J. Crew, Laneige, Elizabeth Arden Embrace Virtual Storefronts to Drive Engagement and Loyalty 

Brands and retailers want to boost consumer engagement and loyalty and are willing to go into other mediums, even if there isn’t any publicized data on its conversion results. The latest retailer to make that gamble is J.Crew

In celebration of J. Crew’s 40th anniversary, the brand has unveiled its inaugural immersive shopping experience in collaboration with the eCommerce platform Obsess. Leveraging Obsess’s technology, the collaboration introduces 3D virtual stores that customers can effortlessly access from their smartphones or laptops. 

The Virtual J.Crew Experience  

Imagine a picturesque brown shingled beach house nestled behind graceful stalks of reed grass, where J. Crew customers are in for a unique shopping experience. Just beyond a set of inviting wooden steps and a wraparound porch, shoppers can delve into a captivating world of white-paneled rooms, an enchanting boathouse and a hidden lighthouse. These exquisite spaces showcase the brand’s illustrious history and highlight a curated selection of its most beloved apparel pieces. 

Inside the rooms, customers can explore a variety of barn jackets, sweaters and rugby shirts. Stepping onto the porch, their eyes are met with an enticing arrangement of bathing suits elegantly suspended on a delightful clothesline, infusing the shopping experience with a captivating coastal charm. 

While customers have the freedom to select and purchase items just as they would in any physical J. Crew store, the remarkable aspect of this beach house shopping experience lies in its complete virtual existence. 

Derek Yarbrough, the chief marketing officer of J. Crew and Madewell, revealed to CNBC that the company has plans in store to commemorate the brand’s anniversary. However, he acknowledged the limitations of hosting events primarily in locations like New York and Los Angeles, which restricts the number of attendees able to participate. 

“With Obsess, we were really looking to have an exciting activation that we could execute for a larger audience and reach more of the people who love the brand in a bigger way,” Yarbrough said in an interview. “We really wanted this to be a passport to explore the world of J. Crew … and as the team brainstormed on it, it was a little bit of a no-brainer to take the form of a beach house.”  

Other Retailers Leaning Into the Virtual Experience  

In May, PYMNTS reported that Elizbeth Arden launched its own virtual store that enables browsing, gameplaying and shopping. 

According to a press release from Elizabeth Arden, the beauty brand owned by Revlon, they collaborated with the experiential eCommerce platform Obsess to develop a metaverse shopping experience launched on Tuesday (May 16). 

“We are truly operating as an omnichannel business to evolve our customer experience and engage a whole new generation of shoppers about our products and legacy through digital storytelling,” Revlon Global Chief Marketing Officer Martine Williamson said in the release. 

According to the “Beauty and Wellness Digital Payments Tracker®,” a collaborative effort between PYMNTS and American Express, selling beauty products online can be challenging due to customers’ preference for experiencing the products in person. However, digital technology has the potential to bridge this gap by providing consumers with an immersive experience through their screens. 

Through the experience, customers can expect interactive elements that enable visitors to fully engage with the brand’s history and its founder through immersive historical photos. Additionally, visitors can partake in games and quizzes to enhance their knowledge about skincare products and regimens. Furthermore, while browsing the site, users can collect tokens that can be redeemed for prizes, adding an element of excitement to their virtual shopping experience. 

Read more: Elizabeth Arden Launches Shoppable Virtual Store to Reach New Generation 

Beauty brand Laneige also made its foray is into the virtual world to showcase its newest collection. A highlight of this virtual space is the Laneige Lab, a specially designed room that allows customers to delve deeply into the brand’s skincare product ingredients and learn about their numerous benefits.  

According to Julien Bouzitat, the chief marketing officer of AmorePacific U.S., the parent company of Laneige, the virtual stores have been designed to serve as a captivating tool for engaging customers. These immersive virtual experiences are crafted with the intention of captivating shoppers by showcasing Laneige’s distinctive scientific expertise and a plethora of digital content. 

Read more: Beauty Brand Laneige Ditches Sensory Experience for Virtual Shopping  

The Hope With Virtual Mediums  

Today, consumers are increasingly inclined to explore and make purchases through digital platforms. The approach not only offers enhanced convenience but also addresses the limitations of traditional online shopping, where customers cannot physically interact with products before making a purchase decision. By embracing digital avenues, customers can have a more immersive and interactive shopping experience that bridges the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. 

That said, with consumers’ ongoing embrace of the digital landscape, virtual beauty shopping stores have emerged as a powerful tool for brands to captivate and retain their target audience. By leveraging these virtual platforms’ potential, brands can effectively engage with customers, offering them unique and immersive experiences that go beyond traditional shopping methods.  

For all PYMNTS retail coverage, subscribe to the daily Retail Newsletter.