Online shopping has become an integral part of today’s society. However, one problem with online shopping is that the consumer cannot see, hear, taste or smell the product. A bad buy is therefore made faster. But a solution has been developed: ‘sensory stimulation’. Websites of online stores can use pictures, videos and sound to give consumers a better and more complete picture of the product.
The physical world and the online world are increasingly intertwined by ‘sensory stimulation’. For example, a consumer can first have his/her body scanned in the physical world, and then buy the product from the online store. For example, the consumer can receive a list of pants that he/she fits on, which can then be purchased online. In addition, the reverse is also possible. The consumer first dresses up ‘dolls’ online and then buys them in the offline store.
There are several retailers that are experimenting with ‘sensory stimulation’. For example, the American retail chain Kohl has launched a new clothing line that is exclusively for sale on Stardoll.com. This is a virtual meeting place for teenagers, where visitors buy virtual clothes with Stardollars. The aim is to familiarize teenagers with Kohl’s clothes and in this way to entice them to also buy these clothes in the physical store.
Another way to make a link between online and offline shopping has been applied by iFashion. In stores, a customer’s body can be scanned in 10 seconds. A 3D avatar is then created, which is displayed on a large screen as soon as the scanning room is exited. When the customer scans clothes, these clothes will be displayed on their avatar. It is intended that this avatar will also be available online, so that customers can try on their clothes on their own avatar online.
In addition, it is possible that consumers in department stores have their feet scanned. Customers of 3dfoot.com can create a profile on the site after scanning. They can then try on shoes virtually. Finally, Myvirtualmodel also has a variant of ‘sensory stimulation’. They allow visitors to compose their own models from a large number of standard components. This can be saved in a profile and the visitor can match clothes to the model. Organizations that already use this are H&M, Adidas and Speedo.
All these options reduce the chance of a bad purchase for the consumer. The challenge now is to translate these examples to other sectors. The ‘sensory stimulation’ is not only interesting for the online store industry. It can also have a positive effect on online conversion in other sectors.