How Virtual Tours + eCommerce Can Save Retail

Read about the benefits of having a 3D digital twin of your store.

I was recently inspired by the Daily Mail article about how John Lewis, one of the most well-known retailers in the UK, is using virtual tours combined with eCommerce to give visitors from around the world an amazing immersive visual shopping experience of their Christmas shop.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, foot traffic on main street is at a record low, making it very hard for retailers to attract the kind of traffic they are used to, especially during a critical season like the winter holidays. But, instead of trying to lure in shoppers simply by lowering prices or holding massive sales events, innovative companies from around the world are utilizing immersive 3D virtual tours with eCommerce to reinvent or improve the shopping experience.

Knowing how critical this upcoming season is to retailers, here are five ways virtual tours can help save retail:

  1. Transport people to your store instantly - At its most basic level, creating a virtual tour is a great way to transport people to your store so they can get a feel for the products you are offering in an environment that is warmer and more holistically integrated than most commerce sites that only show products on a white background. Using 3D, you can create immersive experiences that represent your brand, which goes on to build long-term value and loyalty for your business. Here’s a great example of the Happier Camper store in Los Angeles coming to life with a 3D virtual tour.

  2. Add ecommerce - By using virtual tours and adding eCommerce, people can continue to buy your products even if they can’t visit your store in person. A 3D digital twin, combined with eCommerce, like this Ferguson showroom in Chicago, is an excellent example of how the shopping experience is elevated with a virtual tour by tagging each product with details and a link to buy.

  3. Enhance storytelling - A virtual tour is not just a chance to let people experience your products in a more natural environment, you can actually enhance the storytelling behind the products by embedding images, audio, video, and text to tell a much richer story. An awesome example of this is by Humanscale, makers of beautiful furniture for your office.

  4. Attract an international audience - One of the best things about creating a virtual experience for your store is that you can attract people from all over the world. This means that you won’t be limited to the people who know you or who happen to see your store on the street. By combining your 3D model with modern digital marketing and social media, you can attract people from all over the world to shop in your virtual store. Here’s a Rockford store in Chile that is fully accessible to anyone with a browser from anywhere in the world.

  5. It’s easy to get started - The great thing about all of this?  It’s easy and free to get started. All you need is an iPhone or an iPad to create a virtual shopping experience for your store, like this shoppable Home Office, created completely with an iPhone. As a bonus, Matterport also integrates seamlessly with Google Street View to make the visit to your store seamless.

Creating a virtual tour combined with integrated eCommerce might just be the best way for retailers around the world to showcase products in new, exciting and immersive ways to a global audience who are eager to shop. With Matterport, it’s easier than ever because you can use a number of cameras, including the one on your iPhone, and our cloud platform to enhance and embed Mattertags that link to your products. The shoppable home office above took less than an hour to create and is now sharable on the web, in social media, and through email campaigns.

Start today for free with Matterport for iPhone.


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