It’s not very long ago when online shopping and e-commerce stepped into the Indian scenario and took it by storm. Today, as I write this post, more than 100 million Indian consumers have already had an online shopping experience. It’s evident that the consumers in India have gradually comforted themselves with the new age shopping experiences, powered by the internet.
However, consumers in many countries around the world are now heading towards the next big thing – shopping in the virtual space.
‘Online Shopping Is Not Reliable!’
The main problem with the present form of online shopping is that you miss out on the experience of going to the store, picking up the items with your own hands, have the touch and the feel, and be 100% satisfied. These reasons are often cited by the critics of online shopping, justifying their apprehensions and insecurities.
Okay, while the touch and the feel still may not be possible, but with Virtual Reality, you can definitely step into the stores and pick your own items, all in a seemingly real way.
People around the world are already shopping through VR, but it’s still something very naive.
- Last year, the e-commerce giant Alibaba launched Buy+, a virtual reality shopping experience. This can be accessed via a virtual reality headset. You just have to plug in your VR headset, and you are all set to be virtually transported to a shopping mart, inspect the items on display, and add them to their cart just by staring at a product for long enough. According to reports, 30,000 people had already tried Buy+ within an hour of its launch.
- Big e-commerce companies like Amazon are now devising new ways, and are working on adding virtual reality to their platforms. This can be seen as an attempt to increase sales, as well not to loose the present customers to the competition offered by VR.
- In May 2016, Ikea asked their customers to design their own kitchens with an HTC Vive.
- Audi also used the HTC Vive to present cars in showrooms.
These are just a few of the precursors of what the future of shopping is going to look like.
It’s true that present form of Virtual Reality doesn’t completely replicate the in-person shopping experience, neither does provide the 100% satisfaction. But it’s getting there. It’s getting cheaper, more accessible, more efficient. One thing is clear, the future of shopping is going to be Virtual Reality. And we all should gear up for that.