Virtual stores are the next frontier for powerful e-commerce that will drive sales and ROI for businesses investing in the metaverse and the future of the web, Web 3.0. But even with technology in its current state, virtual stores powered by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are showing exciting results.
According to research, the AR and VR market is expected to hit a global value of $95 billion by 2025. For businesses, virtual stores present a better way of selling products and services to customers, including marketing what your brand can do to solve their problems and fulfill their needs.
Here’s what you need to know about virtual stores and how they can boost your marketing and ROI.
What is a Virtual Store?
A virtual store is an e-commerce environment that uses connected technologies, specifically VR and AR, to bridge the gap between digital and in-store experiences. Therefore, unlike traditional e-commerce, shoppers get a personalized and interactive experience shopping, with AR and VR allowing them to interact with your products and other items in your virtual store in an almost life-like manner.
A virtual store, just like a traditional e-commerce store, can be accessed anywhere. This can be on a desktop, tablet, or an AR app on a smartphone. Therefore, customers can connect with your store in real time and get immediate answers and insights into how a piece of furniture might fit in their space or how they’d look wearing a particular dress.
Virtual stores also make it easier to give product recommendations and show a wider variety of options the customer can try before checking out.
This concept has been very successful, with data showing that 70% of online shoppers visiting a virtual store make at least one purchase.
The Benefits of Virtual Stores
Here are some of the top benefits of having a virtual store for your business.
Virtual stores are long-term value, one-time investments. Therefore, once you get your virtual store set up and running, you’ll need little resources to maintain and update everything.
As long as the virtual store is online, it will generate long-term value for your business.
They Support Other Marketing Initiatives
Virtual stores easily integrate with your current marketing efforts, providing a new endpoint to your marketing funnel. You can include the link to your virtual store in your email campaigns, social media marketing, and other forms of online advertising with no extra overhead.
Incorporating virtual stores in your marketing initiatives often leads to a wider reach, better effectiveness, and increased marketing ROI.
Virtual Stores Are Highly Shareable
Since they’re simply links, virtual stores are highly shareable, with the potential of being viral if shared on the right platforms. Therefore, they’re the perfect option for increasing brand exposure and ensuring your business reaches a wider audience with little advertising spend.
They Increase Conversions and Reduce Bounce Rates
Virtual stores are more engaging than standard e-commerce stores. Therefore, they help reduce your website’s bounce rate, meaning visitors are likelier to remain on your site and explore it. Higher engagement leads to higher conversion rates and more revenue for your business.
Virtual Stores Increase Customer Retention and Loyalty
Since they provide a unique and engaging customer experience, virtual stores are an excellent platform for building strong customer relationships. Strong customer relationships lead to better retention and loyalty, essential to boosting your business’s ROI.
Virtual Stores Streamline the Sales Process
Virtual stores offer direct information about your products or services, helping customers better understand your offering, which streamlines the sales process. If placed at the end of the marketing funnel, virtual stores make shopping and checking out much easier, increasing the likelihood of qualified leads converting and boosting sales for your business.
How You Can Boost Marketing and Increase ROI Using Virtual Stores
Here are a few strategies to boost marketing and increase your business’s ROI using virtual stores.
Engagement drives the most successful marketing campaigns. Boosting engagement makes your marketing campaigns relevant and easier to remember by your consumers.
By leveraging the superior engagement offered by virtual stores, you can drive more fun marketing content that engages your audience.
For instance, we partnered with Mastercard Israel to engage their customers with a virtual tour of Tel Aviv, showing them the unique experiences in the region and how Mastercard can offer them valuable benefits in shopping and enjoying their experience.
With this virtual 3D experience, customers better understood Mastercard Israel’s offerings, benefits, and value, making informed choices interacting with the brand.
Traditional marketing leading to standard e-commerce sites is bland. That’s because it lacks personalization that helps drive conversions and ROI.
Virtual stores allow you to personalize marketing content for each customer, leading them to specific sections of your virtual store that fit their needs and interests. This makes customers feel more connected to your brand thanks to the unique in-person experience.
Personalization using virtual stores can include setting up custom AR filters for each customer, the ability to shop in the virtual store with their friends, and one-on-one consultations with a virtual attendant in your virtual store.
Keep and Analyze Data
Keeping and analyzing data is the best way to understand your customer and offer unique virtual store shopping experiences. Data helps you understand what your customers interact with, where, and how they want their experience to be designed.
Therefore, you can improve targeting for your marketing, boosting sales and adding value to your e-commerce marketing strategy.
You can also use the transaction data in your virtual store to see which products the customers interact with most and what content they find most appealing to drive more traffic.
Combine Virtual Store Experiences with Social Media
Combining your social media marketing with virtual store experiences is a great way to drive attention toward your brand. Social media gives you the creative freedom to choose how you want to promote your stores, potentially using influencers and paid ads to drive more traffic.
In our partnership with Mastercard Israel, we used avatar influencers to engage the brand’s audience further and make them interested in what they’re offering, all in a 3D virtual environment.
You can link directly to your virtual store from your campaign’s social media posts or your social media profile’s bio to further drive traffic.
Find the Right Virtual Store Solution
Virtual stores are the future of e-commerce as we welcome the metaverse, Web 3.0, and new technologies that will revolutionize how the internet works and how people shop online.
Contact a virtual store expert today and learn how your business can tap into this unique opportunity to boost sales and ROI.