When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, no one foresaw that the digital transformation of our physical world would happen at such a staggering rate. The very essence of what used to define our sense of becoming virtual. Our work, our shopping, and even our meetings.
While businesses ad-libbed their way into their digital counterparts of today, the most significant change was virtual shopping. Pre-COVID-19, we used to head out to a store to buy whatever we wanted. Fast forward 18 months, and it has transformed into the world where virtual store software has brought about a pragmatic shift in that experience.
And it is in no way slowing down. With the addition of AR and VR, the industry is pegged to touch a valuation of $1.6 billion by 2025. So, what exactly spurred this growth? Read on.
Benefits of Virtual Shopping
While it might not seem like it, for people who love shopping both online and offline, the COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise. The following are the benefits that you get from virtual shopping:
1. Added Convenience
Virtual shopping allows shoppers to enjoy trying out the products from the comfort and safety of their own homes, which adds another layer of convenience.
2. Broader Customer Base
Irrespective of where your physical store is, if you have a good product, an easy to navigate and user-friendly website and virtual store, and are shipping to multiple locations, you can reach a much larger customer base.
3. Leverage Advertising Opportunities
With virtual shopping, word of mouth and experiential shopping is the new advertising model. If the shoppers enjoy your product and see how your store presents it, you can automatically leverage those customer stories to drive more business and increase brand reliability.
4. Personal Interaction with Clients
Another benefit is that your customers can directly get in touch with you about their doubts and clarifications. They can ask about product details, availability, and more that you can answer in real-time, further instilling trust in the customer.
5. Faster Feedback
If a shopper likes or dislikes your product, you do not have to fish for the reviews. The feedback cycle has become faster and more personal. You, as the owner, can quickly respond to them with a solution. If possible, an incentive on the product or the platform like a discount can help reduce their negative experience.
6. Shopping Preference for Millennials
Millennials love everything that comes to them quickly. Online shopping was one of the things they helped make famous and virtual shopping is just another milestone in that journey. So catering to millennials specifically can draw in more traffic and business than you might think.
7. Bring Shoppers to Your Storefront Location
If you are successfully running a virtual store, you can redirect some of that traffic to your physical storefront as well. For example, offer incentives like extra store discounts, or free shipping, or additional savings. It is just another way to advertise your storefront business through your virtual store.
8. Keep Up With Everyone Else
When a shopper is paying money to a website for a product, they trust you and expect you to make good on your commitments. Offering them regular updates about their order, timely delivery, and various options are just a few of the things that you can offer to stay apace with the bigger conglomerates as well.
9. Works round the clock
As opposed to a physical store that has timings, a virtual store works round the clock 24×7. This means that you don’t have to be limited by when you can get orders. As a result, shoppers can place an order at their own convenience and not worry about the store closing down at late hours.
10. Improved Customer trust
Nowadays, having an online presence is a must. Not having any online presence makes you come off as shady. With the virtual store, they can verify that you exist and instill trust in them to spend their hard-earned money with you.
Furthermore, there are tons of consumer review portals nowadays through which shoppers can get feedback about your business and decide whether they want to place an order. So, having a virtual store improves customer trust.
Conclusion – Is Virtual Shopping the Future?
Despite its slow adoption, virtual shopping has paved the way for many businesses to stay in touch with their customers and drive more sales. Companies that were struggling to get shoppers also benefited by getting sales due to the transition. Hence, it is pretty easy to say that virtual shopping will be the future due to the added convenience it affords.