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Virtual shopping with a difference

Avenue Imperial

Clock were approached by Avenue Imperial with a brand-new idea for online shopping. Having previously seen Clock’s work in a pitch for a different project, Avenue Imperial came back to us when they wanted to turn this idea into a digital reality.

Avenue Imperial had developed a concept for a “third way of shopping”. Traditional shopping means either physically going to the store, which isn’t always convenient, or using standard e-commerce channels, which offer very little in the way of a luxury experience or personal touch. But what if you could combine both to create luxury virtual shopping, with the convenience of digital and the personal service of a high-end retail experience? Customers could browse real-life stores with 3D tours and interact with real-time sales assistants, as well as make purchases online. Great for customers: with 75% of a high-end shop’s inventory not sold online, they miss out if they don’t shop in-store. Great for shops too, providing a direct and personal link to virtual customers and an opportunity for upselling.

Store selector

The Brand-new Retail Concept

The platform was aimed at wealthy individuals shopping in exclusive boutiques, both locally and internationally. Avenue Imperial wanted to create a first-class user experience, as well as a luxurious look and feel, backed up by a robust and reliable platform.

Avenue Imperial commissioned Clock to work on all aspects of the project, from branding to UX and design, from development to hosting and 24/7 support. As their chosen digital partner, Clock had a very strong working relationship with Avenue Imperial and the complex project progressed smoothly within tight timeframes. Given that it was an entirely new concept being launched, Clock allowed for post-launch modifications based on user reactions and needs.

Unique online shopping experience

The Approach

The idea was to create a virtual store, with regularly updated virtual tours of each high-end boutique. It would operate in real time, with seamless links to e-commerce and store-based sales assistants. Given the international target market, Clock developed a slick and pared-back design, using icons wherever possible as a common visual language. Each store would choose its own base language (any Latin language could be accommodated). Every element of UX was given the high-spec treatment, for example when taking a SnapShot on the virtual tour, the user hears the picture being taken, with full sound integration.

The brand presence was unique: it was about engaging directly with the store, both in terms of a luxury experience, with the tours, and on a personal level, with the sales assistant. Clock came up with a design with high production values to reflect the high-end branding. The emphasis was on the individual stores, rather than the interface, with the aim of making the virtual boutiques as luxurious as they were in real life. This upmarket feel was carried through to the finest details, such as specially designed icons for a bespoke visual style and super-smooth transitions between screens for a seamless experience.

We developed real-time communication for the sales assistants using websockets, as well as a unified development workflow for the interface between customer and shop. For the stores, we built a separate ‘sales assistant’ app for each department relating to the different virtual tours on the website. The tours were implemented using an optimal 3D panorama viewer, integrated with the SnapShot functionality. This allows users to take a photo of something they like and either share it via social media or directly connect to the sales assistant to discuss it. We also integrated external in-line e-commerce information and third-party payment providers (PayPal).