Diane von Furstenberg’s love affair with technology has a new chapter: The luxury brand has teamed with retail tech giant Salesforce to develop and launch DVF 360, a 3-D experience that offers online and real-life visitors a virtual look at the brand’s headquarters and products.
DVF 360 lets shoppers take an immersive tour of the New York headquarters, browse the brand’s fall 2018 collection, make purchases, explore content and even tour the designer’s personal office. Powered by Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud platform, the experience officially rolls out on DVF.com and in the real New York flagship, where iPad-equipped staffers can guide patrons through the virtual environment.
“Since Diane von Furstenberg and the DVF brand have global recognition, we wanted to provide digital access to our DVF headquarters and invite consumers to experience the brand from the inside,” said Sandra Campos, chief executive officer at Diane von Furstenberg. “Our partnership with Salesforce allows us to share everything from our luxurious Swarovski-designed staircase to Diane’s iconic office while highlighting top looks of the season.”
Think of DVF 360 as a step toward virtual reality, minus the headset requirement. In the New York flagship, customers on the virtual tour can purchase goods on the premises or in DVF 360, if the item’s not available in the store.
It’s a notable move, considering retail’s primary use for virtual environments is largely entertainment- or experience-based. That makes the transactional nature of DVF 360 having a buy button look like a sign of things to come.
“This is [DVF’s] first foray into creating these immersive brand experiences. But the interesting part is that it really breaks down the traditional barrier between inspiration and purchase, because you can actually purchase it right within the experience,” Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president of industries and insights, told WWD. “The other thing that I really think is awesome is that this was introduced during Fall Fashion Week. So you could browse the Fall ’18 collections and actually purchase.
“They’ve been talking about ‘fast fashion’ for a while, but I see this as ‘fresh fashion’,” he said. “Because the consumer is able to get the product within minutes and not months, which is the traditional way.”
DVF’s view also draws on another retail trend: omnichannel. “We acknowledge that the future of shopping will blur the line between physical and digital,” Campos explained. “We believe this innovative, 360-experience will add excitement and will connect us even further with our community.”
The companies use descriptors like “immersive” and “virtual environments,” which makes the announcement seem like a full retail VR experience. But the DVF 360 wasn’t designed for VR tech like those from Oculus, HTC, Sony and others. Rather, it works through desktop browsers and the mobile web. So in essence, it’s more like dipping a toe into virtual reality than diving in head first.
Still, it challenges conventional thinking about the binary nature of omnichannel retail. Turns out, it’s not as simple as just “online and offline.”
“Our view is that commerce is going to happen everywhere, and that’s going to increasingly be off the retailer property,” Garf said. “So, that could be in virtual reality environment, that could be a next-gen platform, it could be social media, it could be in mobile aggregate apps.
“Our vision, our plan, is to enable brands to more easily, more effectively extend their brand and their digital commerce platform to these third-party environments,” Garf continued. “We recognize it’s not just about pulling consumers to the retailers’ sites. It’s about pushing the retailers’ brands to where the consumers are.”