This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Emperia started by Olga Dogadkina in the retail industry space to help businesses in fashion and art boost their sales and customer engagement through virtual reality. Here is the story of Emperia in Olga’s own words.
We create immersive virtual spaces and can digitalize any real store or product, or create something completely different that would only exist digitally to represent the brand online. Our goal is to build the luxury virtual shopping mall of the future, where the customer will be able to navigate a multitude of luxury brands in the virtual space.
Introduce us to your idea. What is Emperia all about?
When we shop online, many websites look the same. It is always a white grid with a list of products, which makes it difficult to differentiate between luxury and high-street brands. Customer and brand experience is one of the main reasons people buy luxury products, and they are looking for a seamless experience across physical and digital channels. However brand experience is almost impossible to translate into the two-dimensional web page.
We use Virtual Reality to translate and enhance the digital experience across all platforms. We create virtual stores and galleries in 3D that can be accessed on any device connected to the internet, allowing the brands to showcase their identity online and engaging the consumers on a new level.
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Emperia?
My own background is in luxury fashion. I always thought that there’s so much more to online shopping than a boring grid. I believe in making real-life experiences more accessible, regardless of timezone or location. We want to change the way people interact with art and fashion, and switch the focus of e-commerce from convenience to experience.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting? How are you cost-conscious?
We are currently self-funded so we don’t have a massive marketing budget. However, our customers enjoy our product so much that each of them has referred to at least one more. Other than that, we are active on social media and have just redesigned our website and started investing in SEO. It is sometimes challenging to implement our ideas on a startup budget, but we always base our strategic decisions on customer feedback to make sure whatever we invest in does not go to waste.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what were your learning?
In the beginning we went after too many sectors, diluting our business model to be more of an agency-based, which I quickly realised wasn’t the right move. We’ve also learnt that forcing technology adoption on consumers is not a great idea, as we started pushing headset-based software sales before our target market was truly ready for it. However this taught us to adapt and always listen to our clients.
Hence my advice to the entrepreneur reader is to listen to your customers, trust your instincts and always hire better people than yourself!
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