The virtual showroom as a sales & marketing tool
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What is a virtual showroom?
Just like a classic showroom, a digital showroom also aims to present products and offers in an appealing way. The aim is to give visitors the opportunity to take a close look at products at their leisure. In the real world, showrooms are used primarily in the fashion and automotive industries. Here, an exclusive audience can view new products attheir leisure. A virtual showroom, on the other hand, is available online to everyone. Anyone interested can log in at any time, look around without crowds and gather information. If necessary, access can also be deliberately restricted via password protection.
Virtual showrooms can be turned into a very special experience with virtual reality (VR), offering unlimited exhibition space and countless design options. With the help of a augmented reality (AR) marketing platform, the products on display can be projected in full life size from the showroom directly onto the carpet at home, the office corridor or the cobblestones at the bus stop.
So far so good. But can products and information really be presented just as well in a virtual showroom as on a real presentation surface? Isn't it a disadvantage that products can't really be held in the hand online? Or to put it another way: Is a showroom really a good sales tool? Let's take a closer look at this in the further course by examining various aspects of showrooms.
For providers of a virtual showroom, there are basically two different ways to pick up their guests. One option is to offer free movement through the digital space. In this way, visitors can discover the content and products in the room using a mouse, buttons or a controller, just like in a video game.
The second option is Guided Tours, which take the visitor on a guided journey through the provider's world. Insights, offers and products can be presented in this way and explained as required. With the help of VR glasses, a particularly immersive experience is possible. However, not every user has this rather expensive equipment at hand. A VR offering should therefore rather serve as an optional additional feature in digital showrooms or be part of a special user experience in an on-site store. In any case, a free look around and discovery is just as possible in the online showroom as in the classic counterpart.
Interaction possibilities in the 3D showroom
Strolling, looking around, informing and engaging in conversation - that's what a showroom is all about, whether real or digital. An online showroom must therefore offer a high degree of interactivity in order to keep up with its real-life counterpart. The most important thing is a real 3D environment with real 3D objects. Only in this way can visitors move freely and intuitively through the space and fully enjoy the playful aspect of a 3D showroom.
This also includes being able to view the exhibited products in 3D from all sides - in the best case also in augmented reality. In this way, actual size, color and texture can be experienced up close. In addition, annotations, animations or even exploded views offer the possibility to easily understand even complex products.
In addition to an emotional 3D experience, guests thus also receive a wide range of information options.
What types of showrooms are there?
Interaction is obviously not a problem in an online showroom. But what about the design options? In sales and marketing, after all, it's all about custom-fit solutions, coherent design and flexibility. Here, too, a showroom offers a good solution for companies of any industry and size.
Simple information stand
- Quick to set up and integrate into the website
- Most important information and contact persons at a glance
- Interactive elements that invite you to discover
- Design of an exhibition stand
- Easy customization of template rooms
- Space for multiple 3D objects (e.g. selected products on pedestals)
- Can be integrated on website or event platform
- Longer dwell time than simple exhibition stand
- Design in corporate design
- More space for contents, possibly even several floors or rooms
- For the presentation of entire product ranges/product lines
- Strengthening of brand perception
- Digital image of a physical showroom
- Quick creation via 360° camera
- Each product is linkable
- Complementable by virtual staging
Corporate Brand World
- Design according to individual ideas
- Extensive world for immersive company presentation
- Anything is possible (e.g. large hall, outdoor scenario, floating island, etc.)
- Suitable for large companies and organizations
A showroom as an exclusive sales tool
So far, we have only looked at the virtual showroom in direct comparison with its real-life counterpart. But this digital marvel can do much more. It can be used as a comprehensive sales tool for product presentations, making appointments and communication. Whether in a video call or in a face-to-face meeting, all products are available for demonstration at any time in the digital showroom. For more complex technical products also with animations, exploded views and explanatory texts. With one click, even large plants can be viewed and explained from all sides in AR. Entire production chains can be visualized if required. Here, at the latest, a classic showroom can no longer keep up.
The showroom as an online store?
From a clear information stand to a stunning corporate world, everything is possible on the Internet. Everything? Could a showroom also replace the common online store?
A classic showroom does not claim to sell its high-priced exhibits directly to end customers. New car models and exclusive fashion pieces should simply be brought to life live and in color, something that simple product photos in the catalog or on the website cannot do.
How does a product
become a 3D model?
Products can be digitized in various ways. If 3D data is already available (for example, in CAD format), it can be used directly to generate a 3D model. Alternatively, 3D models can also be created from photos or videos. rooom also offers a scan line and also a 3D scan app, with which products can be digitized in a cost-effective manner.
In a digital showroom, the option of direct purchase is certainly a viable one. All interested parties can enter the online space, there is no limit to the number of people, and if configurators are also integrated, the handling of individualized orders is no problem. Some of the costs for rent, furniture, transport and personnel that are not incurred in the online showroom can simply be invested in the digitization of end customer products. For the sale of selected products, an online showroom with its special user experience could therefore definitely become an option in the future.
What is actually already being used successfully in many cases is a virtual showroom as a supplement to the online store. Customers who do not yet know exactly what they want can enjoy an interactive shopping experience. Products can be closely examined in augmented reality, configurators enable the playful discovery of variants, and avatars with chat links enable spontaneous customer conversations.
Some companies and pioneers have already recognized the benefits of virtual showrooms. Puky, for example, uses a spacious, individually designed showroom to present its latest bicycle models for children. Another company that is already successfully using a digital showroom to present its solutions is medical technology professional BD.
"The virtual showroom allows us to not only showcase our portfolio in an innovative way, but also tell the story of our product solutions."
Dr. Stefan Waltering, Productmanager Cell Analysis at BD
The own exhibition space in the Metaverse
With its renaming to Meta, Facebook has properly heated up the general debate around the topic of the Metaverse. The whole world is wondering what this metaverse is supposed to be, who manages it, and how to get there. Some information on all these questions is provided in our blog article "What is the Metaverse?" But what does a showroom have to do with it now?
With a showroom, all manufacturers, store operators, cultural institutions or service providers can create their own small space in the metaverse relatively easily and merge real and digital product experiences. For example, customers whose desired product is not currently available in the real store could visit the digital showroom at a VR station. There, the entire product range is always available in all variants. Or a digital furniture brochure can be downloaded from the online showroom to select a suitable sofa. Via AR, it is then possible to check directly whether the beautiful piece fits well in the apartment. When visiting the furniture store, all that remains to be done is to try it out and nothing stands in the way of a final purchase. This gives customers all the information they need to make informed purchases without the need for lengthy consultations.
Showrooms are also ideal for shopping experiences with an emotional component. After all, shopping experiences that are not available anywhere else can be realized in the digital space. Surfboards could be presented in an outdoor showroom on the beach, machines for forestry work in a digital forest, or Christmas incense burners in a snowy street. Almost anything is possible in digital space.
The potential of a digital showroom as a sales and marketing tool is huge. From a small information stand to an extensive brand world, every company is free to decide how it wants to present itself digitally to its customers. Even extensive product ranges can be presented virtually and clearly. Augmented reality makes it possible for customers to interact directly with their desired product. With digital support, sales staff can present any article convincingly anywhere and at any time, and websites get that little extra something that invites you to take a longer look around. Platforms like rooom are so easy to use that not only digital natives feel welcome, but older generations can also enjoy an enhanced shopping experience. And the costs saved on room rent and ancillary costs can be used much more sensibly elsewhere.