Impact of Virtual Reality for Fashion Retailers
The trend of Virtual Reality and how it’s impacting today’s fashion retailers
I first heard of the Virtual Reality (VR) experience through a Democratic Front Row project last year in Denmark with Swedish fashion designer Ida Klambornis who created a live 360 virtual reality (VR) fashion show that was broadcasted directly from the users mobile with the Google Cardboard.
However today this trend has exponentially amplified and arrived in China where this year digital typhoons such as Alibaba Taobao to luxury brands such as Burberry, Levis, Patrone, Volvo and many others have started jumping into this new technology, transforming the original Google cardbard to several adapted Chinese versions (i.e Buy+ and暴风魔镜 – 3rd party app’s).
Last year Dior also created its first ever in house crafter VR headsets to immerse its fans with backstage access, the couture atelier workshops and the show. Their ‘Dior Eyes’ campaign was a trendsetting experience showcasing that even the most traditional and historical houses are now getting technical.
Recently, Condé Nast Vogue with Angelica Cheung also introduced this technology on a more in depth scope at their new academy on Shanghai’s iconic luxury avenue, Huaihai road. Pioneers in ‘Fashiontainment’, Moschino launched its first VR Fashion show in Los Angeles. And its only the beginning…. I’m seeing three major ways to use more in depth this technology in order to increase sales conversion and user experience across a diversified type of retail industries.
Now users can virtually travel all over the world , explore and shop in ‘virtual’ luxury flagship stores on Saks fifth avenue NYC or avenue Montenapoleone in Milan and more where a substantial online to offline integration will be created from sales, after sales, logistics, and sales points.
2.Virtual Trials: furniture, home décor/design, fashion wardrobe
Virtual fitting rooms and wardrobes, to virtual home décor planning reduces return rates, increasing purchasing efficiency, saves time and at a glimpse you can immediately know if this cocktail dress or new coffee table is the right size, color or appropriate for your home or body.
3. Events- Fashion Shows / Virtual tours and Showrooms
This is directly a follow up to the hot “see now, buy now” model that I’ve mentioned previously. Now, not only do brands create immediate sell through with ‘future’ seasonal items, but they will also start expanding the current traditional front row viewership to the general public, not only restricting it to press, media, celebs, and VIP’s. From the comfort of their home, the users will have a first hand view on backstage passes, interviews and the show where they will also be able to immediately buy the products, share their opinion via VR technology and even create SM viral campaigns.
What does this mean for brands? Taking a digital seat at front row, the virtual application can receive and analyze the audience’s behaviour when watching the show; the users can express their personal opinions and pressing the “like” button, the app can also record the fans reactions instantly where designers and brands can immediately understand more in depth the feedback, comments and critics of the users.
Dior FW15/16 (june)
The New York Times couldn’t have said it better « At Fashion Week, It’s Where You Sit That Counts”, the days when magazine editors were kings and queens at Fashion Week are long over. Their seats have been eroded by the ceaseless arrival of barely recognizable celebrities, followed by a wave of top bloggers and even newly emerging video vloggers / 网红’s and this is becoming even bigger with a virtual reality creating a democratic front row where we are going further and further away from the monopolistic image of media toward the consumers immediate feedback, it will no longer be an obvious trickle down effect going from media, celebs, bloggers down to the consumer, now everything will be more interconnected and interrelated.
Going away for the initial ‘Google cardboard’, the most simplistic form of VR, and going into the more complex VR technologies such as 4D VR (includes feeling, sensing or hearing), consumers will become more and more digital and start going to extremes where the distinction between digital and reality will be blurred.
“ I think it can be really dangerous, If your not careful, I almost literally fell on my face” says a Managing Director in PR who tried the VR 4D technology.
Managing the technology and not ‘getting lost’ in it is important. It should also have regulations for it to be safe for consumers as a more advance and high tech VR experience can take a user to a whole new level in term of user experience (impulsive gaming industries, casinos / gambling, pornography etc.)
So yes, VR is definitely a great thing that will allow many consumers to explore more boundaries and significantly increase a users shopping experience while saving heaps of time.
This time it’s not using technology for its own sake but interacting deeply with users to create a deep dive interactive experience where consumers will now need to balance between the real and virtual.