In today’s hyper-competitive business world, entrepreneurs go to great lengths to stand out. One such boutique store called Carmen Sol made history last month by offering the very first virtual reality shopping experience. You can access Carmen Sol’s virtual store and swivel your view by crawling the store’s ceiling, walls, and floor like a bug.
Click on highlighted arrows on the floor to climb the shelves. Drive along cool grey walls, see the pastel-colored totes, sandals, and bangles up-close, as well as the tanned girl in bikini sitting on rocks in the center of the store. It’s a painting, of course, although the window scene with garden chairs against blazing sky is supposed to be real.
Click on the merchandise of your choice and the product enlarges with details, a zoom option, and the invitation to “Buy Now.” In Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist, Sally Hogshead says that one of the triggers that makes your brand viral is its innovative (or fresh) aspect. Introduce something that’s so poppingly “remarkable” and you get viewers to remark on it.
In my case, I was so captivated by Camen Sol’s 3D store that I emailed its link to others.
Does Carmen Sol’s Captivating Style Help Business?
As many entrepreneurs know, to succeed you need to make money. Oodles of traffic is stupendous as long as visitors buy your products. One of the most common reasons that startups fail is running out of cash too fast. To pay for its online 3D store, Carmen Sol would have needed to finance items such as:
- UX/UI designers
- VR app development planning and process
- Hours of VR coding
- Special materials like Oculus headsets
- A Unity3D cross-platform engine
Depending on which prototype you use, high-quality VR programming takes anywhere from two to twelve hours for two coders and costs as much as $240 per hour in the U.S. and Canada, according to ThinkMobiles. That same mobile app and development company breaks down costs for such a shop as $15,000-$25,000, and that's just for starters. The product designs need to be updated and maintained monthly.
What About Carmen Sol’s Profits?
Over the years, I've interviewed various people on how to make loads of money on a shoestring budget. It was Michael Bruce Rosmer, owner of 14 businesses and investment guru who gave me the most useful response.
“Rich means ‘having a lot of money’ which you need to get from somewhere. Where’s the only place you can get it? From people who already have it. So how do you get them to give it to you? Having something to offer to them, which you'll convince them to give you money in exchange for.
Convincing people they want something is hard, so the easiest way is to offer them something they already want. You just have to convince them to buy it from you rather than someone else, which you can do by being cheaper, more convenient, offering better service, a better guarantee, etc. Namely, offer something a little better for what they are getting than someone else.”
To recap, Rosmer advises that you can become wealthy through:
- Finding something with a decent sized market that you can buy for substantially less than the market price.
- Giving a competitive offer to the people who are already buying this stuff.
- Keeping your spending low so you accumulate as much of the difference as possible.
- Growing your business as big as you can.
How Does Carmen Sol Match Romser’s Prescription?
Carmen Sol’s brand is “Affordable Luxury.” To be more specific, the business says its shoes, handbags, and accessories are made of a jelly material that comes from Italy. This makes the items exotic, sweet-smelling, sexy, eco-friendly, and soft. While their products are more expensive than core competitors, does Carmen Sol convince enough buyers to buy from them, rather than from someone else?
Carmen Sol Reviews
There’s a Carmen Sol 2017 Rip-Off Report with a customer complaining about poor customer service and defective and faulty products. The Google Reviews with ten comments has a representative invalidating that complaint, although two other customers reported similar experiences.
The other reviews praised the quality, design, and comfort, while two reviews mentioned they could purchases the same from elsewhere for lower cost. Amazon Reviews had one customer giving the company five stars, another only three.
While one buyer loved the comfort of the sandals, the other complained her sandals pinched. In short, buyers mostly considered comfort, aesthetics, quality, and price. Most said they found these benefits elsewhere and saw no reason to choose Carmen Sol above competitors.
The Bottom Line
Carmen Sol’s VR site is one amazing piece of marketing, but whether its traffic translates into dollars is another question. If you're launching a company, you need to provide something substantial your targeted buyers need and want. Making history with a marketing shtick is insufficient. You need to give your visitors something innovative, something different, and something that’s needed, too.