New Zealand’s first virtual, interactive 3D store

Original article

Spark is changing the way Kiwis shop online with a virtual shopping experience that has been designed to look and feel like a real Spark store. 

The new online offering is the first of its kind in New Zealand – using architecturally accurate modelling and innovative interactive design to create a unique 3D shopping experience. 

 Developed by ARFECTED, in consultation with creative agency 99, it was initially designed to help Spark better serve and connect with its customers who could no longer visit physical stores as a result of Covid-19, but the concept has been expanded to create an entirely new retail experience focused on virtual sales and service. 

The virtual store brings Spark stores into the digital world. It delivers a richer online shopping experience for Spark customers who can explore the virtual store, browse interactive 3D models of key products, view product demos or overviews and chat with retail team members via a Live Chat function. 

Customers can also purchase products by clicking on the ‘buy now’ button, which takes them back to Spark.co.nz to complete their online purchase or chat with a team member to discuss product options, pricing and plans – similar to the experience they would have in store.

Chris Fletcher, Spark Consumer Channels Lead says he is excited to provide customers with an alternative shopping experience as New Zealand begins to adjust to life after lockdown. 

“While we worked hard during lockdown to repurpose some of our stores into no-contact emergency distribution centres, the Covid-19 crisis has prompted us to think about things differently. Unlike our usual website, which is in a more traditional e-commerce format, the virtual store mimics the way people are used to shopping in a brick and mortar store, and provides customers with a unique, useful and enjoyable experience,” he says.

“It is a great example of what Spark is doing to keep the customer experience alive and serve our customer’s needs. It delivers the kind of interaction our customers can relate to and, through a world-class digital experience, bridges the gap between the virtual world and the New Zealand communities that our retail stores are a part of.”

Danielle Barclay, Director of Experience Design at 99 said the project was a great example of brand innovation spurred by the Covid-19 crisis and applying creativity to solve customer problems.

“The team is extremely proud of this innovative project and has worked tirelessly to deliver this ambitious and unique experience while in lockdown,” she says.

Once customers arrive at the virtual world, they will find themselves on a street outside the store, where they can look around at their surroundings. The waterfront surrounds create a distinctly New Zealand atmosphere around the store. 

To enter the store, the customer simply clicks on the front door. Inside, they will find an immersive, 3D display of the latest products, offers and store fittings unique to Spark and will be able to interact with and purchase products, watch demo videos and chat to retail team members.