As any lingerie business owner knows, you absolutely have to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to the wonderful world of e-commerce.
This is a sector which changes as quickly as the technology we use, which means that you could blink and miss something pretty huge. So, understanding what the future may hold for the industry is the best way forward.
With that in mind, we should answer the question: Is VR the future for e-commerce?
Well, it could be. Since the advent of virtual reality hardware, many marketers have been looking for ways to capitalize on this trend. Some of these incarnations have had some rather remarkable effects. They allow the user to see all dimensions of the product they plan to buy before they take the plunge. Still, is the tech really worth the time and hassle?
If you’re completely new to the idea, here’s what you must keep in mind.
What is virtual reality (VR)?
First of all, let’s get the burning question out of the way. What actually is VR? Well, it has other names… just to confuse you. You may also hear it referred to as computer simulated reality or even immersive multimedia.
The idea is that once a use slips on a headset, they see a completely computer generated world and are able to experience simulations in 3D. Needless to say, this tech has already been hijacked for the use of promoting films, products, and games. With the tech touted as being worth more than $4 Billion by 2018, you can certainly see which way things are going! It’s a little gimmicky, yes, but it certainly works.
There is, of course, a broad range of virtual reality headsets on the market right now. Perhaps one of the most famous to date is the Samsung Gear VR headset, which allows users to turn their smartphone into the gadget itself. In essence, that means that the world of VR is accessible to the everyday consumer.
How to use VR in e-commerce
That’s all very well and good, but how can you use VR in e-commerce? Well, it can actually be a rather genius marketing tool when you use it well. While many retailers already use video to attract customers, this latest technology takes things to a whole new level. The technology allows users to really experience products before getting them. For example, they could look at a piece of lingerie from every angle and even see how it would look on them with a little help from VR and a headset.
When it comes to the world of e-commerce, there’s an array of ways in which marketers may wish to use VR capabilities. While some could create a virtual store (one in which customers can walk around and find products), others may want to make 3D versions of their clothing for potential buyers to assess. The sky could very well be the limit here as, if you can imagine something, you can likely make it on a VR platform.
This type of technology could easily change the way in which consumers shop, which means that it’s something that we need to keep our eyes on as it becomes more and more popular. However, the very fact that the tech is new could also be its downfall. Right now, there’s not a whole lot of market research in the area and what there is doesn’t look promising just yet.
In fact, as few as 5% of North Americans have a VR headset right now, according to Small Biz Trends. That means that the industry and its popularity has a seriously long way to go should it be the breakout success that many expect. Despite its slow takeoff, there are a few major companies out there already taking advantage of the VR trend.
Which companies already use VR?
So, which companies are jumping on the figurative bandwagon when it comes to VR? Well, it may surprise you to learn that some of the major industry leaders have already developed platforms for this type of tech.
Here are just two retailers and how they are using virtual reality to sell their products to the world:
Believe it or not, River Island were seriously ahead of the game when it came to VR. All the way back in 2015, the brand launched a virtual reality promo as part of London Fashion Week. The film featured designer Jean-Pierre Braganza and was created using Google Cardboard. In short, it was the most basic, straightforward use of VR — an impressive film to capture the imagination of consumers.
As already mentioned, one option when it comes to VR is creating an entire store that consumers can walk around. Well, that’s just what Alibaba did last year. The virtual store allows customers to explore the store and find items that they might like to buy. They can also ‘pick up’ (zoom in) and take a closer look at anything that they may like. This allows customers to have a 3D look at any products on the site.
How can you use VR for your lingerie business?
If you’re ready to get on board with VR, you may well wonder how you can use it within your own lingerie business. Well, there are a lot of ways in which this latest tech could help boost your sales and impress your clientele. Here are just a handful of ideas you may wish to try for yourself in the future:
- Create a virtual mock-up of your store so that customers can ‘walk’ around it from the comfort of their own home
- Make 3D images of all your lingerie sets to allow customers to view them from all angles in VR
- Install a VR headset bar in your brick-and-mortar stores so that customers can use them to explore more lingerie variations than you have on display
- Develop a program that allows customers to ‘try on’ lingerie sets and see how they will suit their body shape with the help of VR
As you can see, there are almost endless options when it comes to this platform. It’s all about being creative and choosing the right way forward for your brand.
Of course, we’re very much in the early stages of VR and what it can do. Right now, it’s unclear just how big this medium will be and, indeed, whether it’s worth investing in as a form of marketing. Still, it’s certainly something to consider in the coming years, especially if you’re looking for a new way to entice customers.