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Ankush Mohla

Digital transformation and innovation leader


  • Sustained, consistent value generation from virtual stores as a sales channel for B2C and B2B worlds and helping customers and prospects in their buying journeys by enabling better understanding of the product through personalized interactions.
  • How to generate value from virtual stores that B2B and B2C businesses are creating as a digital channel to engage with customers by giving them superior UX resulting in ease of doing business or transactions.
  • However, many organizations are yet to realize the true potential of virtual stores. Their virtual stores are losing prominence and getting limited to being a decoration piece within a short span of time after launch. The blog talks about how to address this and generate value.

We are witnessing a huge transformation in the B2B and B2C worlds with new-age experiences coming to the front to accelerate hybrid sales strategies such as the virtual store to ease both selling and buying experiences. A virtual store, in simple terms, is a 3D experience powered by AR-VR technologies that allows customers to interact with the product in the virtual space or personalized surroundings. 

Most of the organizations, in my experience, struggle to see a return on investment, although they begin with much fanfare, however, soon the charm wanes out and virtual stores are left to be seen as a decorative piece in the channel strategy’s living room.

To address these challenges and generate sustained value, the points outlined below must be taken into consideration as a part of the organization’s channel strategy to drive better customer experience leading to more sales.

Figure 1 Virtual store considerations for sustained value


  1. Faster e-commerce integration: Generally, rolling out virtual stores is predominantly done to create a new channel on the web portal where customers can explore a product. Thereafter, organizations take lot of time to add newer features like e-commerce integration, however, this should be fixed and within 3-6 months after launching the virtual store, e-commerce integration should be done to allow customers to complete the transaction and have a closed-loop experience.

  2. Dynamic updates with the latest content: Initial web 1.0 had started with static pages where refreshing content was not easy. The information on the websites used to be outdated for long periods of time. On similar lines, though virtual stores are interactive, however, not a lot goes into dynamic updating of the content whether it is the 3D model or the accuracy of the information., This results in the lack of trust and poor customer experience. Companies need to invest in the right technologies and tools to create the mechanism for managing the content on a real-time basis - whether it is the information around the product, latest 3D models, etc.

  3. Rich features: Virtual stores should be capable of supporting rich features beyond 3D interaction of products for delivering a comprehensive experience. These features should include:

    • Trying out the product in customer’s personalized space, like home décor items in customer’s living room or clothes on the consumer themselves.
    •                       Figure 2 Trying on the product

    • Custom configuration for size, color, measurement, texture, etc., for exploring more options. This should be appropriate and fit as per the customer’s specifications limiting physical visit to the store.

    • Interactive manuals for helping consumers learn how to use or service a product - how to clean an appliance or a window.

    • Other integrations such as conversational experiences of chat, audio, video, etc., to further ease the buying experience and make it more contextual.

  4. Quality: Visible Image quality of the 3D models is an essential aspect of getting the user explore products in the virtual or augmented personalized space. Focus needs to be on HD quality 3D imaging software for generating images with 360-degree rotations, zoom in/out option, brightness control, motion tracking, accessible through web browsers, and working seamlessly on mobiles and tablets.
  5. Measurement and analytics: User interaction with the virtual store creates a lot of data in terms of click stream. We need to develop a mechanism to continuously report on the insights gathered in terms of product interaction that can allow the marketing team to better direct their campaigns and engineering team(s) better design based on what the customers are looking for. Such continuous improvements will help in allowing wider adoption of the virtual store.

  6. Speed: In virtual stores, the essence is to get the user interact with the product in its full view contextualized to user needs in terms of 3D models, 360-degree view, size, color, texture, etc., with multiple, dynamic options. The slowness of the product interaction with a lag and buffering will significantly have a negative impact on the experience and reduce the probability of completing the sales. Speed of user interaction should be at the center of design to enable seamless experience during the usage across all devices.

In conclusion, virtual stores fit into both the B2C and B2B worlds, helping customers and prospects in their buying journeys by enabling better understanding of the product through interaction and personalization. Thus, it is crucial for businesses to consider the aforementioned factors as a part of their virtual store strategy to maximize benefits and provide an incredible user experience.

About the author

Ankush Mohla
Ankush is the Head of Digital Transformation and Innovation for a diversified business unit at TCS catering to manufacturing and BFSI clients. Ankush’s aim is to help clients with their growth and transformation journeys leveraging the TCS Business 4.0 approach – putting digital technologies and practices around user experience, cloud, automation and IoT at the core of every organization, and enabling them to develop the agility they need to embrace risks and innovate rapidly. Ankush comes with over 20 years of variety of industry exposure.
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