How is VR Shaping the Customer Online Shopping Experience?

Mar 28, 2023

Product 3D Design

7 minute read

High-immersive virtual reality technology, or VR, has become a true game-changer for the eCommerce industry. The same is true for modern-day consumers, given the fact that VR has made it easy and convenient for them to shop online. The technology is gradually seeing its popularity in the mass market, with several big brands seeking better and more informative ways of e-tailing.

How is VR Shaping the Customer Online Shopping Experience
How is VR shaping the customer online shopping experience

Besides selecting products from the comforts of their homes, consumers can now examine them closely, replicating a brick-and-mortar store. Thus, it can be safely said that VR is shaping the customer experience to a great extent.

In case you wonder how new-age online shopping is getting influenced by virtual reality, read this article until the end. Learn how this innovative technology affects purchase decisions and what the future has in store for VR. Let’s begin!

What is VR shopping?

In simple words, VR shopping is the application of virtual reality technology in an online shopping journey that offers a further immersive and personalized shopping experience to the end consumer. There are different ways of leveraging VR in marketing and promotions in the eCommerce realm. The ultimate goal of shopping through VR technology is to bridge the gap between in-store shopping and digital shopping, almost replicating a human touch.

Online shoppers thus get a multichannel experience that is interactive, personalized, and immersive.

With a VR shopping journey, there’s no time or geographical limit or barrier. One gets real-time virtual assistance, online interactions, virtual showrooms and trial rooms, and many more. These innovative marketing touch-points bring a global shopping experience, making customers better informed. They are also more inclined to browse other products of the brand.

How does virtual reality influence customers' purchase decisions?

The beauty of VR lies in replicating a real-world environment within a virtual space. This immersive experience creates an immense sensory impact on online shoppers when they engage with the brand or the listed products. From a business perspective, this can be utilized as leverage for better customer interaction and user engagement.

There have been several successful marketing advertisements and promotional campaigns that have resorted to this virtually engaging eCommerce technology that acts on an emotional level. Emotional VR campaigns have now become a trend among global brands, especially apparel and beauty product chains.

With these emotional VR-driven promotions, brands can showcase their products in unique ways. At the same time, customers enjoy the products on an emotional level beyond computer screens. They can witness highly realistic product presentations or demonstrations, as they do during a physical shopping spree. The experiences can be scary, overwhelming, humorous, nostalgic, and so on; simply put, anything that tugs the sentiment.

The biggest advantage of VR is that shoppers can play around with and test a product within a virtual simulation while observing the product closely. This not only helps them make an informed purchase decision but also gives them value for their money. A lot of global eCommerce brands, namely Alibaba, IKEA, The North Face, etc., were the early adopters of VR-powered online retail methods. These virtual reality shopping experiments saw a significant rise in sales and customer satisfaction.

In what ways is VR technology shaping the online shopping experience?

Users can gain VR experience in various ways while they shop or shuffle through their favorite eCommerce platform. According to a PwC survey from last year, one-third of online shoppers have used VR to make purchases. This signals a paradigm shift in the online retail market, apart from the prevalent use of VR in games, TV shows, and movies.

Mostly, the millennials (people born in the 1990s) and the Gen Zs (people born between the late 1990s-2000s) are inclined toward VR-driven promotions. They love to create their personalized virtual “3D avatars” based on their own body measurements while trying out clothes. Fashion apparel brand Hugo Boss has adopted a similar digital fitting room where 3D models of customers can be used as lifelike mannequins.

Let’s check out a few more ways in which VR is shaping the online shopping experience for modern-day consumers. If any of our readers happen to be brand owners, they can get some food for thought on how to utilize the technology for their virtual store.

  1. Configure products through virtual “try-ons”

    Virtual “try-ons” are the latest buzz in the tech world that has gradually made its way to the consumer market. Several big apparel and luxury footwear brands have adopted the technology for their product listings. With this, prospects can try the product virtually and see themselves walking, running, and playing in it.

    This gives them a clear idea of the real-world functions of the product. They can also make more data-driven purchases instead of the guesswork that is often a problem while shopping online.

  2. Check the product in 360° view with VR tools

    To better examine products, customers can check them from all angles through VR headsets. Highly detailed and custom 3D models of the product are made in specialized software, which can be viewed through the VR tool within a real-life setting. Buyers can play around with the product, feel themselves in it, and be one with it before purchasing.

