June 26, 2020

Online shopping is ready for a VR makeover

Basically every online store looks the same right now. These companies have a big new idea.

There’s online shopping, and then there’s “hyper real” shopping. 

Just in time for our dressed-down summer, the OTB Group — a fashion retailer that owns brands like Diesel and Maison Margiela — is launching a digital showroom that mimics its physical stores. 

Three months in quarantine have made it all too obvious that most online stores look the same — and with its Sims-like pivot, OTB wants to sprinkle on some spice.

Imagine a Minecraft server, designed like a Guess

Let’s say you’re entering Diesel’s new virtual showroom. You start in a leafy waiting room. A concierge guides you into the store. 

Using your mouse, you can steer yourself in and out of the different rooms, organized by category — one for denim, one for footwear. See a hoodie you like? You can zoom in and check the listing. 

Diesel’s new digs are a big innovation, but Diesel isn’t the only company stitching VR into its business plan: In recent weeks, virtual showrooms have hit the online fashion weeks for Stockholm and London.

Virtual showrooms are about to sweep online shopping

Footwear News reported that startups like Joor, BrandLab, and Le New Black — all of which offer virtual showroom tech — have seen “significant increased growth” this year.

But if VR shopping gives you a headache, you can always dip your toe into live streams. 

Beauty brands like Clinique are trying on a sales strategy that China perfected: Mail your new product to a famous person, ask them to stream themselves trying it on, and drop in the buy link.

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