It’s really no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the shopping experience as we know it. Just look around – shops and malls are practically deserted (although, this is probably because of the hefty fines imposed on those who break lockdown rules, more than anything else!) as most hunker down at home awaiting the turn of events…
This simple human shift of being at home vs. being “out” had a ripple effect through nearly every business, across every vertical. Like it or not, research figures show that some 60 percent of global customers changed their shopping behaviors since the onset of the pandemic.
Suddenly, technologies that were previously more connected to the military, space exploration and medicine have been more nascent in retail lately, as its now an essential lifeline to the retail industry’s survival.
3D product catalogs, augmented reality try-ons, personalisation with artificial intelligence (AI), grocery shopping all within your email inbox, shoppable videos – these emerging technologies suddenly have become hallmarks of a pandemic shopping experience. Retailers saw firsthand how these tools can inspire audiences and help bring the best of brick-and-mortar online. Consumers also adapted, and became more comfortable using technology to replicate an in-store shopping experience.
And yes, all this virtual shopping excitement is finding its way to our neck of the woods as well…
For instance, premium jeweller Bvlgari have now accelerated its worldwide digital expansion with the launch of e-commerce platforms in seven new countries within the next couple of months. The expansion began with the launch of the brand’s online shop in Singapore, which is now live.
The new Bvlgari e-shop experience features a dedicated e-concierge ensemble, comprising a team of professionals ready to address any customer enquiries. The platform is also enhanced with 3D product images and augmented reality (AR) features.
Through AR, customers will be treated to a lifelike shopping experience. For example, they will be able to scale Bvlgari bags true-to-size in a real-world environment – all from the convenience and safety of home, or wherever it is that they’re hunkered down to weather the pandemic! Plans are also underway to incorporate AR technology for jewellery, watches and other categories within Bvlgari’s catalogue.
Meanwhile, leading homegrown online diamond e-commerce retailer ZCOVA has made gemstone personalisation easier in this challenging present reality with its own recent launch of Asia’s Biggest Virtual Gemstone Inventory!
Featuring a range of 100,000 different gemstones to choose from emeralds to sapphire, rubies, and more, gemstone enthusiasts or anyone looking for a bit of shine to light up these rather somber, stay-home days can easily recreate their personalised dream gemstone jewellery featuring a variety of colours and shapes of their choice.
These gemstones can be designed into everyday jewellery such as classic earrings to match a working attire every day, a birthstone ring to mark the birth month of the gemstone owner, or even a striking statement necklace for special occasions.
With ZCOVA’s latest augmented reality (AR) online shopping experience, you can try on your ring anywhere, anytime. You can now shop like you’re in a physical store without having to go to one. With the convenience of a smartphone, all you have to do is to head to their online portal to begin your journey with the ‘AR Try-On’ feature!
Even as you read this, the magic of Extended Reality (XR) – meaning the combination of augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D tech – is already allowing consumers to “try it before you buy it,” and bringing a new level of interactivity to online shopping and ultimately building a stronger brand connection.
Suddenly, staying home doesn’t seem all that bad after all, does it now…?