The jury may still be out on whether virtual reality (VR) will truly take off as a shopping experience, but one forward-thinking retailer already has made VR transaction processes more seamless. Body Language Sportswear has been testing a VR app that allows shoppers to move from interactive 360-degree views of its products directly to checkout, without needing to take off the VR headset or pull out their wallets.
The e-Commerce retailer is offering products via the Payscout app, which introduced a VR commerce capability in June 2017. The app integrates with Visa Checkout (VCO), allowing users to register their payment credentials within the digital wallet or access an existing VCO account. The app currently is available for the Google Cardboard hardware, but there are plans to adapt it for iOS and additional VR platforms.
“VR aligns well with our brand and our customer base, which is forward-thinking in every aspect,” said Matthew Cedeno, CEO of Body Language Sportswear in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Every brand wants to provide its customers with a unique shopping experience, and we feel it’s pretty cool to offer something that’s fully immersive, where customers can ‘step in’ to technology that offers 360-degree views and captures all their movements.”
Body Language Sportswear has been acting as an informal focus group for the technology since June, but the retailer plans to give it a major marketing push via social media and other channels when it brings the functionality into its own branded app in December 2017.
“We’ve been testing this with a select few of our customers as well as some of our internal people to get raw feedback,” said Cedeno. “To see them going through the shopping process, they’re in their own world — you see them swiveling their head to get different views. The feedback definitely cements for us that it connects emotionally with our customers, and there’s a lot of evidence that the more you can connect with someone on an emotional level, the better the ROI.”
VR Offers Customer Data Collection Opportunities
In addition to providing a unique shopping experience, Body Language Sportswear plans to use VR to learn more about its customers and their relationship to its products. The Payscout solution can gather multiple data types, including:
• GPS Data: Where shoppers are using the app;
• Time: When people are shopping;
• Device Info: What hardware is being used;
• Connected Devices: Wearables, Bluetooth devices and headphones;
• Interactions: What users interact with, and attempt to interact with, in the VR experience; and
• Gaze: What people are looking at within the experience, and for how long.
“We’re going to work closely with Payscout in terms of the data we’re able to collect,” said Cedeno. “We understand this is going to be another level from the current analytics we’re able to do. As we capture and accumulate data, such as where the customer is looking and how long they’re looking at a particular object, we will be able to fine-tune the things that are working for our customer.”
3 Key Security Components
Any payment technology needs strong security. Payscout offers three layers:
- Tokenization, also known as encryption;
- Anti-fraud tools built into the Visa technology; and
- Payscout Payment Gateway, a Level 1 PCI-compliant payment processing provider.
Additionally, consumer card information, entered when the app is downloaded, is not stored on either the phone or within the app itself.
“We’ve worked with Payscout for eight or nine years, so we know they have a high level of expertise in terms of security,” said Cedeno. “We saw that this would translate seamlessly from shopping to payment.”
Tech Improvements Will Advance Customer Buy-In
While Cedeno is enthusiastic about the immersive nature of the VR technology and the emotional connection it forges with customers, he would like to see some improvements that would align it more with the Body Language Sportswear brand image.
“We would like for our customer to have a headset that they don’t have to hold with their hand,” he said. “We see this evolving into something that’s more sexy, a fashionable piece that would complement the VR experience.”