Iconic department store Bloomingdale’s is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a new virtual store, designed by Emperia, that will go live during New York Fashion Week, which starts September 9.
Virtual department stores aren’t a new concept. You might recall eBay doing something similar in 2013, and individual brands more recently. In fact, the concept is something Bloomingdale’s has worked on for a while as it created a more robust relationship with its retailers and customers.
The department store’s chief marketing officer Frank Berman told TechCrunch via email that the company “experimented with virtual fashion shows and interactive windows” over the past 10 years, but that the 150th anniversary “gave us the opportunity to think bigger and put our customers front-and-center.”
“Working with Emperia, we were able to see the potential of creating an immersive, virtual shopping experience which was a natural progression of our legacy, including 360-degree views of exclusive luxury products, an interactive 40 Carrots frozen yogurt experience, Big Brown Drones and lots of fun surprises,” Berman said.
Bloomingdale’s virtual store will initially feature collections from brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, David Yurman, MCM, Byredo and Baccarat. The possibilities the department store can offer in the future is “endless” and “not limited to physical space,” Berman said.
Meanwhile, the company creating a presence in the metaverse now is about leaning in on multi-generational customers and providing new experiences based on how differently each generation prefers to shop, Berman added.
“Virtual showrooms in the metaverse is the next phase of where the retail industry is going, and it provides an opportunity for customers to have an engaging, immersive experience that connects them to the brand and our store while also enabling us to see what users are most interested in through unique data insights,” he said. “In a way, moving into the metaverse is really just an extension of what Bloomingdale’s has been doing for 150 years.”