Virtual store builder Emperia recently announced a new funding round, as well as hints at how that funding round will impact their roadmap going forward. In the meantime, PINKO is joining the list of retailers showing us what Emperia is already capable of.
PINKO’s Virtual Store From Emperia
Emperia isn’t a Harry Potter spell, it’s a tech company that “marries the reach and accessibility of e-commerce with the impact of physical customer service shopping experience.” ARPost first met Emperia about a year ago when the company launched “Artemis”, its software-as-a-service solution for virtual storefronts.
“With the realization that clients will be using these spaces in the long term, and the need to constantly change/update the virtual store the same way they would change their physical space, Emperia created a platform that enables full customization of product displays as well as decor, allowing brands full creative control,” Emperia co-founder and CEO Olga Dogadkina said last year.
PINKO, the other name in our story, might be less familiar to ARPost readers. The Italian womens fashion brand is using Emperia to open its first virtual storefront and explore virtual sale items. The opening of their first virtual store coincides with the opening of a new brick-and-mortar boutique location in Milan, according to a release shared with ARPost.
“Opening in such a prestigious and internationally established location, we decided as a mission statement to give global resonance to our new and unique store,” said PINKO CEO and founder Pietro Negra. “The virtual shop is the most innovative environment that can guarantee us the possibility of expanding our vision of engagement for our consumers everywhere.”
A Look at the Virtual Store
To be clear, PINKO isn’t a stranger to e-commerce generally. The company’s online purchasing infrastructure is already robust. However, there’s a big difference between experiencing the PINKO shopping experience online and the PINKO shopping experience in one of their stores. Their virtual store from Emperia is partially intended to help bridge that gap.
Further, PINKO’s one-room virtual storefront in the clouds isn’t only for physical goods. Interactive 3D models of PINKO’s recognizable handbags help users understand the physical bags that they can purchase through the experience. Some of the 3D models also represent “Meta Love Bags” – an exclusive line of NFTs.
“Our 3D technology ensures a high merchandise-viewing quality, which complements its real-life twin product, to the smallest detail, allowing PINKO to present and directly-sell its exclusive capsule collection in a way that simulates a realistic shopping experience,” Dogadkina said in the release.
$10M Can Do a Lot for a Good Roadmap
Of course, there’s also big news for Emperia. The company recently announced a $10M series A funding round led by Base10 but including a number of other funders including the Sony Innovation Fund.
“I’m confident that the pool of participating investors in this round, from both the U.S and Europe, will make for a great network of advisors as Emperia continues its global expansion, pioneering e-commerce’s next generation,” said Dogadkina “I’m looking forward to delivering an even more impactful experience for our brand partners.”
The release also included some insights into what the company plans to do with the funding round. Goals include growing the team, improving Artemis, developing its customer data suite, and increasing the platform’s market presence. The release also expresses the intent to work with more partners in the space, which is always exciting for the product and the general field.
Speaking of the general field, the comments provided by investors help to speak to Emperia’s exact position within the emerging technology ecosystem. Base10 partner Luci Fonseca described Emperia as a “Web 2.5” solution.
“It is a device-agnostic bridge for brands to engage with a new generation of consumers while driving real commerce,” Fonseca said in the release. “Emperia is pioneering the development of virtual store creation and maintenance, and we’re excited to be partnering with a team that is truly building for the future of e-commerce.”
InfiniteWorld CEO Brad Allen used “Web 2.5” to describe his company “building a bridge to Web3” in an October interview with ARPost. The term is gaining traction in the industry to describe experiences that utilize and explore emerging trends like immersive tech or blockchain without relying on them completely as a business model.
More Coming Soon
It’s naturally exciting to see a company in the space clear funding rounds, particularly with prodigious investors like those backing Emperia. It’s even more exciting to see the sorts of plans that the company has for that money. Checking in with companies like PINKO to see how these movements are affecting their business models also sounds like a promising discussion.