Virtual shopping is the intermediate between physical and online shopping. With the retail industry facing many challenges because of the pandemic and with the transition to a more digitally-reliant era, brands and businesses are trying to innovate new ways of providing retail experiences to their customers. With the pandemic affecting our visits to physical stores, and because of the lack of personal shopping experience that e-commerce websites provide, retail enterprises are adopting a new experience known as virtual shopping. It brings human connection to online shopping experiences. The retail representative can connect to online customers through video, chat or text. Through this live experience, they can get real-time recommendations for products, enquire regarding their purchase or any other assistance they might require, the same way they receive it as in a physical store, except that this happens virtually.
Virtual shopping gives the full experience of a physical store and makes it digital, which can be experienced from the comfort of anyone’s home. Virtual shopping gives customers the option to understand the retail experience of a physical store before they visit it, saving their time. It gives customers the ability to recreate the shopping experience at their home and interact with products and retail representatives in real time. With the ability of virtual shopping in providing instant assistance to customers by the touch of a button, customers do not have to wait for service like they do in a physical store. Virtual shopping can not only be incorporated for fashion and lifestyle products, but to all industries. Some ways in which brands can incorporate virtual shopping is through virtual reality and artificial intelligence. In other cases, brands can design their own physical store in a 3D format that can be accessed through a mobile app. Through various UI UX interfaces, customers will be able to interact with sales associates instantly and video call them to see the live product in the store.
Virtual shopping enhances the retail experience that one enjoys during online shopping. This allows for brands to come up with their own personalised ways of enabling virtual shopping experiences that reflect their brand aesthetics, giving them the opportunity to exhibit personality which can work in their favour with regard to unique customer experience and individuality. A unique virtual shopping experience enables people to spread the word about the business and their retail through word of mouth helping them grow in their business. With the imposition of lockdown in many parts of the world and because of restrictions with regard to the visit of physical stores because of the pandemic, retail enterprises are adopting virtual shopping to attract customers and to provide them with a personalised retail experience that in many ways is an enhanced alternative to physical shopping. JD Institute’s Diploma in Fashion and Lifestyle Entrepreneurship supports students to come up with new ways of retail experiences, understanding customer demands and ways in which it can be enhanced.