The metaverse was once considered science fiction, but it’s becoming more of a reality every day. The internet has taken over, simplifying all aspects of life and making everything a person could want available at the touch of a button. Time and money are valued now more than ever before, which is why consumers have started to do most of their shopping online. As more and more retailers create virtual stores, the competition between brands has become fierce, and it’s all about user experience.
While the e-commerce topic of the day is focused on creating user-friendly sites, many retail owners still fail to grasp the concept altogether. If you’re an online merchant trying to create loyal customers, you’ll want to ensure that your virtual store is equipped with these five essential user-friendly features:
- Gamification and engagement features
- Ability to measure/ track data and results
- Integration into interactive platforms
- High-quality media
Read on to learn more about each and why they’re critical components that every virtual store needs to enhance user experience.
Gamification & Engagement Features
Using gamification in the online retail experience isn’t a new idea – back in 2015, 87% of retailers were already planning to use gamification to engage their customers within five years. Fast-forward to 2022, AR, VR, and XR are taking gamification in virtual retail stores to a whole new level of engagement.
Once you’ve led your customers into the virtual store, they need to stay engaged, immersed, and entertained. It’s all about the experience. There are several ways to make sure your customer will spend time in the virtual store and practices to make sure they make a purchase, like gamification, virtual try-ons, live shopping, and shopping with influencers.
Turning an online shopping experience into a game works because people are naturally competitive and can be motivated easily by experiences that play off that competitive nature. Virtual retailers are playing off this desire for achievement, status, and competition using various stimuli, including:
- Progress bars
- Virtual environments
- In-game currency
By employing carefully-planned product strategies and scenarios using AR and VR, businesses can – and should —incorporate game mechanics to encourage desirable behaviors, improve brand and product loyalty, increase user engagement, and build valuable, long-lasting relationships with their target audiences.
Track/ Measure Data and Results
From communicating to shopping, mobile searches make up over 50 billion of Google’s monthly search queries. Moreover, nearly half of all online transactions are made on mobile devices. With so much traffic, every virtual store needs features that help the business collect and measure data and results. Studying important metrics is the only way to gain such rich information about customer behavior, the store’s e-commerce features, and what is (and isn’t) working.
Gathering and analyzing the right metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs), data, and results is essential for the success of your business. Some of the most popular metrics and KPIs for online businesses to track include:
- Average time spent on your site or landing page
- Traffic (including new and returning visitors)
- Site speed
- Bounce rate
- Click-through and conversion rates
- Pay per-click rates
- Number of page views
These metrics fall into three general categories: e-commerce data, marketing success factors, and KPIs for the business owner. From understanding the customer journey and rolling out digital marketing campaigns to building a scalable business plan and pitching to investors, having features in place to help track and measure data and results will help keep your virtual store on the right path.
Integration into Interactive Platforms
The current boom in the adoption of VR and AR technologies seems like the dawn of the Metaverse, and brands need to be ready. The Phygital Metaverse is already disrupting many markets. But it is still in its initial stages – the perfect time to find the right platform to create the best virtual experiences keeping in mind not only the visual and engaging aspects of the future virtual creations, but their scalability, conversion rates, and data.
Your eCommerce venues are where the most consumer traffic will be concentrated, however, to increase engagement with your end-users, you also need to think about natural extensions through virtual 3D spaces and apps. There are several platforms that help you do that. Meet your end-users in different forms – web through mobile, AR experiences, VR headset integrations, and more. It will increase your touch point numbers and bring unique brand awareness.
When choosing the platform to build your virtual store in make sure it incorporates plugins that allow creating virtual try-ons, live shopping, avatars, and more. The same virtual store can be quickly modified to fit 3D web, 3D free, Decentraland, Roblox, and Meta VR which makes ByondXR the ultimate platform when seeking entry into the metaverse(s).
Product images greatly influence how customers shop for your products. When you run a virtual store, the only way to showcase your products is through pictures and video. The higher the quality, the better your chances of persuading customers to purchase the item. People want to get as up close and personal as they can and see every detail before they buy something, so in addition to providing high-definition photos and videos, it’s helpful to have 3-D images where customers can rotate products and see them from every angle. Visually pleasing photorealistic assets and 3D spaces increase engagement, brand familiarity and lead to bigger sales.
However, one thing to be aware of is that the images and videos you use don’t delay the load time of your page. As stated earlier, long page load time is the number-one reason for consumer drop-off in virtual stores.
You also need to be careful not to enhance or exaggerate images. While it may make for a more enticing presentation, when customers receive the actual product and it doesn’t look exactly like the product they saw online, negative reviews will start rolling in, and you’ll lose customers for sure.
The Future of Retail is Virtual
Once you’ve created your perfect virtual store and received your incredible analytics, it’s time to take things to a new level and scale your store to new markets with new audiences and new sales channels. E-commerce retail platforms are the way to go when it comes to fast, scalable and quality-driven virtual experiences.
E-commerce is the future of retail, and virtual stores are the present trend. With more advanced technology rolling out daily, the retail industry is undergoing a major transformation. When you have poured your heart and soul into your business, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than watching it come crashing down due to a few missteps that could have been avoided. Help your customers sail through your virtual shopping experience and return for more by following the five tips above.
To sum it up, The Phygital Metaverse is already disrupting many markets. But it is still in its initial stages – the perfect time to find the right platform to create the best virtual experiences keeping in mind not only the visual and engaging aspects of the future virtual creations, but their scalability, conversion rates, and data. The current boom in the adoption of VR and AR technologies seems like the dawn of the Metaverse, and brands need to be ready.