Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality already has some influence in today's commerce. There are great examples from the augmented reality app from IKEA, Patrón’s VR experience, and agencies’ VR showcases including the one from SapientNitro’s for Cannes Lions 2015. Though these are nice experiments, they are not exactly full-on marketing vehicles.
E-commerce came a long way in the recent years, but it still has a few flaws. Flaws VR can solve.
1. Virtual reality brings instant shopping to a new level
One of the main problems with e-commerce is the time required. It’s just f*cking slow. Mobiles are supposed to make this faster, but they are not. Our attention is more distorted than ever, and the chance would-be customers fall out of the funnel is way too big.
Virtual reality is undistorted attention. Shoppers enter the virtual space, and buy a product instantly after a great branded experience. The classic search-visit-browse-select-buy cycle looks like something from the Stone Age compared to this.
2. Shopping experience on VR is simply unparalleled
As SapientNitro suggests in their video: “E-commerce is flat, commerce is not.” They are 100% right. Afraid to order the shoes from online because you think it won’t fit? Considered that beautiful dress but wondered how would it fit with your other clothes? Want to try that restaurant but not sure what’s the atmosphere of the place? Would love to buy a flat in Mountain View but have zero time to visit all the 234 locations your real estate agent collected for you?
All of these can be, and will be changed by virtual reality. You can visit places and try products without physically going somewhere.
3. Experience first, buy later
Sure, you can take a good look at a new car in VR to see if you like it or not. But how about a driving game in virtual reality, sponsored by a big car brand? You loved to drive around with that sexy hatchback, did you? Well actually you can buy all of these cars online in the game’s in-app store.
Virtual reality will add a huge boost to shopping experience, as users can actually try most of the product experience before buying it. Remember the old days when people read reviews about a product, visited a shop to try, bought it online (with a discount!), and probably wrote another review? Who has time for that?
4. Customer service on a new level
One of the key issues with e-commerce is customer service. It has to be damn good because it’s part of the service (or we can even say it is the service). An e-commerce business with a lousy customer service is doomed to fail.
Now imagine a virtual customer service where you can bring your owned products – or at least their digitally rendered version – and negotiate with the customer service in a virtual place. It doesn’t have to be that “please dial 4 to get international shipping” experience or a lazy email. It can be an emotionally satisfying and effective environment designed for virtual reality users.
Tell us your thoughts, how e-commerce will be changed when it goes virtual?