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AI for eCommerce: Hitchhiker’s Guide to an Immersive Virtual Marketplace

Shopping – the bane and boon of sentient life forms across galaxies. In an unexpected shift of cosmic proportions, 37% of Earth’s Gen Z population now lean towards the virtual excitement of scrolling and clicking rather than the archaic rituals of mall meandering.

In the grand scheme of the omniverse, the warp speed race for brands is the creation of immersive virtual shopping experiences. This stellar convergence of AI, VR, and AR aims to transcend the ordinary, allowing your brand to leap across light-years and communicate in universal languages.

But is it the right choice for your brand, and what should you know about offering such immersive experiences? 

Here’s a guide to offering a unique immersive virtual marketplace for your brand’s shoppers.

What is an Immersive Virtual Marketplace?

In eCommerce, an immersive virtual marketplace is a platform where a brand can offer an immersive shopping experience. Immersive shopping elevates the everyday shopping experience using smart technologies such as AI, VR, and AR to engage customers more as they shop in your online store.

Immersive shopping allows companies to hyper-personalize shopping experiences and add a unique twist to the brand story. Customers get a new, unique, and exciting way to visualize services and products in action, leading to faster sales.

For instance, brands selling furniture can use AI to suggest furniture choices for a customer based on their space. They use AR to show the customer how the furniture will look by overlaying the selected furniture over their physical environment.

The CottonWorks Virtual Showroom is a virtual space that inspires and educates the fashion industry
The CottonWorks Virtual Showroom is a virtual space that inspires and educates the fashion industry

Technologies that Help Deliver an Immersive Virtual Shopping Experience

Three main technologies work together to deliver an immersive shopping experience. Your brand can choose its unique combination to provide an exciting customer experience based on the products you sell. These technologies include the following:

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality transports customers to a different virtual environment to offer a fully immersive experience. Brands often use VR to showcase their products in a unique setting that can be hard to achieve in a physical store. 

They can also use VR to give customers a virtual tour of the store or product and have the customers virtually try them on in a 360-degree environment.

VR is the premise of our virtual stores, which big brands such as Cotton Incorporated have used to transform their online shopping experiences. Mitsubishi, for instance, uses VR and our technology to offer 3D showrooms where customers can virtually interact with their products and get a unique experience shopping online in their stores.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is crucial for personalizing shopping experiences in immersive virtual marketplaces. AI quickly analyzes customer data and gives personalized offers and product recommendations based on the data’s insight.

For instance, a tech brand can suggest accessories for a shopper based on previous products they’ve bought or the most frequent search terms they use when shopping online. 

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality overlays virtual objects into the real world. It’s an essential piece of technology used by brands selling home items such as art and deco, which the shopper needs to visualize in their space to get a hint of how they’ll fit in.

When paired with VR, AR can further improve the engagement of in-store shopping experiences for shoppers.

How Immersive Shopping Experiences Using AI Benefit the Customer and Your Brand

Immersive experiences using AI are gaining rapid popularity among retail brands for the following reasons:

Deeper Emotional Connection Between Consumers and the Brand

Immersion helps create a deeper emotional connection between consumers and a retail brand, bolstering customer loyalty. Immersive experiences tap into customers’ emotions, making your brand stand out from other retailers.

Bigger Customer Attraction

Research shows that 78% of consumers find virtual showroom experiences appealing. Immersive virtual marketplaces create a buzz and excitement around a brand that retailers can use to create growth opportunities. 

Increased Shopping Efficiency

AI in immersive shopping experiences considerably simplifies the search for shoppers through intelligent product recommendations. This technology can further aid customers in making faster, better-informed shopping decisions, thus reducing the time spent searching for unsuitable items.

Not to mention, the virtual shopping realm powered by AI has far fewer physical constraints than traditional stores, marking an important step towards sustainability. So, in addition to boosting sales and elevating customer engagement, AI in immersive shopping is also a significant contributor to our greener future.

Greater Product Confidence

Consumers can only spend their money on a product if they’re assured it’s the right fit. Data shows that 73% of customers have more confidence in a product they’ve interacted with through immersive shopping.

AI and immersive shopping help customers virtually and accurately identify the correct size, color, and other essential parameters of a product they want to buy.

Better Engagement for the Omnichannel Shopper

Online retail shopping and in-store shopping are jointly gaining traction among consumers. According to data, these omnichannel shoppers make up 75% of buyers in retail markets. 

AI and immersive shopping experiences allow brands to effectively engage these customers and drive conversions, brand loyalty, and sales.

Fewer Returns

Immersive shopping plays a crucial role in reducing the strain on the supply chain by reducing the rate of product returns among shoppers. Traditional eCommerce suffers a high rate of return because shoppers can’t try out products before buying them.

Immersive shopping bridges this gap by giving shoppers a chance to try on products virtually and be confident it’s what they’re looking for, saving retailers a lot of expenses in processing returns.

Helena Rubinstein’s Power HUB Power by ByondXR.
Imagine your store in a new way, opening your brand up to a new dimension of commerce.

The Future of AI and Immersive Shopping Experiences

In the hitchhiker’s journey to the future of shopping, we’ve picked up a new travel companion – Artificial Intelligence (AI). Just like Marvin, the Paranoid Android, but without the gloom. Teaming up with virtual reality, augmented reality, and more, AI is your guide to the retail metaverse, an immersive realm where shopping becomes an experience that rivals a stroll in the Milliways.

In this near future, our shopping experiences are as tangible as a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. AI, our unfaltering helmsman, guides us through virtual storefronts that are as welcoming as your favorite childhood shop. Picture yourself sauntering through virtual aisles as a Virtual Try-On mirrors your every move, guided by AI-powered assistants who know your style better than you do. It’s retail, but not as we know it.

And as we leap into this brave new metaverse, remember, shopping isn’t just about hitting ‘Add to Cart’. It’s about the journey, the exploration. In this vibrant, game-like environment, we aren’t just shopping – we’re embarking on retail adventures. So buckle up, fellow hitchhikers, our next stop is the retail metaverse!

Identifying the Essential Questions of Retail, The Metaverse, and Everything

In this vast and often confusing retail universe, immersive shopping experiences, powered by AI and spatial virtual marketplaces, are quickly becoming the new standard. They offer personalized, engaging, and downright enjoyable shopping experiences that customers around the galaxy are beginning to expect.

So, hitch a ride with us into the exciting new dimensions of virtual experiences. Our team of professional experience creators is ready to help your brand navigate the twists and turns of this retail revolution. After all, ‘Don’t Panic’, it’s only the future of shopping!