Immersive virtual retail firm Emperia has raised a $10m (£8.1m) Series A round to further develop its virtual retail platform and bring “metaverse e-commerce” to new international markets and retail sectors. The round was led by Base10 Partners and joined by investors including Daphni (via its retail fund Dastore), Sony Innovation Fund, Background Capital, Stanford Capital Partners and Concept Ventures. Angels include Blissgrowth’s Jay Radia.
Launched by fashion and retail expert Olga Dogadkina and VR innovation expert Simonas Holcmann in 2019, Emperia has developed a platform which powers the creation of immersive virtual experiences for brands across multiple retail sectors. The platform marries the reach and accessibility of eCommerce with the impact of in-person retail, giving companies the tech and visual infrastructure to build and manage powerful virtual stores.
These virtual spaces enhance omnichannel retail strategies by creating new digital touchpoints that drive engagement and increase sales. Crucially, Emperia said, the virtual worlds it makes possible are powerful drivers of revenue. It said the platform has driven increased conversion rates for its brand partners by an average of 73% (vs. regular eCommerce websites) since its inception in 2019, with an average ROI of 750%. Globally, more than $120bn was invested in metaverse technologies in the first five months of 2022, with 79% of consumers active in the metaverse making a purchase whilst there.
Emperia is already partnering with globally-renowned retail brands including Bloomingdales, Dior, Sunglass Hut and Lacoste, as they look to cultivate impactful, on-brand experiences and bring a powerful new dimension to online retail, transforming the future of shopping for digital natives.
Emperia will use this fresh funding to grow its team, develop its virtual store SaaS platform and deepen the capabilities of the data suite that powers it. Emperia also plans to utilise virtual store customer data to provide retailers with even better tools with which to personalise the customer experience.
Emperia will also work with partners to bring various global virtual eCommerce solutions under one roof, leveraging the fast-growing Web3 ecosystem and its partners’ unique brand and retail technologies.
“While working in fashion, it became clear to me that eCommerce was the future, but 2D websites were merely a tool that enabled an online purchase, but were lacking the customer journey and storytelling that brands are after,” said Emperia CEO and Co-founder, Olga Dogadkina. “The solution was to bridge that gap, with the aim of making virtual experiences into the future of brands’ long-term eCommerce strategy.
“We are strong believers in data-reliance and as such all our virtual experiences are developed incorporating analytics, which is reflected in layout, design, user experience and merchandise placement. Crucially, we’re doing this in a way that has a demonstrable impact on sales, traffic, engagement and brand perception.
“I’m confident that the pool of participating investors in this round, from both the US and Europe, will make for a great network of advisors as Emperia continues its global expansion, pioneering eCommerce's next generation. I’m looking forward to delivering an even more impactful experience for our brand partners.”