Shopping online should no longer be “boring and tedious,” according to Neha Singh, founder and chief executive officer of Obsess, which formally launches this week. Singh sees e-commerce being driven by experience, just as physical retail has been transformed, and she wants to lead the pack with her tech stack.
Venture-backed Obsess, the consumer discovery interface that creates “contextual” and “immersive” shopping experiences, does so with web-based virtual reality and augmented reality technologies — so consumers can shop without having to download an app. Prior, the company had only been leveraging its proprietary technology to brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Farfetch and Levi’s, who have licensed the visual “experiential e-commerce” platform for special collections and realistic-yet-virtual boutique shopping experiences. Obsess will continue powering experiences for brands, in addition to operating its new shopping destination which is designed to be mobile first.
“Brands don’t need to do anything extra,” as Singh said to WWD. Obsess pulls images from the brands’ product feeds. “I don’t want to shop from a video game,” Singh reiterated, stressing the advantages in offering consumer-friendly photorealistic product and model renderings. The Obsess team enlists its patent-pending CGI tech to create the virtual stores, merchandising brand product images atop to preserve high-resolution details like fabric texture, drape etc, while making the experience more akin to in-store shopping. When customers click a product, they are taken to the brand’s web site to purchase, opening up the gateway for influencer opportunities, as Obsess has already integrated.
In the launch, influencer Jourdan Sloane, along with four others, can pocket affiliate revenue from purchases made on brand web sites, converted through their unique stores on the Obsess platform.
The launch will feature trend shops — including the color of the year, “the denim edit” and more — alongside a focus on lifestyle-based shopping (home, beauty, fashion, wellness), with cross-merchandising an important driver for product discovery.
Catering to the Millennial and Gen Z female shopper who craves to experience her guiding consumer values such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, Obsess proudly features models of all shapes, sizes and skin tones in one multibrand destination.
As noted in Shopify’s January report on the fashion e-commerce industry, “innovating technologies” for creating experiential e-commerce is one of four pillars of growth driving the $713 billion-projected fashion e-comm industry by 2022. “Making shopping fun again” across channels will undoubtedly rely on the creativity, ingenuity and tech stack of fashion retailers, brands and their partners.
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