Virtual Store: The Future of Shopping
Mr Shivam Varshney-CoFounder& CEO, KIKO
There are five hundred million active internet users in India out of which only fifty million of them shop online. Shopping offline is still a trend among people, but virtual stores are the next trendsetters of the social commerce world. Consumers in India are moving towards virtual shopping as it is a fast-growing market with a large, young population. When we talk about a virtual store, it is easy to imagine a list of products and a way to place orders. But a virtual store can be so much more than just a catalogue of products.
A virtual store also means a platform of live shopping where one can connect with the seller directly on a video call to see the product and buy it. It aims to improve the consumer experience provided by traditional e-commerce sites, and it can be extremely useful for retailers aiming to stay ahead of the competition. A virtual store digitalizes the complete browsing experience you'd get in a real shop. Virtual shopping is an offline customer shopping experience in a virtual environment in which a buyer can see and engage with the sellers while shopping in a digital version of a physical store.
E-Commerce sales are predicted to hit $6.5 Trillion by 2023. If this trend maintains its trajectory, e-commerce sales could potentially reach $8 trillion per year by 2025. Live video commerce in India, specifically, will be a $20 Billion a year market by 2025. It is undeniable and clear that when a local vendor sets up a virtual store, he gets guaranteed virtual walk-in traffic which eventually leads to increased revenue for their business. It also helps them expand their reach to a wider audience. Similarly, when an established brand sets up a virtual store they can improve on the effectiveness of a salesman. During the pandemic, the efficiency of a salesman dropped to 20% as they were only dealing with physical walk-in customers which were very low in number. Also, creating a virtual store is extremely economical compared to opening a new costly physical branch.
A virtual store is a win-win model for the sellers as well as the buyers. Virtual stores generate virtual walk-ins for the buyers whereas a buyer gets a trustworthy and offline shopping experience at home in a virtual environment.
The seller/shopkeeper can benefit from the virtual stores in the following ways:
● The virtual seller can get more walk-in customers with less effort
● Many local retailers can have great success with virtual shopping platforms that can be accessed from the comfort of their own homes
● During the process of shopping, the buyers and sellers interact with each other and a good relationship is built between them, which leads to more sales
The user/buyer can benefit from the virtual stores in the following ways:
● They can describe their exact requirements to a human rather than enter search queries
● They are assisted by an expert salesman while shopping in a virtual store and get to experience the product in action before making a purchase
● Buyers can get same-day delivery from the nearby shops
According to a report by UBS, Global e-commerce is dominated by China with 48% of the total e-commerce business. However, over the period of the last 2 years, social commerce has been adopted by China and has increased rapidly. In the Chinese market, video-based commerce, or video-commerce, generated a revenue of $63 billion in 2019, which shot up to $120 billion in 2020. India’s e-commerce potential is among the highest worldwide, offering a fast-growing online consumer market with a large, young population which can benefit the business in several ways. The virtual version of a face-to-face shopping experience is set to be massive, providing countless new ways for brands to present their products to buyers. Virtual stores offer brands the opportunity to boost loyalty and transform the shopping experience for their customers rapidly.