This presentation by Anja Husemann reviews 3 methods for immersive experiences seen on Black Friday 2021: Virtual Stores, Live Stream Shopping and Shop with Friends.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove people to choose online shopping over in-person shopping more often. However, a 2021 Raydiant survey found that 46% of U.S. consumers still prefer to shop in-person in 2021 given the choice (a 9% decline from 2020 pre-COVID-19 levels). The main reason -looking to interact with products.

At the same time, retailers are investing in the store’s merchandizing, look and feel, to engage with shoppers, convey brand values and build the brand – something that is at risk when shoppers only buy online, where this experience is harder to replicate.

The result: retailers are exploring Omnichannel to offer immersive shopping experiences through Live Stream Shopping, Virtual Stores and “Shop with Friends”. Here are some recent examples.

Livestream Shopping

In the new digital age, interacting over technology is more important than ever. Live-streamed events are the new way for influencers to continue “meet and greets” with their fans and not be limited by COVID-19 restrictions. Several social media platforms have begun adding live streaming as a part of their services, in addition to pre-existing options like sharing photos and messaging.

Facebook research (Sep., 2021) shows that 78% of global consumers say that the shopping experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. Over half (55%) of Gen Zers and 62% of Millennials say they would buy directly from live videos when brands and creators launch new products.

The idea of brick-and-mortar stores is being reinvented to fit the online lifestyle – and allowing shoppers to “see and feel” the merchandize better.

Virtual Stores

Many stores are creating virtual versions of their physical stores that you can click to walk through. Shoppers can view displays and be directly linked to the products they see. Virtual stores like these are tapping into the metaverse and give the very real feeling of shopping in person without having to actually be there. This is the middle ground for shopping from any location and still being able to experience a physical store.

Shop With Friends

As online shopping becomes more prominent, it’s important for consumers to still be able to interact with friends and share the experience together.

This enables brands to engage shoppers by offering chats (with friends and/or the brand/retailer), including user- and expert – generated content, and create a community.


To view a live example please press here.


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