Presented by Obsess
There are nearly 27 million ecommerce stores worldwide today. Meanwhile, the average shopper’s attention span has dwindled to less than five seconds — muddling the purchase decision funnel in a highly saturated market. Retailers are eager to understand how to win the diminishing attention of consumers, and then turn that attention into sales.
Enter immersive experiences, a suite of interactive shopping solutions that have now reached scale and widespread adoption amongst consumer brands and retailers.
A recent Coresight report finds that more than half of brands and retailers are looking to invest in immersive experiences during the next three years, with each planning to spend an average of $234K+ on related technologies annually.
Coresight defines “immersive experiences” as related to any of the following digital shopping components:
- Virtual stores
- VR/AR-enabled virtual try-on
- Data/AI-enabled content for personalization
- Virtual events and fashion shows
- Social shopping
- Gamified shopping experiences
- Virtual styling services
The company reports that immersive experiences will be a top-three priority investment area for brands and retailers during the next 12 months — preceded only by ecommerce and mobile website agility and marketing campaigns/influencer marketing. Within immersive experiences, data/AI-enabled content for personalization ranks as the top investment priority, followed by VR/AR-enabled try-on and virtual stores.
Obsess is the most scaled virtual platform in the industry, with over 300 immersive experiences in categories ranging from fashion and beauty, to CPG/FMCG, home and media — with the most data in the world on how consumers behave in 3D shopping experiences. The platform transforms the traditional 2D ecommerce thumbnail grid into a browser-based 3D, visual, engaging and social experience that integrates brand storytelling with next-generation commerce.
Coresight’s foremost investment priority ranking seems inevitable, as conversations around AI continue to flood retailers’ newsfeeds and investments prove valuable in generating returns. According to Coresight’s report: 77% of brands and retailers that have invested in data/AI-enabled content for personalization have seen increases in online sales. Fashion companies, in particular, report benefiting from increased customer acquisition and conversion as a result.
Obsess incorporates AI-driven personalization into immersive experiences, in order to give retailers a brand-safe channel to drive customer acquisition and conversion through more dynamic, meaningful content. Generative AI is leveraged to expedite the creation of virtual experiences, making the set-up process faster and more cost-effective, slashing go-to-market time from months to weeks. It is also used to elevate the user experience in immersive stores through the inclusion of generative content — including imagery, copy, gaming and quiz results, chatbots and virtual assistants.
For example: Babylist created an AI-enabled Baby Name Generator game in their Virtual Store, which accounts for an expected newborn’s birth date and gender in order to output a dynamic list of baby name recommendations.
The second and third immersive investment priorities for retailers — VR/AR-enabled try-on and virtual stores, respectively — give way to a rising trend in virtual technologies as a tool to shrink the traditional purchase funnel. On average, it takes five to eight touchpoints with a retailer for a consumer to make a purchase decision. Of course, for luxury and high-priced brands, this cycle is even longer. Brands and retailers are now using virtual channels to drive ecommerce customer acquisition, product page clicks and conversion all in a single shopping environment, in order to reduce the number of touchpoints in the customer journey and increase efficiencies in marketing.
According to Coresight, 88% of retail decision-makers that have invested in virtual stores have reported an uplift in sales, following the launch of a virtual store. Likewise, 67% have seen an increase in new customers and 77% have seen an increase in clicks to product pages. This is due to the engaging, relevant, highly memorable nature of immersive experiences.
Brands that work with Obsess see up to 10X higher session times in their virtual stores, compared to ecommerce. Unlike traditional ecommerce stores, which are built for directed shopping, virtual stores are built to encourage customers to browse and discover, and spend time engaging with branded content in a CGI-rendered environment. Within a single virtual store, brands can tell their stories through gaming, quizzes and interactive media while simultaneously showcasing products through user-activated virtual try-on, product customizers and 3D look-builders. Virtual stores are also fully integrated with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Salesforce, enabling consumers to seamlessly add to cart and checkout at any point.
Within Obsess virtual stores, companies have seen direct success including:
- A Luxury Fashion Brand, who saw a 75% higher conversion rate in their virtual store compared to traditional e-commerce
- A Prestige Beauty Brand, who saw a 35% increase in AOV in their virtual store compared to traditional e-commerce
- A Global Cosmetics Brand, who saw a 109% increase in time spent in their virtual store compared to traditional e-commerce, and consequently—a 112% increase in checkouts from virtual store visitors
Immersive experiences will define the next generation of shopping, and Coresight’s latest report reaffirms how rapidly the adoption is already growing. By adding experiential components into ecommerce, such as virtual stores and AI-enabled content for personalization, brands and retailers can unlock access to the new generation of gaming-native consumers, and convert them into loyal customers. Retailers need to be conscious that 55% of their competitors will “definitely” increase investment in immersive experiences during the next three years, and 86% will do so before 2033.
Looking ahead, immersive technologies are poised to continue evolving at a rapid clip, especially as processors become increasingly powerful and network speeds get faster around the globe. 3D digital interfaces — which are, by nature, more intuitive and aligned to the way that humans interact in real life — will extend into every part of the internet, well beyond just shopping. Apple’s recent announcement of its new Vision Pro spatial computer, for example, will bring 3D into the mass market over the next five years. Immersive devices and apps will scale to mass adoption during this time as they will provide a more simplified, natural and human interface to technology.
Neha Singh is the CEO & Founder of Obsess, an experiential ecommerce platform enabling brands and retailers to create visual, immersive, 3D virtual stores. She was previously the Head of Product at Vogue, where she was responsible for the product strategy and technology execution of Vogue’s digital business including content products, ad products and distribution platforms. Prior to that, Neha was VP of Product and Engineering at AHAlife, an ecommerce startup for luxury lifestyle products. Neha began her career at Google, where she was a Software Engineer and Tech Lead for 5 years and worked on Google AdWords and Google News. She holds an undergraduate Computer Science degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a graduate Computer Science degree from MIT.
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