Does the average person want to shop for apparel in virtual reality (VR)? Speaking for myself, it sounds rather cumbersome — having to plop on a headset to browse for, say, trousers as opposed to click through a few galleries. But not everyone agrees — particularly those who hope to build a business out of VR retail.
Enter Emperia, an “immersive” retail startup that — to its credit — has already created virtual stores for brands including Bloomingdales, Dior, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. Launched in 2019, the idea came from one of the co-founders, Olga Dogadkina, who previously worked in the luxury retail sector.
“It became clear to me that while e-commerce was the future of retail, 2D websites were merely a tool that enabled an online purchase through a simple grid of images and text but lacked the customer journey, storytelling and the ability to provide the customer experience and product discovery retailers’ physical stores strive to achieve,” Dogadkina told TechCrunch in an email interview. “My other co-founder, Simonas Holcmann, and I launched Emperia to bridge the gap between the transactional nature of an e-commerce purchase and the personalized shopping experience brands can cultivate in store.”