Capturing a New Generation of Consumers: Insights from eTail West 2024

At eTail West 2024, Obsess’ CEO and Founder, Neha Singh, joined a panel with retail leaders from Nike and ThirdLove to discuss the evolution of online retail and its future. The conversation, centered on attracting and engaging the next generation of consumers, took a deep dive into some of the innovative strategies that are setting new benchmarks for the industry.

Neha’s participation was driven by Obsess’ commitment to understanding the unique shopping preferences and digital behaviors of younger consumers. This demographic’s expectations are shaped by rapid technological advancements and a seamless blend of online and offline experiences. The panel provided a platform to discuss how brands are pioneering new ways to captivate this audience.

Leading with Virtual Stores in a Gaming-Native World

One of the highlights of the discussion was the emphasis on virtual stores and their significance in engaging a gaming-native audience.

With more than 80% of consumers today saying that they play video games, and an even higher percentage for Gen Z, the integration of gamification into shopping experiences is not just innovative—it’s essential. Obsess’ virtual store platform represents the forefront of this integration, offering immersive, interactive environments that draw on the engagement mechanics of video games.

During the panel, Neha shared how Obsess-powered virtual stores are designed to make shopping more dynamic and personalized, incorporating features like in-scene videos, dynamic merchandising and AI-powered content. This approach resonates deeply with a demographic that values engaging, interactive digital experiences, bridging the gap between gaming and shopping to create a memorable, captivating online environment.

The Future of Shoppable Video and AI Personalization

The panel also discussed the untapped potential of shoppable video in the U.S. and the transformative impact it has had in other markets. The conversation ventured into the role of AI in retail, particularly in personalizing the shopping journey.

At Obsess, we’re leveraging AI to revolutionize how consumers discover products, using new technologies such as virtual assistants and AI-powered recommendation engines that provide tailored shopping experiences. This technology is instrumental in meeting the demands for personalization among younger consumers, offering them recommendations and experiences that align with their unique preferences and shopping behaviors.

Shaping the Future of Online Retail

The discussions at eTail West 2024 underscored the transformative impact of emerging technologies on online retail. As companies continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in e-commerce, online customer experiences will only continue to get better and more akin to real life.

By embracing new technologies, such as 3D virtual stores and AI-driven personalization, brands are poised to not only respond to the evolving needs of the next generation of consumers; they will actively lead retail into its next era.

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Alo Yoga and Obsess Introduce “alo Sanctuary,” a Wellness-Inspired Shopping App for Apple Vision Pro

Alo Yoga, in collaboration with Obsess, has launched “alo Sanctuary,” a new visionOS app exclusively designed for Apple’s new spatial computing device, Apple Vision Pro. This app represents a significant advancement in the integration of wellness and retail, offering a first-of-its-kind shopping experience that combines high-definition, hyper realistic meditation environments with the ability to shop Alo Yoga’s premium collections in immersive, contextual 3D spaces. 

Inside the alo Sanctuary for Apple Vision Pro

alo Sanctuary leverages the advanced features of Apple Vision Pro to provide users with a shopping experience that is both immersive and innovative. The application features four hyper realistic contextual virtual environments: the beach, mountains, canyons, and jungle. Each setting is tailored to showcase Alo Yoga’s collections in Navy, Midnight Green, Espresso, and Wild Berry, respectively—allowing consumers to visualize the apparel in various outdoor settings.

The environments are enhanced with life-size, styled mannequins, offering an interactive element to the online shopping experience. The app seamlessly blends these virtualized outdoor settings into users’ physical living spaces.

Ultra High Definition Environments and Products

Products in Alo Yoga App for Apple Vision Pro, powered by Obsess

The app’s commitment to an immersive experience doesn’t stop with stunning visuals. Obsess has partnered with Alo to redefine product interaction through the introduction of life-size, styled mannequins within each environment. These mannequins, which users can rotate and interact with, offer a novel way to explore products in detail, mimicking an in-store experience in a digital realm.

Products are rendered at such high definition that a Vision Pro user could physically pull fabrics close enough to see granular weaves and textures, or decipher one spandex type from another. This level of interaction introduces a new dimension to online shopping, making it more engaging and informative.

Scheduled seasonal updates promise to keep the app’s collections and experiences fresh and engaging, encouraging users to return and explore new offerings in the ever-evolving digital sanctuary.

A Marriage of Meditation and Retail

Meditation in Alo Yoga Apple Vision Pro App, Powered by Obsess

Alo enriches the user journey by integrating elements of wellness directly into the shopping experience. Complimentary meditation exercises, once exclusive to Alo Moves, Alo’s subscription-based wellness platform, are now accessible within the app.

With over 20 different meditation sessions distributed across the environments, users can enjoy a moment of calm, fostering a holistic and soothing shopping journey. This feature underscores Alo’s dedication to promoting wellness, ensuring that users receive not just a product but an experience that nurtures the mind, body, and spirit.

Fashion’s New Era of Spatial Shopping

alo Sanctuary is paving the way for a new era in online shopping, combining immersive technology with wellness—while leveraging spatial storytelling to create deeper and more meaningful connections with their consumers. It transcends the traditional shopping experience by offering moments of tranquility and mindfulness, alongside the opportunity to engage with products in a novel and immersive manner.

The alo Sanctuary app is now available for download on the App Store, exclusively for Apple Vision Pro users.

