Written by Steven Stumpf on August 18, 2020 · 6 min read

Virtual showrooms to showcase your business

Virtual showrooms to showcase your business

The virtual showroom is one of the rare concepts in tech that explains itself. The idea behind it is simple: your showroom, warehouse or shop is captured using high-quality images and then digitized. This allows your virtual environment to be accessed on any device that’s not older than a decade.

Online VR showrooms are always ready to explore, walk around in, or even fly through – without any of the practical issues that the latter endeavour would present in real life. A VR showroom can even be connected to your catalogue to enhance a visitor’s shopping experience and provide a seamless customer journey, from interest to purchase.

You shouldn’t take our word for it when we say that virtual showrooms are fantastic and nothing less than tomorrow’s technology, today. Bear with us!

The problem with showrooms 1.0

As the first studio in Belgium to start developing 360-degree virtual tours and showroom experiences, our team at Poppr have noticed a shift over the past few years. A physical showroom today is, as its name implies, a space where items are put on display. To a large extent, many stores and showrooms are no longer being used by consumers as a point of sale in their shopping journey, since purchases are shifting to the online world – across all demographics. Showrooms are becoming increasingly expensive on the business end. On top of this, there’s currently a large elephant in the room – one that’s keeping everyone more grounded than ever and is eating away on physical showrooms’ ROI. COVID-19, indeed.

Virtual showrooms to battle coronavirus impact

Caught in corona crossfire with your business? You’re far from the only one. Retailers and other organizations that rely heavily on brick-and-mortar stores or the display of physical products, will be affected for a long time to come. The solution is straightforward:

If your clients won’t come to your shop, your shop must go to your clients.

Online showrooms and virtual 3D shopping experiences are not some distant future – they are the present. Today’s technology allows you to record your showroom using 360-degree images. Alternatively, we can build a fully virtual shop from the ground up using 3D modelling. This virtual environment can be designed and programmed in any way imaginable.

Virtual showrooms aren’t meant to be the end of physical showrooms just yet, but the technology is far more capable and ready than the public opinion believes it is. Just have a look at our review of this home headset to see what we mean.

Discover all possible virtual showroom options

The current health crisis has merely sparked the anticipated shift towards a hybrid reality that merges virtual models with real-life experiences. Digital-first is the obvious default. New challengers and established tech leaders are working every day to map our surroundings and bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual world, until the divide becomes blurred.

The usual suspects like Google (Street View) and Facebook (LiveMaps) are taking the lead. Closer to home, our collaborative project with Voka is showing a glimpse of the new normal in virtual experiences.

Why your customers want a virtual showroom – and why businesses need one.

    • You will reach a wider audience.
      Cut out the transportation hassles and watch customers come in. A virtual showroom attracts more visitors than a physical showroom, as the numbers consistently prove. In addition, shoppers who’ve visited your 360-degree or 3D showroom are more likely to visit your physical store.
    • Your audience converts better in a VR environment.
      Connect data points to capture, analyse and act upon visitors’ behaviour. Implement virtual assistants, live chat and contact form for first-line conversion. Add Google Analytics and start targeted advertising of the products that your VR showroom visitors checked out.
    • Online showrooms are accessible.
      Let your visitors explore your VR showroom at their own pace, so they can discover your products in an informal way. People who might otherwise be less able to shop at your location – think of transport difficulties or accessibility issues, for example – can visit your business without any of the logistical complications. 360-degree virtual stores have found their way to older generations, too: over-65s have the longest time-per-visit across all age groups.
    • VR showrooms and 360-degree webshops are more cost-efficient than physical showrooms.
      A virtual showroom is an investment that starts generating immediate returns from launch day. VR showrooms can easily last five years or longer, without racking up any of the maintenance and staff costs that real-world showrooms have.
    • Digital showrooms can go live faster than the average website.
      From idea to execution, a basic VR showroom can be delivered in a few weeks’ time. Fully 3D-modeled showrooms take a little longer, with the added benefit of incredible detail and an easily updatable product catalog or design change. As a business, you don’t need any technical knowledge to add a showroom to your existing online environment either.

Great virtual showrooms are ROI-driven

At Poppr, we’re in it to make you successful. Your online showroom needs will depend on your KPIs and the position of your virtual environment within the bigger picture of your business model.
Depending on your customers’ behaviour, target market, digital presence and budget, we establish the requirements for your virtual showroom and design it to your needs for maximum impact that leads to customer conversion.

Integrating virtual showrooms in today’s digital-first reality

VR and AR experiences have quickly evolved from fashion to fact. Immersive digital experiences are here to stay. They can be used as standalone proofs-of-concept or showcases, to replace physical conference booths, or to deliver competitive advantage for your business. Smart online showrooms are integrated with your digital strategy and provide a future-proof addition to your business.

Options for building a virtual showroom

Still with us? Excellent. If you’re a marketing-driven business exec with no penchant for technical details, you can safely skip this section. Finally want to know the difference between VR and AR, however? Then keep on reading!

A VR showroom comes in different options, ranging from standard to highly bespoke. Here’s our virtual showroom showdown:

360-degree photographs

Like the panoramic pictures you can take using your mobile phone, but better. A team of professional photographers capture the different halls or rooms in your showroom. Users can later point, click and zoom in.

3D

The same as above, in three dimensions. The depth of field in a 3D store or shop helps to get a sense of scale of objects for 3D online showrooms.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Virtual objects are projected on top of the real-world environment. In other words, virtual information is mixed with real-life input. Read the full run-down on AR.

Virtual Reality (VR)

A fully simulated environment, designed by creative and technical experts.

Looking to build your own virtual showroom?

Challenge us and see how we can deliver conversion through immersion for your business.

Get in touch!


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