V-Commerce: Revolution That Started with AR/VR in Retail
With E-commerce being up-and-running for years, it has led to an emerging concept that has been gaining traction in the commercial space for quite some time – V-commerce.
The concept of V-commerce has become increasingly relevant in the modern digital landscape. It has several distinct meanings, including E-commerce in Virtual Reality (VR) and Voice-commerce (V-commerce through voice commands). Others even treat it as courses and applications used by the business industry for educational purposes. Nonetheless, this article will focus on the first two prevalent concepts.
What is V-commerce?
V-commerce, or Virtual Reality commerce, is a form of electronic commerce that utilizes Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies to create immersive experiences for customers to shop for products or services as if they are inside a real-life store.
Voice commerce, in turn, is a form of commerce in which tasks generally associated with shopping, such as order placement, payment processing, checkout, and customer service, are carried out using voice commands.
Regarding educational purposes, some businesses take V-commerce as an online platform that allows companies to connect with their clients and offer digital learning resources such as video tutorials, webinars, podcasts, and other interactive content.
V-commerce Benefits for Retailers
V-commerce has revolutionized the retail industry, offering retailers a wide range of benefits. These include:
- Increased Conversion Rates. V-commerce platforms enable retailers to convert web visitors into paying customers more frequently than traditional stores due to the convenience and immediacy of the shopping experience. It lets virtual stores offer significantly lower prices than their traditional counterparts, providing buyers with a compelling reason to shop.
- Personal Approach. V-commerce platforms empower experts to engage with customers more directly and personally than ever, with real-time interactions and tailored marketing that caters to individual shoppers’ interests and needs. This personalized approach also helps multiply sales.
- Boundless Interactions. With V-commerce, retailers can reach customers in areas where traditional brick-and-mortar locations may be impractical. Moreover, virtual stores can be quickly set up and operated without needing physical space or a workforce, enabling brand owners to respond promptly to market trends and customer demand.
V-commerce for Customers
For buyers, AR/VR mean the absolute comfort and emotional engagement. In the world of consumerism, with the infinite choice of goods and services, buyers are looking for emotions and experiences more than for anything else. This is the age of the experiential economy. AR/VR apps surprise customers, make them laugh, and amaze them. Augmented reality applications let customers interact with goods directly destroying barriers.
For instance, a virtual reality dealership gives customers a chance to see how their car will look in different configurations in different colors. It solves the problem of the buyer’s remorse once and for all. No more: “it looked different on the website!”
Implementation options for Retailers
As a retailer, you have numerous options when implementing V-commerce solutions. These include the following:
V-markets – Virtual Marketplace
V-commerce marketplaces allow consumers to conduct business transactions using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications. Some of the most successful V-commerce Marketplaces are:
- eBay is a popular online auction site that allows people to buy and sell goods. The page has a VR application that lets customers shop in a virtual environment. With this new application, eBay customers can interact with sellers in real time with virtual avatars, browse through 3D products, and make purchases with their VR headsets or controllers.
- Etsy is an E-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. Its application offers a realistic experience for shoppers by simulating a physical store, where customers can virtually walk around and shop for their desired items. Furthermore, the application features AR capabilities previewing how things would look in real life, such as furniture and decorations.
- Amazon Marketplace is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world. Its VR application lets you customize your experience by selecting the store’s design, browsing through 3D products, and using VR controllers to navigate the store. Likewise, clients can use Amazon’s AR capabilities to preview items in their physical environment.
- Alibaba is another retail platform selling products from thousands of vendors worldwide. The company has its VR application, giving customers access to a virtual shopping mall with various products. Like eBay and Amazon Marketplace, Alibaba’s application uses 3D displays and lets customers purchase through their headsets or controllers.
V-stores – Individual Virtual Brand Stores
Leveraging cutting-edge technology, V-stores enable businesses to deliver a personalized experience to each buyer, helping build trust and brand loyalty with customers. With V-stores, brands can create a unique digital storefront to deliver innovative and engaging shopping experiences tailored to each customer’s needs. Here are the four most prominent examples of branded V-Stores that have trailblazed the V-commerce area:
- L’Oreal Makeup Genius: L’Oreal Makeup Genius is a popular virtual try-on app from the cosmetics giant. It uses computer vision to project makeup products on users’ faces, allowing them to experiment with different looks remotely.
- IKEA Place: IKEA’s AR app, IKEA Place, is a game-changer for furniture shopping. Users can place virtual furniture in their dwellings to see what it looks like before they buy it.
- Ray-Ban Try-On: Ray-Ban’s AR app allows people to try on the company’s sunglasses virtually. You can upload a photo of your face or use the app’s camera to get a close view of how the sunglasses look on you.
- Adidas AR Shoes: Adidas’ AR app provides a real-life try-on experience. You can import a photo of your feet or use the app’s camera to get a quick and detailed view of how the boots look on you.
Virtual Car Dealerships
In the age of advancing technologies, virtual car dealerships are another transformation of how we shop for cars. V-commerce offers an exclusive online shopping experience that gives consumers the same access to car inventory as a traditional dealership, all from the comfort of their homes.
For example, customers can browse through a virtual showroom, research the cars of their choice and configure and design their perfect vehicle. Besides, they can even make an appointment for a test drive without ever having to step outside or make phone calls. The following are successful examples of virtual car dealerships:
- Ford: Ford’s AR app allows customers to virtually create their personalized car, selecting from various engines, gearboxes, and other features. Customers can see how their chosen model looks as they customize and explore it in great detail.
