Bloomingdale’s debuts virtual department store for the holidays

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A quick dive:

  • Continuing its digital experiments, Bloomingdale’s tapped Emperia, a virtual experience developer, to create a multi-brand virtual store for the holidays, according to a press release shared with Retail Dive.
  • The store has virtual spaces for brands such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel and Nespresso, as well as a beauty salon and spa, as well as a party room. According to the announcement, virtual store visitors can move between each brand via an in-store elevator.
  • In the Ralph Lauren section, shoppers visit a virtual resort forest that leads them to a ski chalet. In the Nespresso section, visitors are taken to a Parisian cafe, according to a press release.

Dive Insight:

Bloomingdale’s partnership with Emperia is part of the retailer’s experiments with virtual stores. To celebrate Bloomingdale’s 150th anniversary, two collaborated during New York Fashion Week in September to create a virtual store. The store featured Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, David Yurman and other high-end brands, as well as virtual games, an anniversary-themed collection and a video showing the evolution of the retailer over time.

“Emperia believes that the multi-brand virtual experience will be the new department store of the future,” said Olga Dagadkina, co-founder and CEO of Emperia. “Virtual environments provide endless opportunities for brand creativity, design and user engagement, breaking down barriers of accessibility and the limitations of physical space—providing a new technological playground for retailers.”

While visitors can shop different brands and experience different experiences in Bloomingdale’s virtual stores, other elements of the virtual shopping experience are still in development. A July Forrester Report predicted that the virtual shopping experience of retailers will be very exciting in 10 years, but shoppers will still not be able to move from one virtual environment to another with their digital goods. The report also warned that consumers may not use or feel comfortable in a meta universe environment.

It is not clear to what extent consumers are interested in the metaverse. A Survey by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence published last year found that just over a third (38%) of consumers are aware of the concept of the metaverse, but 79% of Gen Z consumers and 80% of millennials said their daily lives depend on technology. A Poll by Piper Sandler found that 26% of teenagers own a virtual reality device, but only 5% use it on a daily basis. About half (48%) of teens surveyed by Piper Sandler are unsure or uninterested in the metaverse.

https://www.retaildive.com/news/bloomingdales-emperia-virtual-department-store-holidays/637007/ Bloomingdale’s debuts virtual department store for the holidays

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