Top Trends in Virtual Store Design & Creation

With so many technological advancements in e-commerce and virtual shopping, today’s consumers are no longer impressed by plain-looking websites with basic functionalities. As the metaverse evolves, the phygital world is becoming more of a reality every day. As a result, consumers are seeking immersive virtual store designs that bring their online shopping experiences as close to real-life as possible.

Augmented Reality Enhancements

Augmented reality is changing the face of e-commerce, making it possible for brands to offer completely immersive virtual experiences for customers. There are several ways for brands to use AR to help customers make purchase decisions and increase product interaction and engagement. 

Augmented reality enhancements have made the most significant waves in the fashion and home décor industries by allowing customers to get a realistic view of the items and products they’re interested in without having to see them in person. 

AR goes beyond providing a 3D view of a product – today’s AR experiences allow users to see exactly how something would look if they were actually wearing it or adding it to their home. AR is the first step between connecting a physical store with the virtual world and vice-versa, allowing brands in every industry to connect with customers in unique and innovative ways. 

While big brands have already started to build virtual showrooms and other immersive experiences that utilize this technology, it’s not just for the big players anymore. AR is a critical design tool that’s raising the standard for small and mid-market businesses as well as social media platforms.

Creating an Immersive Experience

The most significant trend in designing virtual stores today is making it all about the product and the brand and truly immersing customers in the experience. The goal of an immersive virtual retail experience is to allow customers to interact with your products. Many of today’s online retailers use interactive displays to achieve this. For instance, Yves Saint Laurent’s Virtual Beauty Zone allows customers to explore products in a stunning virtual showroom where users can interact with their surroundings to learn more about the company and its products. 

Virtual reality is a technology that is taking shape in many retail shops to make it easy for customers to make purchasing decisions on items. For instance, Vida Glow’s virtual store is designed with eye-catching color schemes in a salon setting where an AI virtual skin assessment is offered to help customers choose the best products. As visitors explore the store’s products, they can scan their faces to identify skin health and aging concerns and receive a personalized beauty routine along with a 20 percent discount for shopping.

Aligning your Store Design with the products 

Virtual stores are about much more than selling products these days. They also serve as ideal platforms to showcase a brand’s expertise through videos, blogs, and other information. One of the top trends for aligning your store design with your products is to  embed video tutorials and how-to videos in different spots throughout the store or showroom, showcasing  how customers can use the products. The goal is to make your virtual store more immersive than a product listing. Brands should focus on creating an immersive hub that keeps visitors engaged and interested. 

Part of an effective digital marketing strategy is highlighting the best-selling products with the interior of the virtual store itself. . A glowing example of how to align store design with products  is the NARS USA virtual store. As soon as you enter the site, it’s easy to see how the store is all about the light-reflecting foundation, from the fly-in to the reflective surfaces and every single activation in the store. 

Lancome’s Renergie store is another good example of store design and product alignment. As visitors walk through the beautifully designed showroom, they can explore the brand’s product through immersive quizzes and tutorials that are displayed throughout. The central element of it all being the Renergie Serum.

Non-Traditional Layouts

A website layout helps structure and organize your site’s information functionally and attractively. Many businesses rely on e-commerce platforms like Shopify for simple, standard design templates that follow singular-column layouts or F-layouts. However, while these templates are easy to set up and navigate, they have become so common that the element of surprise is totally lacking for users. 

Bold and unconventional layouts create an element of surprise and add some excitement to the virtual shopping experience. Today’s trending brands use non-traditional layouts to communicate with their target audiences, directing their customer’s attention to their main selling points. 

Many of today’s hottest brands are focused on creating  virtual stores with immersive and engaging experiences. The goal is to provide consumers with many of the same benefits that shopping in the physical world offers. Many brands are setting up virtual stores in the metaverse, where everything is designed to merge the real world with the virtual one. In the metaverse, customers can meet with friends, watch live demonstrations, or speak with sales associates. They can try on clothing, find the perfect makeup shades, or see how décor items would look in their homes. In most cases, the results are higher retention, increased conversion rates, and longer user engagement.

Increased Personalization

Today’s consumers are all about personalization. Implementing personalized experiences in marketing efforts and on websites allows customers to personalize their preferences and receive content, products, services, and more that meet their preferences. 

Increased personalization strongly affects revenue, especially as brands learn to harness and leverage more data. AI-powered personalization allows brands to create such relevant experiences for customers that they feel tailor-made. 

When brands  are laser-focused on design  in their virtual stores, they can provide the ultimate level of personalization to consumers, offering a customized experience that allows them to shop much like they would in real life.

With the metaverse on the rise, many new things are happening in the world of e-commerce. Technology is evolving faster than people at this point, and e-commerce is bringing the two together in a phygital world that was once a thing of dreams. It’s never too late for brands to get in on the trends, learn something new, and incorporate them into their virtual stores. Today’s consumers are now in the technological driver’s seat, and it’s up to businesses and brands to keep up with the trends and customize the road ahead for them. 

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