What Is a Virtual Store, and Why Every Brand Needs It

Date: October 12, 2021

Retailers today are facing a lot of challenges, thanks to the pandemic. With social distancing norms in place, consumers have gotten into the habit of buying things at the tip of their fingers. 

Brands need to quickly adopt an agile, customer-centric approach that can set them apart and entice consumers to hit their store. 

Research has predicted that e-commerce revenue will grow to 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022. The trend is going to further accelerate with the latest technological advancement, making online shopping irresistible. 

One such example is the rise of virtual stores — combining online shopping convenience with human interaction.  

So, What Is a Virtual Store?

In simple words, a virtual store brings a similar experience of shopping from a physical store to your online browsing experience. It bridges the gap between online and real-life shopping experiences in various ways. 

For instance, augmented reality and 3D modeling are used to create a virtual store that enables real-like product presentations and virtual try-on. With virtual try-outs, customers can place virtual items into real-world settings and assess how well the item matches within the existing setting. This could be highly beneficial in the case of high-end luxury products such as home decor items. 

Out of virtual try-outs, brands can also provide access to one-to-one or one-to-many virtual consultation through live video shopping. This type of virtual store can be easily made available by integrating live commerce platforms such as Swirl to their mobile apps or websites. 


How Does Virtual Store Work? 

Having a virtual store allows brands to add a touch of personalization and real-time interaction between brand associates and customers. These brand associates could be the in-store sales staff who are the real product experts, or it could also be an influencer/celebrity hired by the brand to represent them in their virtual store. 

Virtual storefront is a great way to conduct live video shopping sessions. It enables brands to meet their consumers where they are. 

This trend of live selling first started on different social media platforms like Facebook. Instagram, and Twitter. But it came with a drawback – brands were having a hard time tracking their consumers’ journey. They needed a more concrete platform that not only allowed them to conduct live video selling but also tracked real-time activity. 

That’s where Swirl comes in. The use of live video commerce technology enables brands to create a virtual store and deliver a truly immersive experience to their customers. It allows you to curate recommendations based on real-time analytics and make it fun for your customers to shop.

So how do you create a virtual store using Swirl? 

You need to follow a few simple steps: 

Step #1: Download the Swirl App and log in with your credentials. 

Step #2: Once you are there, you can now access your dashboard. 

Step #3: On top of your screen, you will find a link to your store. That right there is your virtual store. 

Step #4: Copy the link and start sharing it with your audiences. You can now start scheduling Livestream shopping sessions. 

The best part about using Swirl is that your audiences don’t require any app to join. All they have to do is click on a link and start adding items on the cart and complete the purchase without leaving the live show.

By plugging Swirl into their websites, brands can accelerate their sales by engaging, converting, and retaining customers. 

The Benefits of Having a Virtual Store

The concept of having a virtual store was first introduced in 2016 by a Chinese retail Alibaba’s Taobao Live. After taking off in China, it’s growing quickly in other parts of the world, including India and America, in sectors like apparel, makeup, and even automobile. 

Having a virtual store lets consumers have an in-store experience online by allowing them to watch and shop at the same time. 

With Swirl, brands are able to create a seamless virtual shopping experience by bringing virtual stores to life. Ecommerce brands are able to connect their brand associates with customers with a touch of a button. Clearly, the benefits of having a virtual store are manifold, allowing brand and e-commerce platforms to generate extra revenue. 

Create an Interactive Shopping Experience

Brands can create a virtual store and deliver an interactive, shopping experience via one-to-many or one-to-one live video for personalized buying. Swirl uses state-of-the-art technology infrastructure that adds a proprietary Interactive layer on top of the video, using Text, Chat, WhatsApp, SMS, & Voice to make the entire shopping experience human-like. It creates a highly engaging experience that leads to more average time spent, more consideration, and purchase intent, resulting in increased sales conversions. 

Provide Ultimate Convenience

The most effective virtual store offers a seamless, hassle-free shopping experience. With solutions like Swirl, viewers can buy products in between the live show without having to leave the page. Unlike traditional e-commerce, it provides the ultimate comfort whereby viewers can ask a question, leave voice notes, request prices, and add products to the cart directly. 

In essence, Swirl provides the same level of engagement and personalization as they would expect in-person interaction inside a physical store. 

Drive Real-time Engagement

Virtual stores allow you to showcase shoppable looks and bring your products to life. Using Swirl, viewers can interact with the brand associates directly while watching the video. It helps shorten the purchase journey. Furthermore, you can leverage your team’s comprehensive product knowledge and share a curated catalog to help end consumers make informed decisions. You can even collect real-time audience feedback and filter potential customers with high purchase intent who end up interacting with your brand on live video shopping.

Harness Real-time Analytics

Running a virtual store from Swirl gives you access to real-time engagement analytics, predictive sales, and customer data points with their verified mobile number right from the dashboard. You can harness your data to better strategize your campaigns and increase sales. Besides, you can even save live videos and use them for future replays. It enables you to provide a fun shopping experience to your customers, leading to a lot of conversions.

Retarget Your Audience

Running a virtual store from Swirl provides full visibility into your customer information, allowing your brand associates to make each follow-up personal. Share special offers and new collections directly from the dashboard through one-to-one or group communications. Have your brand associates schedule virtual consultation sessions and provide curated recommendations to each customer. Build lasting relationships and keep them coming back long after they leave your virtual store. 

Wrap Up

Building a virtual storefront is a great way to conduct live streams and attract your target audience. Use it to launch new products, giveaways, offers, and much more and unlock the power of interactive one-to-many Instagram-style video shopping to your online business. 

SWIRL is a full funnel live commerce solution that helps marketers attract, engage and convert more customers. Enable your website or app with the power of shoppable content to increase AOV, boost conversions and retain customers. If you’re looking for a live commerce solution and want to discuss options, get in touch.

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