After researching and developing Virtual Stores for the last 12 months, these are the key things that make them better than a standard website and I would argue better than instore and online combined.
Being able to connect with someone from a shop is pretty darn important, most of the time its the reason we go to a store in person, because we want ask specific questions that a chatbot cant answer. So its critical that when you decide to build your first virtual store that you have the ability to have multiple people in the space at the same time. It could be for staff to answer questions, for people to interact with each other or for a product expert to host the space interact with your customers.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to get over was that 'not everyone believes in VR as much as i do'. It was a hard pill to swallow. Not everyone has a VR headset and businesses see that. So when your going down the route of building an amazing 3d space that can only be accessed via a headset, remember everyone has phones and computers that can access the web, so design for that first and have the VR experience for those that are lucky enough to own one.
Touching on the first point of visiting a store, people also love to interact and pick up products. They want to see the scale and the build quality. So its very important that your experience allows its users to actually interact with the products, let them pick it up, let them throw it, let them shrink it and grow it to a massive size, let them have fun.
What does this mean? Its the feeling of going to a shopping centre and finding a store that has just opened and it has really cool products that you weren't expecting to see. Its that feeling that makes you feel like a kid again, its that pure joy that rushes over your whole body. When these experiences are designed, they need to be well thought out down to every pixel, but also what the user will 'feel' during the experience is fundamental.