Why shopping within VR is the future of retail
Online shopping has transformed the world since Amazon was founded as Cadabra less than a quarter of a century ago. Think about it. Picture an object, the most obscure thing you can think of, and type it into the search bar of any version of Amazon. The chances are that it will be there.
The statistics speak for themselves. According to Canadian e-commerce company Shopify(1) , retail ecommerce sales around the world rose from $1.3 trillion per year to $2.8 trillion between 2014 and 2018. The company predicts that this will have risen to $4.9 trillion by 2021.
At the center of all this is the aforementioned Amazon. Its success since 1994 saw it become, at the end of 2018, only the second American company to have a market value of over a trillion dollars(2) . CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, has overtaken Bill Gates as the world’s richest person(3) . Its brand awareness is also universal, being the third-most recognized(4) in the world after Apple and Google.
This shift in how people shop is less than a change to a different product, but an evolution in habits. We see it as a move from classical shopping – done in person at a retail store – to online shopping – done by tablet, mobile, or computer with an internet-based retailer.
What is shopping in VR?
The next step in this, we think, will be shopping within Virtual Reality (VR). This is a form of purchasing goods that combines the best of classical and online shopping, but with the added benefits that come from the capabilities and potential of VR.
When users shop within a VR experience, they put on a headset and can travel around computer-generated outlets, by themselves or with friends and strangers, and make purchases that are then delivered later to their homes. It is a reality experience that replicates classical shopping, but with the technological edge of shopping online. Separate from video gaming, we call these ‘experiences’ because of their broader nature.
Three ways where VR shopping has the edge
This compares favorably to classical and online shopping in a couple of areas:
- Choice of products: In classical shopping, there is a limited number of products, while its online counterpart has an almost-unlimited number of shopping choices. This division between the two means that the former is best experienced as a leisure and social activity, while the latter is purely utilitarian. But when you shop in VR, you get the best of both worlds—the choice available online, but with the satisfied feeling of having taken part in a shopping trip.
- Best of both: The virtual world also offers a middle-of-the-ground solution to the stress of classical shopping and the loneliness of shopping through an online portal. As anyone who has experienced shopping on London’s Oxford Street(5) can attest, crowds are stressful. They are also full of people. But shopping online loses some of the frisson of excitement that comes with making a special outing to shop. With VR, you can decide whether to shop by yourself, in a group, or in a ‘shared space’ with strangers. These means that users can manage their stresses when it comes to shopping.
- The Most-Useful Shop Assistants: Perhaps the most-frustrating aspect of classical shopping is the presence of overly-intrusive shop assistants(6) , who try to ‘hard sell’ products. They can be a distraction and detract from the shopping. However, they can also be helpful, which is a problem in online shopping because there is a lack of help and advice in that sphere. With shopping in VR, though, users can choose whether or not to receive this guidance. As in real life, you can hold the virtual items in your hands, take a 360 degree look at them, and get an idea of how they look and feel. If an online shop does not have a 360 degree photo of the chosen item, it is often hard to estimate how the material really feels and looks. There is also the possibility to get special suggestions based on previous purchases.
It is a challenge for many people to find clothes that fit correctly. In the world of VR shopping, imagine being able to see what clothes and accessories would look like on you in the real world. This could be done by using your avatar, which can be customized to accurately reflect your real-world appearance.
Online shopping makes it easier and accessible for users to see how their purchases could be customized or created. An example of this could be when buying a new car, customers could use VR to assess how a certain shade of paint looks when applied to their potential vehicle.
How to shop with STARAMBA.Tokens
Shopping in VR also has a streamlined payment system through which you can use different payment methods (or in MATERIA.ONE with STARAMBA.Tokens (STT)). When paying in STT, there is no need to pay each item in every shop. You can finish your shopping experience and pay after you have everything you wanted – with one little click. Due to blockchain technology, the whole process will automatically take place with the different shops. To get an idea how this works, please take a look at our STARAMBA.Token.
Finally, as this article comes to a close, it is important to point out that shops with VR worlds such as MATERIA.ONE never close. So you can not only shop whenever you like, but you are also not beholden to the stresses of trying to complete your shopping trip before closing time.
Shopping within MATERIA.ONE
At Staramba, shopping in the virtual world is one of our primary foci. Not only will users will be able to browse and purchase online in MATERIA.ONE, but we also have exclusive shopping experiences such as Paris Hilton’s Villa. There, you can look at the world that Paris Hilton lives in and buy products and items that she recommends. The experience also gives you the chance to hang out with Hilton and take part in her fantastic life.
Shopping in VR has many advantages over classical and online shopping, while marrying the best of both. The coming years will see great developments in VR, starting with MATERIA.ONE, which will be available on all platforms, including HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. In order to take full advantage of this, now is the best time to get involved. Why not visit the MATERIA.ONE site today and start on your journey to VR shopping?
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