1. v-commerce the future of e-commerce?
The emergence of e-commerce in distance selling :
Born in the 1990s with the arrival of the Minitel in France, e-commerce or online sales is a digital medium whose aim is to carry out a commercial transaction at a distance. The very first credit card transaction was made in the USA in 1994 with the purchase of Sting’s album for $12.48 by Phil Brandenberger. It was in the 2000s, with the arrival of broadband, that e-commerce really took off. But why is V-Commerce the future of e-commerce?
Since then, it has continued to develop and the figures today speak for themselves. As the FEVAD testifies, the turnover of e-commerce exceeded 100 billion euros in 2019, an increase of 11.6% compared to 2018 announces the moderator’s blog.
But why has e-commerce grown so much?
The advantages of e-commerce :
The COVID-19 pandemic and the containment measures have profoundly transformed shopping behaviour around the world and stimulated e-commerce.
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it allows us to reach a very wide audience. Moreover, its accessibility via all connected media allows people to buy what they want wherever they are, which explains its strong growth.
Nowadays, nearly “8 out of 10 Internet users buy a product or service via an e-commerce site”. The craze for e-commerce is well underway and has seen “a 29% increase during the confinement” confirms the article on BCG.com. Everything leads us to believe that e-commerce has become THE essential and irreplaceable solution. But what are its limits?
The challenge of reconciling the shopping experience with the digital journey :
In its article on the limits of e-commerce, the website politechnicart points out: “the main drawback… concerns the dematerialisation of the product at the time of purchase“. With just a few photographs and product characteristics, it is difficult to get a real idea of the product. Even if consumer comments can guide our research, it is possible to form our own opinion only when we receive the purchase.
The customer can therefore lose the feeling of the buying experience through the lack of visual and tactile perception of the product. The consumer projects himself much less in front of his screen than in real immersion in the physical shop. This can be a barrier to their purchasing act.
However, this infinite possibility of purchase is a real advantage of e-commerce and allows it to continue to develop. Nevertheless, consumers are still looking for a more emotional and human customer experience.
So how can we manage to combine the shopping experience with the digitalized shopping experience?
With the 3D! Virtual reality and augmented reality, two fast-growing technological advances, can combine the two. They combine both immersion and digital through v-commerce.
The emergence of V-Commerce, the future of e-commerce :
With the rise of new technologies, the field of possibilities for brands is widening and it is becoming even more difficult to stand out. E-commerce continues to expand but consumers are looking for a more emotional and human customer experience. This is where v-commerce or virtual commerce comes in, referring to commerce in virtual or augmented reality. V-commerce is a combination of e-commerce and virtual reality. “It can be sales made or facilitated by VR in physical shops, or directly sales made within virtual environments” explains Virtual-Reality.com.
For retailers, it is above all a question of maintaining the quality of the customer experience. Personalisation and immersion in the brand’s universe are the two watchwords. This allows VR to impose itself as an essential element in the new customer journey. So is v-commerce the future of e-commerce?
2. The advantages of V-Commerce :
An immersive brand experience for the customer :
A real strategy, brands use it to develop a new relationship of trust with their customers while offering them a new experience with high added value. “If emotional involvement favours the act of purchase, it also contributes to customer loyalty,” emphasises the bearing point article. Major luxury brands such as Dior perfumes and Clarins have already experimented with virtual showrooms, as we demonstrate in this article. But it also affects more accessible brands such as Decathlon, which in 2017 deployed an immersive experience in the middle of nature to promote its new Quechua tent. The Ray Ban brand relies on augmented reality to offer its customers the opportunity to try on models adapted to their face. They are thus putting the emphasis on personalisation.
All the solutions to immerse the customer in their world and give them an innovative and unique experience are at the heart of v-commerce. So how can this experience be seen as differentiating?
Better promotion of the product with 3D (360° view of the product) :
As mentioned earlier, e-commerce does not always have the possibility of encouraging the act of purchase because of the lack of value of products. With v-commerce, this problem no longer exists. Indeed, virtual reality allows a total immersion, as if the consumer was in the shop buying and having, for example, the clothing in front of his eyes. Better still, “it represents a pre-sales tool that contributes to reinforcing the purchase decision and reassuring the customer. It allows a better visualization of the product and a better understanding of its functionalities” confirms the article of mbamci.com. They go even further by mentioning that “AR helps to avoid sizing errors or bad colour perceptions, and thus to reduce returns (estimated by the FEVAD at a rate of 24%).”
A true “phygital” journey:
The future of shops is ambivalent: both physical and digital. The future of retail is intended to be phygital. Chanel is a perfect example, wanting to combine digital and physical, a project to integrate virtual mirrors in their flagship shop in Paris was launched in early 2020. On the Champs Elysées, they developed connected hangers “showing the importance of digitalising the customer experience at the point of sale.” (source factonics white paper). This new concept strengthens the customer/brand relationship and allows the consumer to be informed while simplifying his experience.
The physical world is also being integrated into the digital world by means of possible support, without leaving the virtual environment. (Through a personal shopper, for example). Just like in a physical shop, you make an appointment with an advisor and let him guide you through the process of making the best choice. This is another way of highlighting v-commerce and its many functions.
3. The challenges of V-Commerce the future of e-commerce :
A market to conquer:
Despite the enthusiasm of consumers and even brands, retailers are still relatively cautious about using this new technology. The challenge lies in their ability to adapt to the evolution of the consumer society and to understand this environment. Certain points of friction have been reported by users, such as the lack of user-friendliness of the interfaces, the long download times and certain malfunctions. On the supplier side, costs can sometimes be high and the technology, which is growing rapidly, may have some limitations.
Details that seem to fade quickly in view of the figures that remain very promising. The AR/VR market will grow by 76.9% between 2019 and 2024, reaching 136.9 billion by 2024. (FEVAD figures).
V-commerce, a market to be conquered to become the future of e-commerce:
So the market remains highly innovative if the 2020 Get App study is anything to go by. “45% of respondents say they are likely to buy more from brands that offer product and service interactions using immersive technologies.” The points of friction are only a detail compared to the capacity of v-commerce.
Thanks to virtual and augmented reality, v-commerce offers an additional dimension to e-commerce. It responds to customer constraints and improves the shopping experience. Consumers can save time and energy, while accessing a wider choice of products.
It is of real benefit to both the retailer and the user and is expected to continue to grow significantly. The post-covid era brings new demands to the shopping journey and offers great opportunities to conquer.
Get inspired and offer new shopping experiences in virtual reality!
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