Bloomingdale’s Launches Virtual Store

The new virtual shopping experience includes collaborations with Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Nespresso.
Connor Perrett
a bloomingdales store
  • Bloomingdale’s this week launched a new virtual shopping experience.
  • The digital store, developed by Emperia, features products from Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Nespresso. 
  • Retailers are tapping into virtual store experiences — especially for the holiday season — that gamify the e-commerce experience.

Bloomingdale’s this week launched a new virtual reality store that will feature products and experiences from Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Nespresso. 

According to a Nov. 21 release sent to Retail Leader, the virtual experience was created by the virtual reality technology developer Emperia, a New York and London-based company whose clients include Dior, Burberry, Christie’s and Getty Images.

The brands partnering with Bloomingdale’s will have a unique space that lets them tell their brand “story,” according to the release. Virtual shoppers can take the digital elevator located in the store to transition from one brand’s shopping experience to another. 

The Chanel experience is located on the virtual moon and the Ralph Lauren experience takes place in a “magical holiday forest” that leads shoppers to a ski chalet, while the Nespresso store is located at a virtual Parisian cafe. In addition to the spaces for the partnering retailers, the virtual store will also feature holiday exclusives, like a luxury beauty and spa room, a party room and a gifting experience, the release said. 

“Emperia believes that the multi-brand virtual experience will become the new department store of the future,” said Olga Dogadkina, the co-founder and CEO of Emperia, in the release. “The virtual environment provides endless opportunities for brand creativity, design and user engagement, breaking barriers of accessibility and physical space limitations — providing a new technology playground for retailers.”

Bloomingdale’s is the latest retailer to launch a virtual experience. Several retailers have recently unveiled virtual shopping experiences ahead of the holiday shopping season. Retailers have experimented with virtual stores that gamify their digital shopping experiences. 

Coach’s virtual holiday store taps into holiday nostalgia and features a retro gift shop and a secret room available only to shoppers who complete a virtual challenge, according to a report by Glossy. Each of the rooms in Coach’s virtual experience include products from its holiday range; andCrocs also launched a virtual holiday experience that includes a quiz, a game and four unique rooms that allow shoppers to interact with virtual products, as reported byGlossy.  

“The way that we think about these virtual experiences is that they really should drive acquisition with consumers that we don’t reach on other platforms,” Crocs Vice President Feliz Papich told Women’s Wear Daily. “I think opportunity number one is to reach and acquire additional consumers. And then opportunity number two is the personalization and the conversation with the consumer going forward.”

American Eagle is another retailer that has bet on virtual experiences to help drive product sales. In November, the retailer launched its latest virtual shopping experience through a Snapchat lens, which helps shoppers choose an outfit for the holidays. Shoppers can also virtually try on items, like hats and scarves. The retailer last year said it brought in $2 million in sales through a Snapchat holiday pop-up in 2020.

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