Apple Vision Pro Design and Development Services

Obsess is developing highly visual, interactive and tailored shopping experiences to help fashion brands, like Alo Yoga, revolutionize storytelling and engage consumers digitally like never before.

Brands can work with Obsess to conceptualize, design and develop their visionOS apps and immersive browser-based experiences. These can include virtual stores, tools to mix-and-match outfits, shop with friends or sales associates from afar—or even bring an outdoor space right into an indoor home. Apple Pay is available to implement on all Apple Vision Pro apps, enabling a seamless checkout.

If you are interested in creating an experience for Apple Vision Pro for your brand, book a demo or send a message to today.

The Retail Technology Trends Predicted to Dominate 2024

We are only a few short days into 2024 but, as always, the retail industry is already looking toward its next evolution. While 2023 was defined by a mass awakening to the power and availability of AI and machine learning, 2024 will take these learnings and employ them at scale to deepen personalization efforts and bring customer-centricity further into the forefront. Retailers will look to create hyper-personalized, differentiated, valuable customer experiences that focus on brand memorability and meaning. Obsess predicts that 2024 retail technologies will revolve around four primary trends:

  1. The advent of spatial computing with Apple’s new Vision Pro device.
  2. A persistent growth in AI-driven personalization and predictive content.
  3. Gamification’s triumph as a necessity in online shopping.
  4. The evolution of dynamic merchandising strategies to enhance customer engagement and drive cross-selling initiatives.
Apple Vision Pro - virtual shopping experiences for brands

Retail Technology Trend Prediction #1: 2024’s newest buzz phrase will be: “spatial computing,” courtesy of Apple Vision Pro.

The new year is set to embrace the mainstream emergence of “spatial computing,” marked by Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro device. This technology—driven by enhanced processors, ultra-high definition and global network speeds—promises revolutionary immersive shopping experiences. By integrating 3D digital interfaces mirroring human interactions, spatial computing transcends conventional online shopping encounters.

The arrival of Apple Vision Pro heralds a new era by seamlessly merging virtual and physical realms through a blend of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). This device allows products to appear life-size in a user’s physical space via AR, enabling interaction through intuitive gestures with eyes, hands and voice. Although positioned at a premium price point, it aligns naturally with brands targeting innovation or luxury customers, typically gaining traction through early app store downloads.

Over the next year and the subsequent five or so years, expect spatial computing devices and apps to gain widespread adoption—providing a more natural, intuitive, and human-centered way of engaging with technology. The emergence of Apple Vision Pro could very well draw similarities from the advent of the iPhone.

Retail Technology Trend Prediction #2: AI will continue to dominate content creation.

AI continues to hold a pivotal role in crafting highly personalized and predictive content in retail, and even more notably in e-commerce. Advanced algorithms and data analytics decode intricate consumer behaviors, enabling tailored shopping experiences. From intuitive chatbots offering real-time assistance to precise product recommendations, AI-generated content and experiences will continue to enhance engagement and satisfaction aligned to bespoke customer journeys.

Obsess, in partnership with Coresight Research, reported in Q4 2023 that immersive experiences would be a top three priority investment area for brands and retailers during the following 12 months, Within immersive experiences, data/AI-enabled content for personalization ranked as the top investment priority.

According to the report: 71% of US-based brands and retailers have already invested in data/AI-enabled content for personalization. Of these brands and retailers, 77% reported significant or moderate increases in online sales.

Retail Technology Trend Prediction #3: Gamification will go from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have in e-commerce.

In order to stay relevant in 2024: retailers will need to incorporate principles of game play into their online shopping experiences. With over 80% of consumers engaged in video games, integrating gamified shopping experiences becomes pivotal to capturing and retaining younger demographics.

Gamified shopping content will become a direct line for brands to capture the attention of Gen Z. Similar to how social media once served as the ticket to captivate millennials, branded gaming will be the gateway for businesses to connect with Gen Z and younger demographics. 

For brands and retailers to thrive in the current shopping landscape, embracing gamification as a core element of their digital approach will be crucial. Obsess has created over 300 virtual stores for brands, and the data from these stores proves that when brands add gamification into their virtual shopping experiences; they increase shoppers’ likelihood to add to cart by 10X, compared to when they do not include the feature at all.

Templated virtual stores - drag and drop products

Retail Technology Trend Prediction #4: Dynamic merchandising will elevate customer engagement.

Online retail strategies in 2024 will lean toward more dynamic merchandising, emboldened by data-driven insights and AI-driven analytics. Digital marketplaces will adeptly adjust product displays and content in real-time to show a wider, yet more tailored, assortment. These immersive displays will not only increase engagement and retention, but they will also unlock new opportunities for cross-sells and up-sells.

Virtual stores are types of immersive 3D experiences that harness spatial analytics, enabling the continuous fine-tuning of shopping environments using live data. Similar to physical store setups, virtual store managers can analyze browsing and buying patterns by rearranging products in diverse sections of the 3D space efficiently and cost-effectively. 

Crate & Barrel Virtual Flagship Store, powered by Obsess - Inside View

2024 promises to redefine the retail technology landscape with:

  • Apple Vision Pro leading spatial computing advancements.
  • AI’s continued dominance in crafting hyper-personalized content.
  • The imperative integration of gaming principles into online shopping.
  • Dynamic merchandising strategies that enhance engagement and cross-sells in e-commerce.

Brands and retailers that embrace these trends will cement their roles as critical players in the next generation of online shopping.