Is Virtual Reality the new retail?

By Bernadet Bijsterbosch.

The world of luxury is changing, and showcasing your brand and your design is getting more important every day. You have to be seen by potential clients who are far away, and you want to give them the feeling of excitement you have too when seeing your product. Is it enough to show your product on social media, not knowing who is seeing it? And not knowing if your target group is being reached?

Last week I talked to a real estate agent who told me that most of the luxury apartments he sold were owned by Russians and people from the Middle East who never visited the apartment. Maybe that’s not surprising, but I wondered how his clients got to know his available properties and how they could buy from a distance without feeling the vibe and the excitement in person.

He explained his success by introducing me to the world of virtual reality. I was blown away by the clear view I got of beautiful houses and the joy that comes from seeing a house where I could ‘walk’ in. I realized that this real estate agent was selling me an experience of luxury. Being present in that beautiful house made me want to buy it. This is a great way to eliminate every last obstacle we have in reaching our clients in a time of globalisation.

I did a lot of research after that and realized that showcasing luxury in our EuropeanLife platforms and magazines should be expanded by virtual reality. We are talking to people to help us with this, and it is very exciting to see all these possibilities, which can add ways to achieve our goal of showcasing luxury all over the world.

I talked to some event owners in China, and I wonder how interesting it would be to walk through their trade market in Shanghai when you are in Europe. Or how great it would be to show your houses or cars in Asia or South America. It sounds to me as if virtual reality might be the new ‘retail’ and borders are no longer a limitation on you when you’re shopping.

Today I heard that a lot of shopping malls all over Europe and the U.S. are no longer filled with happy shops. Some great shopping centres are now a collection of empty spaces, and the shopping areas are spooky and sad.

A lot of designers and brands are just getting used to having a website instead of a shopping window, and they are being introduced to new paying systems. Now they have to focus on a completely new way of shopping and paying, and a completely new way of doing business .

I love this virtual reality and the possibilities for showing luxury products in this visual way. It shares the emotion behind the product, and this is what EuropeanLife is all about.
Maybe we will miss our shoppers and the day-to-day chatting we have, but making the world smaller can give us a whole new set of shopping friends.

This is a development that will not be stopped, so embrace it, enjoy it and give your product and your design the best shopping window they deserve.

Bernadet Bijsterbosch