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Traditional retail has changed greatly over the past few decades. The internet has eliminated a lot of need for generalized retail stores and before that, the largest retail entities had put many smaller pens out of business through more shrewd investments or through their competitor’s bad management.
In the years leading up to the Great Recession of 2008 many smaller stores folded and were followed by larger ones as the housing crisis gripped the world. While specialty stores stayed in business, joined by the more niche and well managed chains, many more chains disappeared permanently.
Further damaging the physical retail industry is the ever-advancing front of internet commerce, or e-commerce. Amazon took the world by storm and has evolved into a platform that sells anything from textbooks to niche fishing textiles. Other retailers like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s took note and focused immense resources on creating successful and easy-to-use e-commerce websites to capture a wider buying audience.
It is easy to think that the traditional retail store may be changed forever, but it is really at the next phase of its evolution. ByondXR, a company that focuses on creating 3D virtual stores, is determined to show that traditional retailers still have a place in the industry. Through its proprietary 3D engine, ByondXR has created fully interactive virtual stores for customers to explore that perfectly recreate the traditional retail experience.
While this is a groundbreaking innovation for e-commerce in general, the shining benefit of this invention of ByondXR is that it gives retail stores a new chance at success. Using virtual stores, brands are stepping into a new world: into the Metaverse. Companies can grasp large audiences and are able to make a physical store experience a reality for those who don’t have the ability to travel or are unable to use traditional means. They can even create environments that have the same attentiveness and service that a physical location does, but without the people and the stress that comes with it. Neurodivergent and differently abled people could use this to have a wonderful experience instead of an uncomfortable one.
Using ByondXR’s technology allows retailers to offer customers a virtual retail experience that has been carefully designed to mimic their real-life counterparts. Retailers can save money by no longer needing to rent physical locations and can reach a wider range of customers through their virtual nature. Customers will no longer need to drive to reach them, instead being able to “walk” into their store at any time of day with their computer.
Furthermore, companies will find they can appeal to younger generations through the environmental impact that going virtual allows. Instead of producing vast amounts of waste from boxes, food waste, and even customer garbage, the only thing that a virtual store requires is power and creativity. A retailer can save money, garner goodwill, and increase its services all in one place instead of having to sacrifice one goal to fuel the others. However, the technology that ByondXR has put into place is also helping to bring another idea into reality: the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is the culmination of technologies that allows for people to interact with one another with clarity and precision in a virtual environment. ByondXR has taken the first step towards integration in this idea with its 3D stores, and retailers have the chance to take advantage of these ideas earlier than their competitors.
Instead of going through the growing pains of creating a virtual store when the Metaverse has become a commonly accepted idea, a retailer could create that location now. Details could be ironed out and new concepts worked on so that when more people are accessing the Metaverse, a brand already has a perfectly formed and ready store for them to rush in and explore. Imagine the wonder on people’s faces when they can browse virtual shelves filled with products tailored to them and how they would talk on social media about how amazing the experience was. An amazing step for any company, but one that could be taken early for eventual integration.
Some companies have already taken that step. Beauty giant Lancome has worked with ByondXR to create virtual stores across mainland China, one of the first foreign companies to be able to do so. ByondXR was able to make their platform run smoothly and seamlessly across WeChat, which is an incredible development in and of itself, on top of which, they held an engaging influencer-hosted event on Yi, yet another China-specific platform. Shoppers reacted enthusiastically and further store openings have been planned to meet the growing demand.
ByondXR and Lancome were also able to create seamless Virtual Stores in Latin America that ran smoothly and efficiently despite the varying degrees of local internet infrastructure. The first such locations in Latin America, these stores were once again welcomed enthusiastically by local shoppers and serve as an excellent example of the benefits that retailers could have by expanding their services into the virtual world.
Virtual stores marry the convenience of e-commerce with the fun and engaging experience of a physical environment. ByondXR is helping retailers to achieve this balance that many thought was impossible. The growing Metaverse is bringing these ideas even further, with integration at an impressive level being possible.
People will be able to shop as they once did in malls in groups, but all from a virtual location. We are already seeing how people have successfully replicated these environments in such things as ByondXR’s virtual locations. These ideas have been taken even further. We are reaching a point now where fully interactive virtual reality based shopping centers could be a reality within a few years, and new innovations are happening daily.
As the technology continues to evolve it will become clear to many more people that virtual stores are the way of the future, as well as the perfect way for retailers to recapture the relevance they thought was lost. Just like the unexpected resurgence of vinyl records, retailers are poised to come back stronger than ever in this new frontier of technological innovation.
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