Two companies are paving the way for customers as they explore virtual shopping in the metaverse.

Emperia is a virtual reality platform specializing in art, retail, and fashion. Most recently, the company has been working with brands to create virtual shopping experiences. Emperia’s many notable brand partners have noticed significant increases in engagement. This is mostly thanks to the technology, which enables shoppers to virtually browse and interact with products like lipstick and clothing the way they might IRL.

But Emperia’s functionality does not merely end with engagement. Customers are spending 92% more time on eCommerce sites that feature some sort of VR element. Ultimately, this has led to a 73% uptick in conversion rates – a data point that represents a near 500% ROI for brand customers.

Similarly, Perfitly, an augmented reality platform for apparel e-commerce, enables a virtual fitting room for shoppers. First, users take a 3d image through Perfitly’s mobile app. The platform software uses 3d imaging to create a virtual avatar modeled after each shopper’s precise dimensions.

Shoppers remotely march their avatars through aisles and into dressing rooms, just as they would if in-person shopping. In this way, Perfitly customers gain a more accurate idea of how a garment would fit than is possible from the conventional eCommerce shopping experience. 

Previously, shoppers relied on a range of size charts, all of which seem to differ across brands. But Perfitly’s VR innovation offers a much more accurate, consistent, and effective resource for eCommerce shoppers. 

Shoppers can size up or down, zoom in or out, and rotate their avatar 360 degrees to achieve the ideal fit starting from the original size recommendation. Size suggestions are based on an AI analysis of the customer’s body images or specified measurements. After selecting “Try it on,” a customer can change the size to see how the fit changes.

The functionality of VR fittings is clear, and the evidence is abundant. Currently, Perfitly is observing a 30% drop in returns in addition to a 10% drop in inventory – all by offering customers a greater visual understanding of the products and the brand.

But beyond the practical benefits, the virtual retail presence offer companies another brand-building forum. The platform gives companies the ability to create virtual settings that represent their brands and better communicate their mission and values. And all of this can be curated in one place – within a company’s digital business card – its website. Customers shop inside a virtual store that is fully integrated into a company’s home on the web.

While Perfitly emphasizes an improved virtual changing room, Emperia focuses on the marketing angle: namely, the remote in-store experience of a virtual showroom. 

A significant impediment to both innovations, however, is that, often, brands are unable to effectively manage these platforms. With this in mind, Emperia’s Artemis platform is working to provide support for brands, providing tools that help platform managers alter their products and interior design in real-time.

But even the most glorious virtual showroom is only worth its potential for engagement. Developing brand discovery and conversion channels that lead to and exist within the platform are the key components of a virtual retail experience.