Virtual retail or V retail refers to retailing in the digital realm with the help of various technologies existent today. V retail is a space where IRL joins URL to home deliver the accuracy of an in-store experience at people’s addresses.
Selling and buying in virtual reality
In recent times, the presence of virtual reality has increased exponentially pushing businesses to make a channel shift to connect with their customers. As customer expectations are evolving with the involvement of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, selling a hands-on experience to consumers has become paramount. The salient factors of accuracy and personalization that the technology of AI adds to the domain of retail, drives the need for the customers to experience something new with every available facility and brand to include a contemporary feel to the services it has to provide.
So how is virtual retail reducing the gap between what the customers want and what the brands have to offer their customers?
The bridge minimizing this gap consists of the use of AI-based strategies in virtual environments to fulfill customer demands and bring people as close to the tactile experience they look out for as possible in retail to ensure there is required transformation in the business.
The concept of remote selling in the virtual environment led by augmented reality is picking up speed. From displaying a collection of the products digitally to the customers to having conversations with them to navigate an accurate purchase, virtual selling has seen it all. Various AI strategies are being deployed for these purposes that help deliver smart solutions to the existential crisis the services undergo with the repetitive use of available processes in the domain.
The facility of 3D avatars as models is being used predominantly to demonstrate the product catalogue of a brand and sell products to clients in real-time. Various bots are being used to carry out other functions like having conversations with people as a salesperson, helping navigate a page, and performing certain tasks like billing, cart management operations, and acquaintance towards the offers designed by the brand. The strategy of 3D product visualization is being deployed by businesses to help customers choose products easily from a variety even in the virtual space and spend money only after having gone through the other features of the products like material, texture, design from every angle, size and fit and also its pair with other products or surroundings. This eliminates the risk and reduces the loss of product returns for the brands and also helps build a digital foundation to participate and be a front runner in the race of digitalization.
It is necessary for the selling models adopted by companies to be revisited and remodeled every now and then to avoid a slump in the business. With technology swaying businesses to the cadence of ‘irresistible compulsion’, adopting various AI-driven tactics helps save the businesses from having a ‘mea culpa’ moment when the performance goes under review.
Buying items virtually comes with various offerings. Apart from the shopping, the focus also gets shifted to the ‘entertainment factor’ this experience has to provide to the users. With digitally beautiful spaces, product demonstrations in real-time surroundings and the charm of 2c’s of comfort and convenience that enables people to stay connected to the ‘essential factor’ of certain items at any time of the day from any location highlights the fact that the use of technology has become a need and has been segregated from the approach of ‘this can be done’ a long time back.
Availing all the AI-driven facilities being presented brings a huge moment of relief amongst the buyers putting a big cross across the feeling of uncertainty that usually used to come with shopping in the virtual realm. With a prominent effect on the quality of these services, the processes in retail are now followed with the tag of authenticity to assure people of an experience similar to the in-store shopping splurge if not better.
Strategies to deploy for a compelling virtual retail experience
Virtual assistance in the form of chatbots or avatars helps make the virtual shopping experience less complicated by understanding user preferences. Intelligence-powered AI chatbots help in a significant cross-sell process and support customers in real-time. Virtual avatars can mimic the human sales brain to provide purchase advice, recommend and demonstrate products to consumers. With the ability to hold various personalities and mould according to the brand and the job function, virtual avatars have the power to remove the blindfold customers have while shopping online to make product discovery quick and seamless.
It has been observed that more than 80% of the customers will spend more time on videos as compared to still images. An Avatar narrator can be used to narrate everything the brand has to convey to its customers or potential clients in a captivating way. This avatar sans the intelligence that separates it from the virtual avatar talks to people on behalf of the brand, and gives them a chance to get to know about the services of the business seamlessly rather than having to read everything from the website. As a display in motion on any platform is compelling and generates more traffic, these avatars will keep the customers glued to the screen, increasing the presence of the brand in the market.
A product configurator is a platform that provides an interactive product configuration process to choose products in a customized environment. For example, if it is a furniture store, choosing different elements of a sofa like the style and design, colour, frame material, cushions to go with it to configure the living room of your dreams becomes possible. This helps tailor products according to user preferences. This gives customers the freedom of choice even on digital platforms that do not require them to settle with the available options. This allows the customers to get their desired items in less amount of time without the production mess of going back and forth while contemplating the picture the customer has in mind for the product.
A 3D Visualizer creates a high-resolution rendering of products that covers features in real-time. This photo-realistic aspect of products while shopping in the virtual world helps bring the precision of buying in a brick and mortar store at the fingertips. This strategy bridges the gap between the reality of the product in the picture and the product at hand.
AR helps provide a preview of the products to the buyers in the surroundings they are in before investing in the item whereas VR helps develop a virtual showroom with a picturesque environment providing a different experience altogether. The use of extended reality (XR) that includes a palette of experiences that virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality have to provide will lead to immense growth in the digital world of retail and become the new normal in the years to come.
DaveAI has been providing various AI-based strategies to brands in various industries and the list includes prominent names like Merino Laminates, Maruti Suzuki, The Royal Furniture, etc. Choose relevant components from the tech stack for your business, join this list and be future-ready with DaveAI.
Advantages of virtual retail
The benefits virtual retail has to gift brands through a phenomenal customer experience are immense. Some of them are:
1. Satisfy the customers with services by obliging to the kind of experience they have in mind.
2. Create an Omnichannel experience for the consumers.
3. Strengthen customer relationships by building a presence on people’s most loved and used platforms.
4. Boost the average order value with an increase in engagement.
5. Turn shoppers into lifetime clients by gaining customer loyalty.
By eliminating the need for people to walk into the showroom, virtual retail approaches the process of sales by implementing a consumer outreach strategy digitally. Retailers can now enrich the qualities of their online retail spaces and generate a retail landscape of tomorrow that delivers the coveted aspects of the physical store at any time and location to the customers with the help of AI-powered strategies, sending across a message that the business is here to act and not just listen.
Book a demo with DaveAI to explore what AI can do for you in the retail space.