Crate & Barrel Launches Virtual Store Re-Creation of its New York Flagship
Crate & Barrel has launched its first immersive virtual store in partnership with experiential e-commerce platform Obsess. The fully shoppable virtual environment takes the form of Crate & Barrel's new flagship store in New York City, which features engaging animations and interactive personalization tools that let consumers visualize their own sofa and living room set and build their own bouquet using the brand's selection of vases and botanicals.
The virtual store is among the largest fully 3D-rendered spaces that Obsess has created to date, offering more than 450 products and eight interactive room environments, including separate dining, kitchen, living room, botanical shop and Crate & Kids areas.
Sebastian Brauer, senior vice president, product design, visual and head of Web 3.0 at Crate & Barrel, was interviewed by Total Retail about this news.
Total Retail: Why has Crate & Barrel decided to launch its first virtual store?
Sebastian Brauer: As a brand, we've been investing heavily in omnichannel and Web 3.0 technologies to ensure that we're at the forefront of retail and tech innovation. The goal and purpose of the 3D virtual store with Obsess was to give all of our customers an immersive experience to access our new New York City Flatiron flagship from wherever they are.
TR: What will the experience be like for visitors to the virtual store?
SB: Visitors to the virtual store will have the opportunity to experience some of our favorite Crate & Barrel products, explore and navigate through a digital replica of our new flagship store in Flatiron, access content, customize furniture, and arrange their own bouquet using our brand's selection of vases and botanicals. The experience gives the visitor an interactive way to engage with our brand’s world while still having an easy and elevated shopping experience the same way they would by stepping into a physical store.
TR: How does this virtual store complement Crate & Barrel's existing physical stores, particularly its flagship location in New York City?
SB: The virtual store is a photorealistic reimagination of our physical flagship store in New York City with whimsical virtual elements, such as animations and customization tools customers couldn’t use in the physical world. Additionally, we wanted to give our global customers a way to experience the flagship store without having to travel to the New York store location.
TR: Why was Obsess the right partner for this project?
SB: Obsess is the leader in creating immersive experiences for brands, and it has a strong expertise and track record in creating hyper-realistic, design-centric virtual stores that also fits the Crate & Barrel brand with seamless UX and UI that makes it easy and intuitive for the user.
TR: How will Crate & Barrel be tracking visitors to virtual store? What's the strategy for re-engaging them across multiple channels?
SB: We can use Obsess’s data visualization tool to better understand total visits and engagement with the virtual store and how they're interacting with the product. With this information we can continue to customize the virtual store experience, set-up, messaging and offerings to provide a tailored experience for our customers.
TR: What goal(s) is Crate & Barrel trying to accomplish with its virtual store?
SB: Our goal is to build an omnichannel shopping experience for our customers and this virtual store is just one way our customers can interact with our brand, products and services in a unique way. The interactive features like the Botanical Shop and Design Desk give more meaning and purpose to every shopper's experience with our brand.
Related story: How AI Will Impact the Holiday Shopping Experience