taken a hit during this pandemic, resulting in an estimated 18% decrease in sales. As Ian Rogers, chief digital officer at LVMH, explains. “The luxury business is still a business of the previous century. This century is a complete and wholesale change. It will be defined by the way human beings have been connected via the internet; also, by data and the collective intelligence derived from that data using AI [artificial intelligence] and machine learning.”

Augmented and Virtual Reality makes experiences richer, interactive, and more
seamless. Therefore virtual reality supports the customer’s purchase decision-making through 5G technology that will allow customers to download content and interact with the brand at a faster rate. Younger millennials and Generation Z consumers have grown up using digital devices so, if luxury brands want to catch the attention of these market segments their medium has to be digital. Luxury brands are using the technology once reserved for games to create a new immersive virtual way to shop.

dolcegabbana store

Image source: Dolce & Gabbana 

Luxury Brands are using VR to create an out-of-this-world experience for their
customers during a time where shopping in-person is difficult. It provides a risk-free and exciting way for customers to shop and has so far boosted sales for many brands. In turn these brands hope to inspire loyalty and increase their reputation using VR. Creating a virtual world of luxury provides customers an escape from their reality and an entrance into a world of glamour. Last year, brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, and Carolina Herrera have expanded their digital efforts to recreate virtual shopping spaces. Using VR, Dolce and Gabbana has recreated the interiors of their boutiques in Paris and Osaka, while Carolina Herrera has created a shopping experience where videos show how each clothing piece would look like on a body.

Companies like Obsess, a virtual store platform, are booming with these types of technologies that help brands create their web-based virtual boutique. Virtual stores have now become a concept incorporated into the strategic future expansions of brands. Obsess; technology has helped increase retail conversion rates by almost 50% through the implementation of these virtual boutiques. Asian markets have been vital for trying out these new features. In Singapore, Piaget created a virtual salon so their customers could continue browsing their stores without having to leaving their homes. When you enter the virtual store you can explore the store with a panoramic 360 view or have a staff member help you.

Not all the virtual reality boutiques will succeed in comparing to their in-person
experience. But luxury brands are finding new ways to hold-on to customers and virtual reality provides a great alternative to engage customers in a new and exciting way. Maybe virtual boutiques can make up for some of the losses made during the pandemic but only time will tell if this once exclusive gaming technology can save the luxury market.

 

Source:
- What is VR?
- Virtual reality shopping, AI store assistants, branded online avatars and apps aplenty–what the 5G revolution means for luxury fashion
- Can Virtual Reality Save Luxury Retail?

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