Virtual Reality Trends in Ecommerce

Mike DeFabis
Outside of the IDS Fulfillment Center

It’s getting pretty clear by now that ecommerce is a constantly changing industry and those who wish to get ahead in the market need to stay ahead of all current trends. A huge problem in the industry is cart abandonment before completing a purchase; around 77% of customers leave their items in the cart without checking out. So, retailers need to do more to combat this trend and get customers excited about following through with their online purchases. Virtual Reality (VR) is an up-and-coming technology that can help fight back. VR has the potential to reshape retail as we know it and can greatly increase the value in customer experience. So, how can ecommerce break into this developing and increasingly popular technology? We first need to understand what these technologies are able to offer as a service and what exactly they have to offer.

Customers can Visualize Products in a VR Setting

By giving customers the opportunity to visualize how a product will look before making a purchase, you give them the “try before you buy” sensation that many companies set to tap into. This can be done through VR’s sister technology, Augmented Reality (AR). Essentially, the viewer sees a video of reality and only a few computer-generated images overlaid. For example, a customer can put on a headset and see the room they were in. AR allows products to be overlaid on top of this view (the VR effect). This gives them the opportunity to see the item they want to purchase in a real-life setting, providing a better visualization than going into a store or blindly buying online.

Exploring Virtual ShowRooms

In an attempt to add a new level to the online shopping experience, retailers can build virtual showrooms or virtual stores. This offers customers a virtual experience that is as close to physically going to a store as one can get from the comfort of their own homes. Lowe’s has been one of the major players to utilize this technology through Lowe’s Holoroom. This allows customers to visualize a home improvement project in a virtual setting to achieve the ideal result. This immersive experience allows them to become spatially aware of how various products can work as one. The general idea is that consumers can get a more immersive shopping experience that the simple online option.

All ecommerce companies have one over-arching goal: to get customers to their stores. Whether it’s in a physical or online sense, using VR technologies will be more and more useful in attainting this goal. They allow shoppers to throw themselves deeper into the shopping experience and give them a new “attraction” to visit through online and physical stores. Both retailers and ecommerce companies need to ensure that they are in a solid position to incorporate these technologies into their customer service offerings.




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