Learn how The Black Virtual Mall revolutionized online shopping and used vFairs to create a completely new concept.
What is the Black Virtual Mall?
The Black Virtual Mall is a completely new idea in the world of virtual events. It is a virtual mall, complete with kiosks, shops, and even a food court and cinema. Its founder, Alquincia Selolwane, leveraged existing virtual event solutions to create a permanent virtual property. This venue is home to a variety of Black-owned businesses who lease the virtual space monthly.
Alquincia and her team take applications for new vendors every month, and have them pay a venue rental fee, based on the type of shop or kiosk they choose. These kiosks and shops are arranged along multiple floors, which visitors can navigate through. In addition, visitors can even order food through the vendors in the food court. Selolwane started this project as a way to promote Black businesses and bring them to the technological forefront.
Alquinica did her initial research after experiencing a few virtual events herself. She searched various online event hosting platforms and tried to find the one which best suited her needs. She chose vFairs for many reasons, like:
- Ease of use
- Customer support
- Ability to DIY
In addition, Selolwane reported that she is in constant contact with the vFairs team for various aspects. These include seasonal design changes, vendor additions, and other such customizations.
How the Black Virtual Mall Opens Up New Possibilities
The Black Virtual Mall is worth talking about just because of its sheer innovation. It is truly a glimpse into the future of ecommerce and virtual real estate. It has been slated as the first virtual commercial property development project in the world. So, it takes virtual event solution tools and uses them in a way that fits with the upcoming dominance of virtual reality and metaverse.
Furthermore, this is one of the first projects which opens up the world of virtual real estate. Vendors can submit applications to rent out shop spaces for various fees. There is currently a cap of 500 vendors at any time, and there is a constant waitlist to become a vendor in this mall
Once the metaverse takes off, this can translate into a whole new industry. In fact, concepts like virtual property are already cropping up. The Black Virtual Mall is one of the most organized and productive use-cases of this concept. It could very well be the future of shopping.
There are a few features that really helped bring this innovative concept to fruition. Most of these were used for the first time for such a project, and worked out quite well.
Slelowane really wanted to replicate the environment of a real-life mall in the virtual world. She felt that even with a futuristic concept, it was best to stick with something visitors would be familiar with. So, she worked with vFairs to create a multi-storey mall, complete with a food court and cinema.
In addition there was extensive addition to detail. For example, she wanted to make sure the windows in the background of the floors reflected the feel of going up with each level. In addition, the avatars in the mall reflect the Black-owned nature of the project. These avatars and her attention to design really make this virtual mall stand out. Furthermore, with seasonal events like Halloween and Christmas, she wanted the virtual environment altered to celebrate them.
This was one of the deciding factors which made vFairs the platform for Selolwane. Its integrations with various payment portals made the mall concept become a reality. It prevented the organizers from having to deal with the sales themselves.
Instead, visitors can visit the shops, choose the product they want, and buy it right there. So, seamless integrations with payment gateways is the perfect feature for a virtual mall.
The booths, i.e, the shops and kiosk are the main feature of The Black Virtual Mall. Selolwane wanted different tiers for her various kiosks, shops, and premium stores. So, she had different types designed for each shop category. In addition, she made sure that the various sections of each shop could be individually linked, so that visitors can directly buy a product instead of going through multiple landing pages.
Furthermore, she allowed business owners to upload welcome videos for their booths. These replicate the experience of a shop greeter, so that visitors feel more comfortable.
As with a regular mall, The Black Virtual Mall has various holiday events. For Halloween, Selolwane had a scavenger hunt, where visitors had to find hidden pumpkins in the virtual environment to win prizes. This sort of gamification, along with leaderboards, improves the interaction and engagement at the mall.
In The Spotlight: Food Court
The food court is one of the most unique aspects of this project. It is integrated with various food delivery services, and lets visitors order food to their homes. So, various Black-owned eateries can set up their booths there, based on their applications being accepted.
This feature is the first of its kind, and is highly appreciated by Selolwane, the vendors, and the visitors. So, it can very well become a more common occurrence.
In conclusion, The Black Virtual Mall is a truly revolutionary event for the industry. It not only empowers Black businesses, but also opens up new opportunities for ecommerce and the shopping experience.