Enhancing Experience with Virtual Shopping
Moving the Experience Online
July 3, 2018, Bruno Jacobsen
We've said it before on this blog that the future of retail and the way we shop is likely to profoundly change in the coming years. Many of these changes will be enabled by different developments in technology, delivery, marketing, and so on. Well, Walmart has just given us a hint on what direction things may be heading to.
Last week Walmart announced the release of a new virtual home shopping experience, the 3D Virtual Room Tour. Accessed through its "home" pages, it allows people to take a tour through a virtual room with a number of items for sale in it. The curated apartment showcases approximately 70 items from national brands and Walmart's private label.
According to Senior Vice President Anthony Soohoo, this feature could also have applications elsewhere.
"While we are launching these new features for dorm rooms and small space living, we know that they could have applications elsewhere and will continue to listen to customer feedback to determine how to implement them more broadly on the site," said Soohoo.
Walmart's gimmick, of course, isn't as breakthrough as some might have expected. In the end, it is not much different from 3D videos already found on most of your social media websites.
Still, it's a step forward in the world of online retailing. If the initiative proves successful, it's likely that other companies will follow suit, especially for items that are less transactional, such as home or office items (as opposed to groceries, for instance). So we might see companies such as IKEA implementing similar stuff.
Going forward, however, this may be taken even further. Nowadays, with all of us carrying devices in our pocket that can be easily converted into virtual reality headsets, there's no reason to stop here.
As argued in a previous article, physical retail shops still have an edge over their online competitors with regards to the overall experience. But with virtual reality technology finally taking off, a big part of this experience will be transferrable.
In a sense, this is a big change. It is no longer about selling the items on the internet and delivering them. It is about selling the experience online, too. In digital world, this is a must. And regardless of whether offline retail sticks around, online retail must become increasingly more experience-focused.
What does this mean? It just means that in the future we'll still be going to the mall to shop around. Except this time we might do that in our pyjamas, in the comfort of our beds.
Are you interested in future trends, developments, and other phenomena? Futures Platform's foresight radar includes all trends in this blog and hundreds more. Check it out here: Futures Platform