Many retail experts believe that the debate surrounding retail and eCommerce has seen its end due to the pandemic. The discussion now should be about providing customers with a holistic shopping experience by bringing retail and eCommerce on a single platform.
However, bringing retail and eCommerce together is a challenging task that would take a lot of hard work and commitment from everyone in both industries. Closing the gap means providing customers with an experience they are used to while shopping from physical stores. It needs to be as personalized and authentic as possible. This is where virtual shopping comes into the picture.
The changes that the pandemic has brought to the fore have led to the development of tools and technologies that can help companies provide an online shopping experience to their customers that is as close to in-store shopping as possible. We will talk about the benefits and implementation of virtual shopping a little later. Let us first turn our thoughts to what virtual shopping stands for.
What is Virtual Shopping?
Simply put, virtual shopping is nothing but a set of tools and processes that work together to close the divide that exists between physical and online shopping. It is all about giving a more human touch to eCommerce shopping. Virtual shopping eventually leads to a multi-channel experience that transcends online and in-store boundaries.
A professional working for a brand can entertain communication from customers in video or text sitting at home, in-store, or any other place. With this virtual interaction, brands can answer the questions of customers, recommend the products as well as try products virtually. Brands can also use their in-store promoters to walk the customers through the entire product catalogue online.
Virtual shopping is doing a lot more than people initially thought it would. The pandemic and the resulting lockdown haven’t been kind to anyone. With the help of virtual shopping, many physical stores can turn their online customers into ones that visit their physical stores post lockdown for their shopping needs. In a way, it has helped stores secure their future in these uncertain times.
Benefits of virtual shopping
People that chose to go the virtual way are starting to see the benefits, especially when it comes to conversion. Many brands have seen conversion rates go up significantly in the last few months. And it’s all thanks to virtual shopping. Also, whatever shoppers are browsing on your online store is visible to you in real-time. You can use this opportunity to recommend products to them while they are shopping. These real-time online recommendations can make customers spend a lot more in your store than they initially intended. You can also use retail analytics solutions to use valuable information to increase your sales in the future.
Improve business performance
The location of your team doesn’t have to be a hindrance to your sales and business growth. Virtual shopping makes your team manage the sales no matter where they are. Virtual shopping platforms have helped report incredible sales numbers even during the lockdown. These stores have been able to provide their teams with the necessary tools to help them instil confidence in customers.
Provide a curated experience
As most stores are reopening with reduced staff, customers are looking for a selected and more organized shopping experience. Stores that are providing this curated experience are being rated quite highly by customers. Both customers and store associates are pretty happy with this new system and want it to continue in the future.
Virtual shopping implementation
Implementing a virtual shopping platform is not that difficult but varies depending on the eCommerce marketplace you are using for it. For instance, it is best to partner with a reputed virtual retail shopping solution provider. Such providers can help streamline end-to-end retail operation and sales management and offer data-driven insights and tools like a virtual sales assistant.