As the fashion industry continues to change dramatically, focus on sustainability and cost-saving strategies have become pertinent. Further propelled by the coronavirus pandemic, technology has undoubtedly garnered heightened attention in the last few years. And in a very real need for the fashion industry to explore more sustainable approaches to travel, the idea of virtual showrooms and B2B wholesale platforms have been especially intriguing.
Virtual reality can remove many limitations of using a physical showroom, overcoming the usual restraints and challenges of space, configuration, seasonal communication and significant related costs. In a recent report by WWD, it was said that the “implementation of virtual showrooms and live-streaming, which are already defining the shopping experience in China, will become the new standard.” These tools will enhance the proactive approach for digital sales and even keep customers updated with a brand’s latest news.
Still, in this new digital world, it remains important to keep a sense of connectivity and personalization. New technology by BrandLab Fashion offers to do just that. The B2B digital wholesale platform has developed technology to recreate brand showrooms using virtual reality. In these 360-degree showrooms, collections can be presented in almost any environment to communicate.
“Our VR showroom was first launched to market approximately six months prior to the coronavirus outbreak, we had spent a number of years developing our global B2B back-office solution,” said Jennifer Drury, cofounder and chief executive officer of BrandLab Fashion. “Our platform had been very successful in creating efficiencies for hundreds of brands, but after considering feedback from our customers we were keen to take this one step further.”
Unlike other similar technologies, BrandLab’s technology stands out in that it expands beyond product directories and e-commerce style product listings, creating an integrated real-time showroom in a 3-D digital format. Working to maintain brand integrity and identity, BrandLab’s showrooms can also incorporate all brand supplied media assets and product images. And while various curated template backgrounds are available to create a showroom, brands that want to provide continuity of their brand’s DNA can choose to custom build virtual showroom using existing imagery to re-create.
“After a number of conversations with our customers, it became apparent that the traditional B2B platform model was not conducive to tell the brand story, with our virtual showrooms the brand is able to have full autonomy over the merchandising process as they would have in their own showroom, therefore retaining the brand DNA,” Drury explained in a conversation with WWD.
Brands are then able to schedule and host sales appointments by sharing a direct link to customers around the world.
The goal, said Drury, was to ensure that BrandLab was offering a solution that was effective and a continuation of the existing sales process, aware that it is important for brands to retain customer relationships. BrandLab’s fully integrated video and voice chat function support live sales appointments and the buyer is able to receive the full showroom sales experience without having to travel.
“The most exciting experience has been seeing the many developments that we have been able to create over the last 12 months,” Drury said. “We have removed restrictions in the way that buyers can move around the showroom space and communicate. And we have introduced many different and convenient ways for the retailer to create assortments and place orders depending on their existing processes. Many of our brands have reported large increases in the total order amounts since using the showroom as the buyer can spend more time considering their order in the digital showroom both pre- and post-appointment.”
“Our very next phase of development is focused around buyer assortments within the showroom,” Drury said. “With our new technology, the buyer is able to drag an item from its current location to a new rail to help create and merchandise their order.”
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