- Audi: Audi has adopted a groundbreaking approach to V-commerce with its “Virtual Showroom” technology that utilizes VR and AR to allow customers to discover a diverse range of cars and their features. Among other things, customers can easily explore and customize the vehicle’s interior.
- Tesla: With the Tesla VR experience, you can examine the vehicle’s exterior, learn about its features and customize it to suit your needs. Besides, an AR app lets you customize your vehicle’s interior from home.
V-rooms – Specialized Virtual Spaces
V-rooms are specialized virtual spaces created for V-commerce. They are designed to provide a platform for businesses to conduct their digital transactions and usually feature captivating 3D graphics and other interactive elements.
Wayfair is one of the biggest brands taking advantage of V-rooms to provide customers with a realistic 3D shopping experience. Through their V-room, clients can view furniture and home décor items in a virtual setting, customize their purchases, and even take a virtual walkthrough of their chosen items before committing to buy.
VR Press Days
VR press days are digital events where journalists, bloggers, and influencers are invited to experience new products or services using a combination of video, audio, in-app chats, and VR and AR. These events allow companies to showcase their product in a realistic and all-embracing way.
One example of a VR press day was the virtual launch event held by Ubisoft in 2020. The company sent out Oculus Quest headsets for this event to journalists and influencers worldwide. They then used the headsets to explore a simulated world where they could play the new game, interact with other players, and participate in live demos of the upcoming releases. Guests could also attend a virtual panel discussion hosted by developers from the company.
Laval Virtual is an annual digital event that takes place in France. The event consists of virtual conferences, workshops, and showcases featuring dozens of companies. Attendees can explore immersive virtual worlds, experience the latest in VR technology, visit digital stands from corporations, participate in educational sessions and networking opportunities, and much more. Laval Virtual focuses on bringing together companies, developers, creators, and enthusiasts alike to further increase collaboration, creativity, and innovation within AR and VR and emerging V-commerce.
VR B2b Showrooms
VR B2B showrooms are simulated environments that empower businesses to showcase their products and services to potential buyers. With VR B2B showrooms, companies can provide a digital tour of their product, allowing potential buyers to explore the product’s features from any angle as if they were in the studio.
Samsung uses a VR B2B showroom to demonstrate its latest refrigerators. The virtual showroom takes potential customers on a tour of the refrigerators, providing a mesmerizing 360-degree view of all the features and design details. Potential buyers can open the refrigerator doors, spin it around, or even see the color options available.
V-commerce is changing how brands operate and interact with their customers, offering new opportunities to streamline operations and maximize profits. Many business areas are finding ways to switch to V-commerce, including but not limited to:
- Automobile: V-commerce allows car dealerships to provide virtual car showrooms, allowing people to browse and purchase cars online. Customers can use virtual tools such as 3D configurators to create and customize their ideal automobile before completing the purchase.
- Travel: Virtual travel agencies are an excellent example of V-commerce, letting users plan and purchase trips from their homes. Customers can book flights, hotels, transfers, and services within a single platform. With room for customization and search functionality, people can easily find the perfect vacation package.
- Home Design: Virtual home design services are becoming increasingly popular, allowing users to design their homes virtually with the help of experienced designers. Customers can use AR to visualize their designs before committing to any purchases, creating a rich, interactive experience that is impossible with traditional methods.
- Real Estate: Virtual real estate services are gaining momentum. Customers can view properties and take captivating virtual tours, providing a convenient and enchanting way to shop for a property without the hassle of visiting multiple locations. With real estate floating into V-commerce, people can make informed decisions while getting the best deal.
Voice commerce is a way of making purchases using voice as the primary interface. It enables users to utilize voice commands to search for, find, and purchase products and services without needing to type in search phrases or manually enter payment information. Voice assistants can search for products, make recommendations, and communicate with connected devices. They are powered by AI-based technologies that allow them to better understand and respond to spoken language and natural language queries and recognize and remember user preferences.
While voice commerce is still relatively new, it is gaining in popularity. According to NPR & Edison research, 62% of US adults had used a voice assistant in 2022. Companies like Google, Amazon, Alibaba, and Apple have quickly jumped on the trend and released branded assistants – Google Home, Alexa, Siri, and AliGenie – designed to make voice shopping more accessible and convenient. These technologies are still evolving and becoming more sophisticated by the day, giving customers access to personalized, tailored experiences from their voice assistant of choice.
What’s Next for V-commerce?
V-commerce has seen rapid growth over the past few years as more and more businesses move their operations online and consumers become more comfortable with making purchases over the internet.
The next step for V-commerce is to perfect personalization techniques so that customers are provided with top-notch experiences tailored to their needs. One way to do this is to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to analyze customer data and provide recommendations based on personal preferences.
Voice commerce is also expected to surge in popularity in the coming years. This tech-enabled shopping experience provides a faster and more convenient way to shop. Businesses should take advantage of this by integrating voice commerce into their web pages.
In conclusion, we can expect V-commerce to continue expanding as businesses become more accustomed to the digital space and technology advances. By staying ahead of the curve and embracing new technologies like V-commerce (in both interpretations and implementations), companies will manage to tap into new markets and grow their profits.
At WE/AR Studio, we specialize in helping enterprises develop their unique V-commerce strategies. From product development to marketing and more, our team of experienced professionals can help you create an engaging, personalized shopping experience for your customers. Contact us today at email@example.com to start building your V-commerce project!