The aim of OpenVR.shop is to bring an immersive online shopping experience to consumers and to allow offline merchants with little to no knowhow to set up a virtual store in 24 hours.
“We believe online shopping, from product discovery to purchase, should as immersive as it is offline,” said Founder Keith Lee.
Lee, who worked in mobile marketing before launching his company, has deep experience working with clients to launch mobile marketing campaigns and apps. Over 100 retail shops in Hong Kong and Tokyo in shopping categories such as food and beverage, fashion, furnishings and beauty currently use OpenVR.shop.
“We are a cloud-based service and we hope that both large and small enterprises will be open to this new method of showcasing their goods. They can extend their physical store online, creating more awareness in the process,” Lee said. OpenVR.shop operates on a monthly subscription fee.
This idea of virtual shops is a relatively new one in the e-commerce space. Lee said a big challenge is educating merchants on the needs for such a platform and guiding them through the process of setting up a virtual reality shop.
“The most critical issue is market acceptance and awareness. This will take some time to build up. Traditional retailers typically do not understand the concept of online shopping, so we have to explain to them how this technology works and its use for consumers,” said Lee.
Moreover, in a city like Hong Kong where retailers face the constant pressure of sky-high and ever-rising rents, building a brand online is one way to branch out.
“We tell our clients, why invest millions of dollars into interior design and brand design and position? Why not be on the Internet as well as a virtual marketing shop? By combining the needs of retailers with the VR shopping discovery experience, we can help businesses increase turnover,” Lee said.
In the future, Lee hopes to take OpenVR.shop global to open the VR network to more retailers in Asia and around the world.
“I sincerely hope our company won’t just be a Hong Kong company but a global one as well. We want to bring this experience of virtual reality marketing to the world and create an immersive shopping discovery experience for consumers,” said Lee.