Shopping is a highly personalized, and an increasingly high tech experience. However for many retailers, the link between in-store shopping and online shopping remains weak. The struggle is to balance a holistic, integrated experience against a channel and contextually appropriate experience.
As consumers, we shop to be around other people and to make purchases we don’t want to wait to be delivered. There is a social element to spending time with family or friends browsing shops. We can ask for opinions on the items we are interested in purchasing and feel validated. “Shopping is gratification. It’s validation. It’s an immensely and intensely social experience,” says Punit Soni, chief product officer at the Indian online retail giant Flipkart.
Unfortunately, shopping online so far has been anything but like shopping in-store. In this instance we are separated from our purchase with a flat screen and then we must wait days to have the purchase delivered. While online shopping is ideal for some products, others we must look at in-person, feel and maybe even try on.
Retale, the digital coupon service with a fully immersive shopping experience, may be the solution. Features already integrated into their own app, and soon to be included in the Occulus Rift VR interface, give consumers the opportunity to feel like they are shopping in-store, while in the comfort of their own home. Their solution is designed to be the opposite of the impersonal environments found while shopping online.
According to Pat Dermody, president of Retale:
The advantage of the virtual experience is to encounter the products more deeply without ever leaving the comfort of your sofa. Being able to enter the environment and simulate the experience of seeing, touching and engaging with the product in 3D is an advantage over flat art or video.
Will this change the way we shop in the future? Will it be the successful bridge between in-store shopping and online purchasing? We’ll be watching this and keeping you informed.
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