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Ruchika Beri

Ruchika Beri is the Co-Founder & CMO at Jewelove.

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Virtual Reality - The Holy Grail between Offline & Online Retail

Virtual Reality is expected to grow twentyfold by 2020, according to a SuperData Report. Asia is expected to be the top market of VR Software at $430 million in 2017.

Before I even give a fair idea of what Virtual Reality is and how this experience is sweeping not only the buyers but sellers too, I am sure everybody has an inclination of how Virtual Reality is talk of the town these days. Everybody wants to woo buyers and even the buyers are looking for experiences that can enhance their purchase journey along with engaging them.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality, also known as Computer Stimulated Reality, combines technology and experience design to create an indulging environment that makes users feel like they have entered an interactive environment. Think of playing Contra but actually being in the game, actually running and fighting in the jungles. (& having that amazing Contra macho body too!)
With endless storytelling, virtual reality is making a shift from just the gaming and entertainment industry into various aspects of online retail.

Relevance of VR and what brands are doing

Not just for gaming and industry, VR is making waves in fashion and lifestyle spaces. Whether it is fashion, apparels or an entirely new category, Virtual Reality is leaving no stone unturned to make everything digitally interactive. Customers are interested in V-commerce these days and VR has a potential to fill this gap in coming years. This is like bringing real-life experiences to eCommerce.

A couple of companies like IKEA, DIOR and Barbie have already gone ahead and taken it to the next level. For example IKEA has gone ahead a mile and worked on the concept of virtual kitchen via the app. The same is creating the platform for people to explore the technology and co-create something with other people. Via this app once can change the environment or the surrounding and even change the colors of the cabinet. Also the user can tweak the kitchen view from different perspective like expand or shrink. Having said this, given a choice like to the customer of experiencing the product would make me want to try. Fashion enthusiast can look forward to something that will entice them to the core. Dior has taken this way too seriously and are being early adopters. Dior will officially launch Dior eyes to showcase the backstage preparation of their runway. Dior evangelist would definitely would be on cloud 9 to get a feeler of the backstage happenings of the mock run of the models before the show.

We are seeing that major eCommerce companies are taking this route. The reason why companies are leveraging this technology is that people still prefer to buy a couple of products at stores as they want to touch and feel it. Walking into the store adds on to the comfort and the trust for customers. Think from this perspective if this experience can be provided to people, then imagine how much more fulfilling it would be.

This move will definitely up the game of many eCommerce companies in the sectors like lifestyle and fashion. Right from adorning many outfits and checking the fit with VR or trying the jewelry to see the dazzling finish to try it on and see for yourself, it will prove to be a game changer and the plethora of experiences are adding value to the whole buying cycle.

Virtual Reality is expected to grow twentyfold by 2020, according to a SuperData Report. Asia is expected to be the top market of VR Software at $430 million in 2017.

Marketing Uses of Virtual Reality

People are still trying to figure out on how to make the most of this VR, here are a couple of clues:

• Talk about your product specifications and attributes
• Enhancing the user experience by bringing the brand’s perspective
• Help in simplifying the buying process which will help in quick decision making
• For the lifestyle and fashion brands it can create a wow and aspirational feeling

Well, if you are still thinking that this technology is a future thing then let me mention that Virtual Reality will take you back in future. So many companies are banking on this innovative way to reach out to more people and up the game. VR will give that necessary acceleration to your content and brand credibility. The curious minds of people and the passion to explore this facet would make companies churn their purses and grey cells.

This article is contributed by Sambhav Karnawat (Founder & CEO, Jewelove) and Ruchika Beri (Co-founder & CMO, Jewelove).

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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