Opening a small business in today’s day and age has become much easier than it was, say, 15 years ago. A study showed that approximately 1.1 million new small businesses opened between March 2020 and March 2021. In fact, India is one of the top five economies where it is easier to open a new business.
While this is exciting news for many ambitious entrepreneurs, running a business, big or small, is not easy. This new era of small businesses brings with it a whole new set of challenges, such as renting physical space, maintaining profitability and marketing, among others, that require modern technological and digital solutions. One such solution that has proven to be beneficial for SMEs is virtual showrooms.
A virtual showroom can help SMEs overcome these various challenges and provide a cost-effective and efficient platform for showcasing products and expanding their reach. To understand how they can help SMEs grow, let’s first know what they are.
What is a Virtual Showroom?
A virtual showroom is a digital environment that allows customers to explore, visualise and interact with products and services in a virtual space. Using various tools, customers can view products from different angles, explore and understand different features in-depth and customise the product as per their requirements. Some virtual showrooms may also include features like interactive product catalogues, chatbots and customer service support to enhance the shopping experience.
From art galleries to product showrooms, a virtual showroom can help businesses from various sectors not just to expand their reach but also create an immersive shopping experience for their customers. This, in turn, helps build customer relationships, strengthening customer loyalty.
How Can Virtual Showrooms Help SMEs?
In recent years, many brands across sectors have been leveraging the power of a virtual showroom to interact with their customers and get a competitive advantage over their competitors. Here are some of the reasons why brands have used virtual showrooms:
SMEs often face space limitations for showcasing their products. Due to their limited resources, they may often struggle to reach a global audience. Here, a virtual showroom can be the ideal solution as it can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection and easily navigated from a computer, phone or tablet. This means that customers can browse through the products or services from the comfort of their homes without needing to visit a physical store.
One example of a business that uses virtual showrooms to increase its reach is the Swedish furniture company IKEA. The virtual showroom that the brand launched allows customers to browse and interact with IKEA's furniture products in a 3D environment. They can virtually walk through different rooms and see how the furniture would look in a real-life setting. Furthermore, they can also customise certain features, such as the colours and fabrics of the furniture.
Imagine you want to start a business selling handmade crafts but don't have the finances to rent a storefront or showroom. This is where a virtual showroom can be helpful. Unlike physical storefronts or showrooms, a virtual showroom does not require a physical space, which means that SMEs can save a lot of money on rent, utilities and other overhead costs that come with having a physical location. In fact, businesses can even update their virtual showroom more easily and frequently compared to physical locations.
Easy to Customise
Businesses can tailor their virtual showroom to their specific needs and preferences. For instance, SMEs can create a virtual showroom that matches their brand image, colour scheme and style. They can use different design elements and features to showcase their products or services in a way that appeals to their target audience.
SMEs can also use a virtual showroom to showcase their products in a more interactive and engaging way. Using tools such as 3D product demos and 3D product configurators can help businesses demonstrate how their products work and allow customers to interact with them in real-time. This creates a more immersive shopping experience, which helps increase customer engagement and boost sales.
Analytics and Insights
A virtual showroom can track customer traffic patterns and identify which products or services are most popular among customers. SMEs can then use this data to make well-informed inventory management and restocking decisions. Businesses can also use analytics to identify which products are selling well and which are not, thus adjusting their offerings accordingly.
These digital showrooms can also help collect data about customer behaviour and preferences, such as what products customers are looking at, how long they spend on certain pages and what products they add to their carts. Businesses then can use this data to create targeted marketing campaigns and promotions as well as improve the overall customer experience.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Digital showrooms provide customers with an immersive and interactive shopping experience that can help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. In a virtual showroom, customers can explore and customise products in a virtual environment, which can help them to make more informed purchase decisions. For instance, customers can view products from multiple angles, zoom in for a closer look and interact with products to see how they work. They can also customise products to their liking, such as changing colours or adding accessories and see the changes in real-time. This creates a more engaging and interactive experience for customers, which, in turn, leads to increased satisfaction with the product.
There is no denying that with the help of technological advancements, a virtual showroom will be the next ‘it’ thing that businesses will incorporate into their marketing strategies. In fact, one of the key trends likely to be seen in the future is the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies in a virtual showroom. These technologies can create even more immersive and interactive experiences for customers, allowing them to explore and interact with products in a more realistic and engaging way. This will help SMEs to differentiate themselves from their competitors and provide a more memorable and compelling shopping experience for their customers.
Additionally, virtual showrooms are expected to be integrated with other technologies and platforms in the near future, such as social media, e-commerce platforms and mobile apps. This integration will help SMEs to reach a wider audience and make it easier for customers to access and purchase products.
To summarise, the future of virtual showrooms looks very promising, and their use for SMEs is likely to become increasingly common in the coming years. As technology continues to advance, a virtual showroom will become more sophisticated and accessible, offering newer ways for SMEs to connect with customers and grow their businesses. Are you looking for innovative solutions to build a connection with your customers? Leverage the potential of Exhibit 360 to create your own virtual showroom, complete with 3D product demos and product configurators for an enhanced experience. Contact us to know more.