You thought buying online was shaking up the retail world? Imagine being able to deck out your house in furniture and appliances from a photo, or see exactly how makeup looks on your face without trying it on. These are just two examples of how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are taking shopping experiences to a whole new level - in store, on phones and from the comfort of home.
This is technology that recreates the real-world situations where you can react and interact. To experience VR you need a dedicated (and pricey) VR headset, Google Cardboard or one of the other low-cost, low-tech products that can transform smartphones into headsets.
Takes the physical and emotional buying experience to the next level by superimposing computer generated sensory inputs on top of the real world (Pokémon was an early example). From there customers can modify and customise products and services. AR is more like an app that can be downloaded to your Smartphone and other devices.
While Pokémon hysteria may have died down, thirst for these new technologies only just getting quenched. According to the new report "Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market' there is huge expectations for both:
Combining the best of the digital and physical worlds opens up many opportunities for all kinds of retail goods and services from household items, clothes, health and games, to travel, learning and sporting experiences by:
Whether it's online or in-store, there are many ways that shopping will become a more pleasurable, personal and productive experience through:
Many retailers are already trialling VR and AR technology to boost customer experiences such as:
14% of IKEA customers take home furniture that's the wrong size for its intended location. The furniture giant is solving that problem with AR technology that allows people to try out select products in their homes with a blend of printed catalogue, mobile app and smartphone or tablet.
To boost instore excitement and sales, products can be positioned in front of the AR enabled screen that projects a digital version of the toy inside. Children get to see what the model can do while parents pull out their wallets.
Their facial recognition Makeup Genius app allows customers to virtually apply products and see how they look before buying the product.
Mirvac has created a 'Mix it Up' app for people to explore new and exciting things happening behind the scenes in the redevelopment. It also gives a glimpse of what's in store for the future.
Virtual change rooms allow shoppers to try on new range via interactive screen, without actually changing.
While it's not taken off in Australia just yet, there's little doubt that VR and AR will dramatically impact retail business and customer's shopping habits.
Take some small steps now so that you're ready when cost-effective technology becomes available to small retailers. For example:
In-store retailing is changing fast. Understanding the opportunities available for SMEs through technologies like VR and AR will help keep you in front of the crowd, while others fall behind.
|Tags: Business Marketing|