Virtual Reality is making its way into gaming, movie theaters, shopping, and education, as well as offering retailers new ways to attract customers. When making a large purchase online, people look for detailed product descriptions, video reviews, and colorful images. The difference between winning and losing comes down to having rich and engaging content. So, what’s new in the world of virtual reality in the retail world?
The past few years have seen a significant increase in VR technology, with companies such as Sony and Facebook creating headsets for the public. Retail stores are beginning to catch onto this trend and implement VR into their marketing plans.
Generally speaking, the virtual reality industry is still in its early stages, with major players such as Oculus, Samsung, and HTC struggling to pique customer interest. On the other hand, virtual reality and augmented reality are gaining traction like never before, with thousands of headsets sold and the term V-commerce coined for future endeavors. Companies such as North Face, Alibaba, and Lowe’s use virtual reality to promote their brands. The ultimate goal is to create virtual stores where customers can browse and purchase goods.
In retail, virtual reality is expected to lower marketing costs, reduce product returns, and provide better analytics and data. Though opinions differ, some are enthusiastic and see virtual reality as the future of retail, while others see it as a passing fad. In any case, retailers are interested in VR because of its sci-fi aspect, which piques people’s interest and encourages sales.
V-commerce (virtual reality commerce/retail) is still in its infancy, but it has already had an impact. Whether or not virtual reality takes off, businesses should be better prepared to implement v-commerce and provide customers with what they want. After all, 70% of them want to use virtual reality to shop for clothes and accessories.
However, virtual reality for retail is still a work in progress. Alibaba’s Buy+ project is far from perfect, and the products available are limited. However, technology advances at a breakneck pace, and VR will need to overcome user acceptance issues as well as incorporate tactile feedback to improve the experience. The main challenges are that VR headsets are uncomfortable and require hardware, as well as that they are expensive. Google, HTC, Samsung, and Apple are all working on low-cost standalone headsets, which is a good sign.
VR is the next big thing for retail and marketplaces such as Amazon could be left behind. It’s not a fad because it has the potential to revolutionize how people shop, offering them new ways to engage with brands and purchase products. The future of virtual reality for retail is about more than just experiencing things in amazing new ways. Virtual Reality will explore not only the way you shop but the way you experience brands and products.
Since VR provides a sense of presence, it allows customers to “try on” clothes or test out furniture before they buy them. The possibilities are endless, as customers feel as though they are in the store and able to touch the products. Some brands, such as IKEA, have created virtual reality apps where you can visualize your living room or kitchen before moving items around. This is a great way for customers to make sure everything fits and works together properly.
VR allows customers to “try on ” clothes or test out furniture before they buy them. The possibilities are endless, as customers feel as though they are in the store and able to touch the products. VR allows online shopping a “place,” which is a whole new way of experiencing content and engaging with brands, with few downsides.
As retail and e-commerce continue to evolve, the way consumers shop is changing dramatically. Virtual reality technology in retail may be on your radar — if not already — as a new trend that will change how people purchase products and engage with brands. With more than 50% of millennials interested in virtual reality shopping experiences, it’s important for retailers to prepare now so they don’t miss out on this opportunity later on. We can help you learn about how VR might work for your business by providing demos, training sessions, or consulting services tailored just for your company’s needs. Contact us today and explore partnering together!