Is virtual shopping the future of retail?

The pandemic has indefinitely changed the business world as we know it. Although the average customer is still searching for great deals and incredible products, most are shopping in a way that is much more cautious and safer for all. Indeed, the pandemic has caused many people to go above and beyond to avoid lines and crowded places, the very antithesis of the characteristics of a thriving consumer economy.

Nevertheless, not all is lost. While people may be visiting storefronts less, they are definitely shopping online in record numbers. So, is virtual shopping the future of retail? The following is an analysis of just that. 

What is Virtual Shopping?

For those who are as yet unfamiliar, virtual shopping is a term used to describe the newest phenomenon of online shopping. With virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR), virtual shopping provides shoppers with a uniquely interactive online shopping experience. 

So, virtual retail allows shoppers to shop using 3D renderings of storefronts, products, service centres, and more, rather than browsing through boring online catalogues. Considered the next big thing in retail, virtual shopping will enable shoppers to get the best of both worlds: a collaborative shopping excursion while staying safe at home. 

Benefits of Virtual Shopping

Virtual shopping has lots of benefits for both consumers and companies, including:

Increased Convenience

One obvious benefit of virtual shopping is it’s highly convenient. Customers can shop from the comfort of their home or office, from their smartphones, tablets, or even computers. This is ideal for anyone serious about shopping but may not have the time or means to visit the store in person. 

It’s New and Exciting

It’s no secret that most people are looking for the next big trend when it comes to the shopping realm. Virtual shopping is it! Rather than sticking with regular online shopping, virtual shopping allows users to visit the worlds of virtual reality and augmented reality. Specific demographics, such as millennials, prefer virtual shopping to most other shopping methods. 

Best of Both Worlds

Virtual shopping not only allows people to enjoy personalised shopping experiences while remaining safe at home, but it also allows them to get the best of the online and in-store shopping experience. So, rather than needing to choose between going to the store to inspect a product or saving time by shopping on their smartphones, virtual shopping will allow consumers to select both. 

Purchase from Distant Locations

Another significant benefit of virtual shopping is enabling customers to purchase goods from distant locations. So, customers can shop at any store or boutique with an online shopping option. Once companies universally accept virtual shopping as part of the retail experience, customers will peruse stores home and abroad. 

Word-Of-Mouth Advertising

Since virtual shopping is still new and exciting, these virtual shopping experiences will often be shared via word-of-mouth. This is great for the companies, but it can also help customers decide which companies are most suitable for their shopping needs. 

Instant Feedback

Another benefit of virtual shopping is that customers may provide feedback instantly. Since the process is so interactive, customers will have a point of contact who they can contact immediately to discuss all pros and cons of their virtual shopping experience. 

Boosting Customer Service

Additionally, online shopping will allow companies to improve their customer service. Since customers will be providing lots of personal details about their unique preferences and needs, companies can offer better deals and even personalized services in the future. 

Try Before You Buy

Unlike typical online shopping, virtual shopping may allow consumers to try things before buying them. For instance, customers may use apps and features that enable them to see how clothing or accessories look on them before they buy. Moreover, it may also be possible for customers to match different types of décor or even find out how certain foods to pair with their favourite wines. 

The Future of Retail

So, is virtual shopping the future of retail? Many experts believe it is. Although it may seem to be some new trend of fly-by-night novelty, the benefits offered by virtual shopping are unmatched by other shopping methods. For instance, although the COVID-19 pandemic will presumably become a thing of the past, in the present, many people are preoccupied with finding ways to complete their daily duties without putting themselves or their families at risk. 

Additionally, although virtual shopping was once an amenity offered only by high-end stores and boutiques, the emergence of new technologies has made it much more accessible to stores of all sizes.

The consumer share of virtually/augmented reality has risen from 53% to 75% in just a year. This is a major sign that virtual shopping is on the rise.

As with most new inventions, it may take time to fully implement. However, given that so many people are already engaged in virtual shopping, the demand will continue to grow until more and more stores offer it as an everyday option. 

Virtual Shopping is the Future

Overall, virtual shopping is here to stay. Whether you prefer to make purchases in person or if you like to do your shopping online, you will probably participate in virtual shopping in the near future. In the past, many people were reluctant to engage in online shopping because it was so impersonal. Luckily, virtual shopping allows customers to shop conveniently without forsaking a personalised shopping experience. Additionally, it gives us all the peace of mind of knowing that we will be able to continue to shop and remain in operation even when there may be quarantines and other precautions preventing us from conducting business as usual.  

Get in touch to find out how Virtual Retailing Solutions can transform your online selling power.

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