  3. VR shopping creates memorable connections

    The enhanced shopping experiences felt in a VR simulation are 100% life-like and hyper-realistic. This creates a feeling of mixed emotions that play on customer psychology. When customers are emotionally invested in an ad or a campaign, chances are higher that they will be inclined to buy the product.

  4. Consumers can see the products in action

    How a piece of furniture assembles, how a hi-tech looking kitchen appliance works, how a beautiful lighting decor looks in a real-world ambience - all can be seen in a virtual simulation. Buyers can closely examine how their ergonomic, modular furniture works without actually visiting the store.

    With product 3D animations, though, the utilities of an appliance or a furniture item can be shown, but VR simulation helps them gain the experience themselves, being almost close to real in-store shopping.

  5. Customize the commodities per their preferences

    Be it lipstick shades, foundations, hair colors, watch bands, eyegear, or contact lenses, prospective buyers can see for themselves which color suits them the best. Based on their preferences and skin tones, they can personalize the items from the virtual product display.

    For especially eyegear pieces, a person’s facial and bone structure matter the most. Through VR apps, customers can customize their selected items based on this. The recent shopping trends speak a lot about these personalization flexibilities.

  6. Simulations amidst different contextual settings

    Virtual reality also simulates different interior set-ups designed in 3D. Thus, with special >virtual reality apps, buyers can check the products for themselves in different contextual room settings. It can be a gym, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, attic, or basement.

    These VR rooms can be showcased in exhibitions and tech symposiums for massive brand awareness and product promotions.

  7. An immersive shopping experience for modern-age buyers

    The inherent essence of virtual reality lies in its gamification, interactivity, and immersiveness. Throughout the steps in a customer’s journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase - all the touchpoints become super-exciting and engrossing. The encounter feels like one is playing a computer game with VR consoles, goggles, and controllers.

    In a virtually created interactive shopping environment, buyers can pick and try stuff, move on to the next, and customize it per their choice. The VR-enhanced experience is one of its kind, ushering customers towards the final stage of the sales funnel.

The future of VR in eCommerce industry

The eCommerce industry has become a vast, never-ending realm where, each day, millions of online stores are formed. Be it small businesses, start-ups, SMEs/SMBs, or eCommerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Target, Walmart, etc., standing out in the crowd is the ultimate sales mantra. With product 3D modeling,360 degree product configurators, 3D product animations, etc., online sellers are trying to form an omni-channel user experience for rising online shoppers. There are different types of 3D product renderings used in marketing these days for faster brand recognition.

Also, with augmented reality marketing and the worldwide acceptance of AI, a sort of mixed reality (MR) approach is the imminent future for online commerce in the upcoming years. For instance, we are already witnessing the rise of AR in the furniture industry, as well as the growing effects of the metaverse and XR, also known as extended reality.

These innovative retail technologies will yield new possibilities for e-tailers to drive customer loyalty and carve a niche for themselves. So, together, we can see a completely digitally transformed consumer market that blends the human touch with digital innovations. All that eCommerce brands can do is ride the tide of adopting VR into their marketing strategies and accept it with its challenges and limitations.

Wrapping up!

If you have reached this point, by now, you have gained solid knowledge about virtual reality technology and how VR is shaping customer experience and online commerce. Developing powerful and intuitive VR apps and VR-driven retail innovations must be given due weight to ensure lifelong customer loyalty. In the coming years, we might get to see more of these immersive 3D visualization technologies driving further intuitive interactions for customers, making them feel valued, empowered, and better informed.

There are several accomplished 3D design service-providing agencies that develop custom VR-compatible 3D product models. VR models must be detailed and hyper-realistic when customers access them. The movements and postures must also be highly organic and accurate, replicating human movements. Thus, hiring experts in the domain generates the best possible results.

Until then, give this interesting article another read and get immersed in virtual reality. Good luck!

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Sushmita Roy

A seasoned 3D professional with a creative focused, and a knack for diverse 3D designs, software and the technology. She's associated with ThePro3DStudio for long enough to prove her mettle and make every 3D projects successful. When she’s not busy working for a new project, she shares valuable insights from her own experience.