Efficient, economical, and encompassing, the exacerbation of the times have finally compelled a stubborn industry to finally go full throttle on the possibilities of the virtual store.
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Devastating as it is disruptive, the impact of the pandemic continues to pummel through our lives nearly a year into the crisis of unimaginable proportions. Rewiring the way we go about life as we knew it, COVID-19 has really turned things on its head, forcing people to rethink the present and mindfully redesign the future that was and still is unclear. With no soul, sentiment, and slice of society spared from the wrath of the pandemic, it is a known fact that the everyday has given in to the challenge of survival.
While capitalism has certainly found a workaround with the decisive turn to a mostly digital way of life, it still is a big blow to the industries that subsist within, counting closures, furloughs, and recalibrations as collaterals to the cruel context we live in today. While it has inadvertently shut down what now stands to be a thing of the past, the reality has compelled players to really rev up the innovations and developments online to be able to meet the growing demands of the swiftly changing market. From by-the-way consideration and appendage of accessibility, it was clear that the only way to survive was to take things online. And we aren’t talking about mere websites with e-commerce extensions, glorified lookbooks made to take the place of an in-store experience, or a slow-loading catalog that is a soulless counterpart to the shopping. Sure, these slow burn of commercial functions may lure customers in, especially those acclimating to the digital landscape, but it stands little to no chance ensuring a sale—or at the very least, loyalty.
This is where virtual stores come in, the retail advancement that was always just there but never really given much attention, until now.
The Future Of Retail
With websites that look and feel identical as the next open tab on your browser, promising the same presence, speed, and convenience no longer cut through all the noise. Now more than ever, customers are looking for the same care and experience that goes in the religious in-store experience online. This isn’t to say that this movement necessitates all the bells and whistles of the imagined future with augmented reality or clunky virtual reality headsets to simulate what is fundamentally limited for the time being. What the world needs now is to elevate the mindless swipe, taps, and clicks before adding to cart by immersing themselves into the creation of virtual stores.
Repetitions and overemphasizing of what is already should be standard aside, think of virtual stores as an expansion of what is already there. Yes, there is necessary architecture needed in the same way you would build a store. However, it still is comparably economical, efficient, and encompassing to the market craving for a chance to connect, even if it is just in a fraction of what used to be.
“The past year has shown us the importance of connection and we at Tumi have been exploring and developing new ways for us to connect and engage with our community as a result. This season, we are thrilled to elevate the experience of our Asia Pacific and Middle East fans with the new Tumi Virtual Store,” says Victor Sanz, Creative Director for Tumi. Apart from the introduction of seasonal Spring 2021 offerings, the leading international travel, lifestyle, and performance luxury brand debuts the retail breakthrough. “I can’t wait to show you how the Tumi DNA lives on in our Spring 2021 launches, share our latest innovations, and highlight how sustainability is playing a big role in this season’s collections and the brand moving forward.”
Immersing Into The Virtual Store
Immersive and interactive, the Tumi Virtual Store is an innovative omnichannel experience that translates the offline to the online landscape. A growing necessity in the retail market, brands such as Dior and Clarins have been carving out their own digital domains, widening the paths for this to become the actual playing field in the sport of shopping and style.
Going beyond just a destination to make purchases, these virtual stores become access points to introduce and indoctrinate people to the traditions of these brands. With state-of-the-art technology married to the retail concepts, the commitment to the customer is still of topmost consideration. A digital maquette of the age-old brick-and-mortar standalone staged online, these virtual stores employ a seamless integration of what the brand is known for, this time made more interesting with interactive and in-depth details of the products, add-ons, and easy purchase points.
Taking to 360° 3D and AR to highlight their new season of bestsellers such as the Alpha Bravo, Alpha 3, Tahoe, Voyageur, and Harrison collections, as well as of Instagram and WeChat Games and Magic Mirror Selfies, you get the full experience without having to leave the safety of your home. No store? No problem, for sure. Just click, swipe, and explore to the content of your heart and bandwidth.
The Limit Doesn’t Exist
“For the last few years, we have been pioneering new digital experiences and looking for ways to enhance and elevate the customer journey. Our new Virtual Store is part of this holistic approach to connect with our customers wherever they are and evolve with their changing circumstances and lifestyles,” explains Adam Hershman, Vice President of Tumi, Asia Pacific and Middle East. “Accelerated digitization and shifting customer habits brought on by the turbulent 2020 have reinforced this direction and shown that we must continue to create exciting, meaningful interactions both in the physical and digital worlds.”
An elevation of their mantra: Perfecting the journey, their virtual store is a confident step into their future. This time, however, the bounds of the physical doesn’t stand in the way. It can finally be said, the limit doesn’t exist.