Neha Singh

Obsess said it just closed on an undisclosed round of seed funding, which will help grow the experiential e-commerce platform’s engineering team and “further develop” the technology’s shoppable features.

The seed round was led by Venture Reality Fund, WXR Fund and Jump Capital, and brings the total funding to $3.4 million. The technology company also plans to extend the platform to other verticals, the company said, adding its virtual retail shopping technology is used by brands such as Sam’s Club, Charlotte Tilbury, Diesel, Dior, Party City and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

Neha Singh, founder and chief executive officer of Obsess, said savvy retailers “know that offering a differentiated online experience is key to attracting and converting customers, especially as we head into the holiday season and as e-commerce sales continue to rise due to the pandemic.”

Singh said the platform allows brands and retailers “across the fashion, beauty, home, electronics and telecom categories to create visual, discovery-driven and immersive shoppable experiences that fundamentally change the way they engage with their customers.” The platform leverages AR and VR to construct a digital retail space that allows brands to create “memorable, branded virtual experiences for consumers and wholesale buyers, with no need for an app download or a headset,” the company said in a statement.

“These photorealistic, immersive online shops have been demonstrated to drive discovery, engagement, clickthrough, session duration, average order value and conversion for leading retailers,” Obsess stated. “As foot traffic in physical stores remains depressed in many regions, Obsess is giving retailers a way to extend flagship stores, pop-ups and other branded experiences to a broader audience online.”

Sam’s Club said last week that it is using the technology to create a “virtual holiday shopping experience.” The warehouse club dubbed the event the “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation holiday shopping experience,” and said the virtual experience “gives our members a chance to ‘Go Griswold’ by stepping inside a reimagined ‘Christmas Vacation’ home.”

For Charlotte Tilbury, the Obsess platform is being used to create “a dazzling virtual store for the holidays,” the company said.

“We have always been a digital-first brand; it’s at the heart of everything we do, so by launching this virtual store, we are truly operating as an omnichannel business and offering our customers an immersive, 360-degree experience whenever and wherever they come into contact with the brand,” said Charlotte Tilbury, the brand’s founder. “The Obsess platform has enabled us to seamlessly create a quick, easy and personalized way to shop for beauty, skincare and gifts with game-changing 3D digital innovation.”

Charlotte Tilbury’s virtual store.  Courtesy image.

Dior has been using the platform to power a virtual version of its flagship Maison Christian Dior fragrance store in Paris. And fashion brands Diesel, Marni and Koché have used the Obsess platform to create virtual showrooms.

Singh was previously the head of product at Vogue, “where she was responsible for the product strategy and technology execution of Vogue’s digital business including content products, ad products and distribution platforms,” according to her bio — which also noted work experience at Google, specifically as a software engineer for Google AdWords and Google News.

Martina Welkhoff, managing partner at the WXR Fund, predicted that experiential retail “will be a huge driver of e-commerce growth in the coming years.”

“The Obsess platform is like no other technology we’ve seen in this space,” Welkhoff said. “While the company is already working with top names in fashion, beauty, home goods and electronics, the potential to expand into other verticals is significant. We’re confident that Neha’s unique combination of retail industry and technology experience will enable Obsess to continue to grow under her leadership and that more retailers and brands will quickly realize how critical it is to offer a unique and innovative e-commerce experience.”

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