Virtual replica of a real store lets visitors buy items directly off the displays.
London boutique shop MACHINE-A recently collaborated with the fashion website SHOWstudio to create an online interactive experience where SHOWstudio 3D scanned the entire brick and mortar store to create a virtual shop.
Visitors can explore every nook and cranny of the store, including flipping through the guest book and reading some of the comments. Online shoppers can directly purchase products on display, such as the Killer Whale Bag sitting on one of the shelves (400£), or the illustration by Rei Nadal hanging on the wall (125£).
Besides the shoppable items, SHOWstudio tries to make the virtual environment and brand more engaging with and hidden content. Interviews with MACHINE-A’s friends and family are scattered around the online store, where visitors can click to listen, watch or read various testimonials and stories from contributors, designers, artists and employees. There’s even a video interview with the founder of MACHINE-A, Stavros Karelis, who discusses the story and ethos behind the contemporary fashion store.
The campaign launch of MACHINE-A is also accompanied by a selfie competition. Visitors at the store can win a “special fashion experience” by taking a selfie in the mirror. The most creative selfie, judged by film director Nick Knight and fashion stylist Anna Trevelyan, can choose from one of three prizes. In the virtual store, you can view the gallery of entries and even get tips from Trevelyan on how to take the perfect selfie.
On its website, SHOWstudio describes the concept as “pioneering” and represents “SHOWstudio’s passion for and commitment to exploring cutting-edge technologies.” While the idea is great, the execution of the interactive shop experience could be improved upon.
Currently, users cannot freely explore the virtual shop and must go through the store in a linear manner by clicking on the buttons “forward” and “back.” The virtual store also lacks the intimate- and personal-touches of the boutique and comes across as cold and mechanical.
Over the last two years, we have seen stores trying to make their online presence more interactive and realistic. In 2012, Nissen recreated its department store floor online with ‘Smileland Virtual Shop.’ Most recently, Tesco has created a virtual reality experience that allows shoppers to explore the aisles and products without leaving their homes.