Virtual showrooms: the sales tool to boost business?
11 January 2021
Linking sales & presentation support, and interactivity is now possible with virtual showrooms!
Born from the meeting of the physical and the digital, they are THE solution when viewing products at the physical sales’ point is impossible or limited.
Whether it is during or after the lockdown, most frontiers stay closed, evening events are still forbidden, while the gathering of people in one and only place is clearly forbidden under penalties.
This observation pushes brands to try new communication format in the e-commerce era. Today, the new challenge of companies is to capitalize on this success in order to offer more and more contents: user oriented &/Or user experience oriented.
What is a virtual showroom?
Created from a 360-video capture or from the entire 3D modelization of the place, a virtual showroom is the virtualization of the shop. It is mostly available as desktop or VR application, or as a website.
As opposed as the 3D, the 2D environment provides a limited global experience and cannot give enough insurance for the decision making. More than just a simple presentation video and a 2D environment, showrooms open the doors of a real immersion for the visitor and makes him ready to interact and project himself with the product. The showroom re-enchants the customer journey by acting like a decisive vector to expose not only products, but also the history and heritage of the brand through a story.
What are the available features?
Beyond the playful aspect of this tool, the virtual showroom presents the offer through different ways than a classic website by offering a navigation process that is different but intuitive with some similar features. These showrooms are created depending on the brand, so each showroom is unique and adapted to each company’s needs. Nonetheless, it is possible to make a non-exhaustive list of general features for a virtual showroom.
An advanced and precise visualization
Customers can take a close look at the products in 3D, as it offers the opportunity to view each product from different perspectives. In virtual reality, users are evolving in a scale 1 environment, where the dimensions and volumes will be faithfully reconstituted. This direct interaction in the first person allows the users to better project himself with the product and so to promote/favor the conversion rate!
A purchasing module
The fact of being linked to the ERP of the company allows a real-time overview of stocks and prices. During the navigation in the virtual environment, the user has access to the product data sheet and can add any item to his basket. Thanks to this, it is easier to purchase and convert.
An instant support
If the customers had questions or if they needed advice on products they are interested in, a contextual window « Ask for Information » can be added. This window will allow them to directly contact the shop staff. This kind of support can be vocal (by phone), video or via chat. It accelerates the sales process.
A Product customization
If the showroom has been modeled in 3D, it can be interesting to go further in the experience by integrating the user’s preferences and potential prospects. The engagement will only be boosted.
An analysis of the purchasing behavior
Integrates an analysis module following the behavior and demographic data of the customer is an optimization method used to maximize the brand performances. It will help the brands to know about the most consulted products, how much time is spent on each product, understand the traffic in the showroom, etc.
Why adopt this concept?
Whether it is for the automotive sector, architecture, tourism, culture, design, fashion and so on, this solution solve problems encounter in real life. Indeed, universes virtually created do not imply the same space-time constraints than the real world. 3D technology is that frees us from the rules we have become used to.
An instant support
More than just impregnates the products and the environment realism, it is also an opportunity to attractively represent products with merchandising and brand’s colors. Like this, they stay in harmony with each brand’s universe. So, there is a certain freedom degree in the showroom creation.
A break of spatial and geographical barriers
In the virtual world, inviting customers from all over the world and at the same time – being available anytime, anywhere, and on every device connected to Internet – can really help to dynamize the company activity.
Logistical and temporal limits are a thing of the past.
Virtual showrooms are a whole solution allowing to get free from the transport of huge/voluminous products in small spaces. (in a store or during trade show) Less logistical problems, and a gain of time!
Decrease of the carbon footprint
As everything is modelized in 3D, the company achieve a reduction of its carbon footprint by minimizing the production of its product. To do so, each product is only produced when necessary (for a purchase for example). Moreover, it prevents customers from having to travel with energy-intensive means of transport and thus enjoy the comfort of a convincing experience at their fingertips.
A better mental print
The user will become a real actor through the communication tools, which will only strengthen its attachment to the brand or products. Associated to the VR, a virtual showroom is more convincing than other sales tools (more classic) by captivating the customer’s senses that lead the way to a real immersion feeling.
Example of virtual showrooms
In 2016, for the Single Day occasion, China’s largest annual online shopping event, the giant Alibaba created a virtual reality showroom. Equipped with a headset (or a cardboard, but the experience is quickly limited), customers could pick up items to examine them in 3D, read prices or product descriptions and make purchases in the blink of an eye.
BoConcept, the Danish-based luxury furniture retailer, offered a 360° showroom in the context of the pandemic & lockdown. All of their products are marked with a yellow sticker that allows you to find out more about them. It is also possible to personalize the products and contact the in-store teams and interior designers at any time.
#3 Nina Ricci Parfums
Another specific showroom which does not need any video capture, or complete 3D modelization of the environment: a virtual showroom made on Animal Crossing! In December 2020, Nina Ricci Parfums decided to surf on the waves of the new phenomenal game Animal crossing, in order to invite new gamers on an island and in a shop charted with brand’s identity in which they presented their most iconic pieces.
#4 Fabrice Ausset
At Light & Shadows, we also made our contribution and developed a virtual showroom for the designer Fabrice Ausset. This showroom was created to solve the logistical problems that the brand might encounter during its presence at a trade show in New York. Like this, the designer only had to transport its tablet or desktop to presents its furniture.
How did the pandemic act as a driver for technological adaptation?
The context of the global pandemic has brutally shaped our lives in a new way. Day after day, a new routine has taken hold of our habits and has led to new consumption and purchasing behaviors. Indeed, if before COVID-19 we used the Internet as an essential tool for working and shopping. Today, the Internet is now a necessary tool for any activity: teleworking, shopping, content consumption and socializing. As a result, the virus has made a major contribution to the development of digital tools and the intensification of the use of technology to prepare the future society which will, without doubt, be virtual.
Virtualization of the workplace
The outbreak of the pandemic has been a stress test for companies around the world. Small, medium, and large companies were forced to close their doors while employees were driven back home. One thing is certain, this pandemic challenged companies on their adaptability and their resilience. Long awaited, teleworking and virtual collaboration became a reality in just a few days and on a large scale.
Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype and many other services have seen their use exploded during lockdown by allowing employees to keep in touch with each other. For example, some healthcare professions have been able to continue their activity by conducting teleconsultation to diagnose patients.
But in sectors where simple videoconferencing is no longer enough, VR will be able to remedy this. Multiple platforms have flourished to accommodate users such as MeetinVR, Rumii or Spatial. Immersing the user in a virtual space, they have the ability to give the impression of being physically close to each other: avatar, almost “natural” gestures etc. All of them have functionalities dedicated to desktop tools and collaboration in order to organize advanced and interactive meetings in the best conditions.