Consumers have strongly embraced online shopping in recent years, even for items traditionally purchased only in person, like cars and luxury goods. However, many retailers and brands have struggled to provide online shopping experiences that can meet consumers’ expectations. Fortunately, Adrien Zanelli’s firm, Retail VR, has risen to the challenge by creating innovative, immersive online retail merchandising solutions for everything from luxury products to household goods.
Getting Up Close to High Fashion
Retail VR’s fashion and accessories clients include Kenzo, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Sarah Paccini, and Sidas. When luxury fashion buyers couldn’t visit showrooms in Milan or flagship stores in Paris, Tokyo, or New York, Retail VR created digital twins with Matterport Pro2 3D cameras. The high-definition, 3D visuals provide buyers and specially invited guests an extremely realistic experience, as if they are standing right there, whether navigating from their home computer or by mobile phone.
Upon entering a Matterport digital twin, buyers can virtually walk around models donning high-end fashion. Captured in photorealistic still life, buyers exploring the showroom can view a garment’s lines from any angle and zoom in for closer inspection of a garment’s seams or a fabric’s texture.
“Buyers want first-class, immersive experiences,” says Adrien Zanelli, Co-Founder and Head of International Business Development for Retail VR. “Our virtual and augmented reality solutions provide shoppers the best of both online and in-person shopping. They like the time-savings as a practical matter, but also expect personalized engagement, novelty, and fun.”
For one luxury European fashion house, Retail VR recently created a 3D replica of the client’s elegant apparel showroom, using a Matterport digital twin for virtual tours guided synchronously by a live sales representative. As a Matterport Platform Partner with access to development tools like the Matterport 3D Showcase SDK, Retail VR was able to integrate the client’s product catalog along with layering on multimedia functions. This enabled sales representatives to click on Mattertags to see item specifications or show videos highlighting merchandise when clients show interest.
“In the past, buyers would need to travel to Europe from the U.S. or Asia to view the new collections and place orders. The digital twin solution is not only more convenient, but it also has an important environmental impact. We calculated that just one virtual showroom for Kenzo, for example, saved 1,200 tons of carbon emissions.” Zanelli says.
H2O at Home, a French maker of natural home care and cleaning products, finds Retail VR’s virtual showroom solution ideal for enabling its global sales team. Recently, the company moved its in-person new product launch exhibition for sales to an online event. Retail VR drove 3,000 visits to the company’s Matterport digital twin—with new products displayed in attractive, themed environments—in just two days.
Consumer Packaged Goods and Supermarket Solutions
For another client, multinational branded foods manufacturer Lactalis International, maker of Présidente camembert cheese, Retail VR’s Matterport-based virtual showroom increased traffic ten-fold.
Retail VR also helps with Lactalis’ product merchandising planning. A digital twin of grocery store shelving allows the company to realistically stage its product lineup for the category managers at large supermarket chains, who make decisions on exactly where and how many products are placed on the shelves at hundreds or thousands of store locations.
Food packaging measurements must be meticulously accounted for, so supermarkets can calculate exact fits for each row and column of product on a shelf. Matterport digital twins allow for showcasing enticing food packaging visuals while providing accurate packaging measurements, replacing sterile planogram diagrams with a more engaging, augmented reality alternative.
Using a patented process, Retail VR allows packaged goods customers like WD-40 to import their 2D .psa planogram files from merchandising software such as Spaceman, JDA, and Coheris. The company leverages automation to convert them into 3D objects, creating realistic shelving and gondola displays in the digital twins.
Retail VR’s virtual approach to retail staging helps Lactalis get faster buy-in from supermarkets for its proposed product assortment strategies—in other words, the range of product sizes and varieties that each supermarket will agree to stock. Assortment decisions can be complex and time-intensive, but
with Retail VR’s software and virtual twins, different options are generated instantly, saving days and even weeks of time.
“Retail assortment strategizing was previously so complicated that it required five meetings, with time in between to re-calculate all the variables. Now, with digital twins, multiple possibilities can be discussed and analyzed, then decisions made—all in one meeting,” says Zanelli.
For Nestlé, Retail VR similarly helps with virtual product merchandising, including point of sale signage and special display fixtures. “The digital twin provides an exciting way to showcase merchandising proposals on a huge screen for the CPG team’s in-person meetings with important supermarket chain managers. The solution makes a great impression for remote meetings as well. It sets a new, higher standard for retail staging,” Zanelli says.
Accelerated Market Research
Another important area for Retail VR is shopper studies, which analyze how shoppers behave in stores when faced with product choices on shelves. Conducting these studies is expensive when store environments have to be physically created. An aisle of shelves need to be filled with a sponsoring manufacturer’s product and competitive products to simulate a typical shelf appearance. The process gets even more complicated because alternative product arrangements also need to be studied.
Retail VR’s augmented reality alternative using digital twins, in comparison, can completely transform the approach to managing shopper studies, supporting easy, rapid changes to product arrangements on a virtual shelf. As a result, costs for the studies can decline from approximately US$50,000 to $10,000, and down to $5,000 for follow-on studies. “For our packaged goods clients, it’s five times less expensive to conduct shopper studies using our virtual merchandising solutions that incorporate the digital twin. In addition, the studies can be completed twice as fast, providing decision-makers with more immediate insights to increase product sales,” says Zanelli.
Brands and stores are always working on new concepts. With the millions of dollars at stake in important retail merchandising decisions, we are happy to offer clients more flexibility and efficiency, along with rich visuals for truly immersive shopping experiences,” Zanelli says.
Easy Connectivity with ERP, E-Commerce, and B2B Platforms
Zanelli points clients to Retail VR’s integrations for seamless business processes using digital twins. The company integrates with B2B technology leaders such as Elastic Path, Le New Black, and Visiativ. On the B2C e-commerce side, it works with Magento and Shopify. “With a Shopify extension, it’s simple for a client to import their content into their Retail VR virtual showroom to facilitate transactions,” says Zanelli. “Our clients are pleased to accelerate retail innovation while boosting productivity.”
Retail VR is a Matterport Platform Partner that leverages Matterport APIs and SDKs to build and commercialize their apps and integrations with Matterport’s market-leading spatial data platform. As a Platform Partner, they gain access to a range of commercial benefits, such as Matterport’s distribution network and enhanced support as well as co-marketing and co-selling programs to help them successfully monetize their applications. To learn more about the Platform Partner Program and apply to join, visit https://matterport.com/platform-partner-program
ABOUT RETAIL VR
Retail VR develops 3D, virtual reality, and augmented reality solutions for top brands and retailers. Its services include virtual showrooms, retail staging, and in-store activation.
Matterport Pro2 3D Camera, Matterport 3D Showcase SDK
- 10x increase in traffic to virtual showroom for packaged food manufacturer
- Shopper studies using virtual merchandising with digital twins can be conducted 2x faster and at a 5x lower cost, declining from approximately US$50,000 to US$10,000
- Packaged foods manufacturer reduced retail strategy meetings from five to one with efficient visualization of shelf space options
- Luxury fashion brand saved 1,200 tons of carbon emissions with one virtual showroom