Immersive Technology in Retail
Immersive technologies offer unique and enhanced shopping experiences to customers, enabling retailers to provide personalised, engaging, and interactive experiences that were not possible before.
Immersive technologies, such augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), are increasingly being used in the retail industry to create new methods for interacting with consumers. The pairing of smartphones with smart data capture capabilities, such as computer vision and augmented reality, is also helping retailers transform shopping experiences further. Immersive technologies are being used to create contactless and immersive shopping experiences, and they are evolving traditional retailing in the digital age.
VR allows retailers to create virtual showrooms or stores where customers can ‘walk’ around and explore products. This can be particularly useful for furniture stores, car dealerships, or any retailer with large products or an extensive range.
AR technology allows customers to virtually ‘try on’ items such as clothes, shoes, glasses, or jewelry using their smartphones. This can enhance the online shopping experience and give customers more confidence in their purchase decisions.
AR can be used to visualise how a product might look in a certain setting. For example, customers can see how a piece of furniture might look in their own home or how a car might look in their driveway.
Retailers can use AR to provide interactive information about a product. For example, customers can scan a product with their phone to access reviews, specifications, and other details.
VR can be used to provide employees with immersive training experiences. This could include training for customer service, store procedures, or even how to handle emergency situations.
Some retailers are using AR for in-store navigation. Customers can use their smartphones to navigate the store, find products, and access product information.
Projected Market Value
By 2023 120K Stores will Utilise Augmented Reality
AR&VR In Retail to Reach $17.86 Billion by 2028
3 of 10 customers want virtual dressing rooms instead of going to a store for clothes
Immersive technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), are transforming the retail landscape, creating new ways for brands to engage with customers and enhance their shopping experience.
As digital spaces become increasingly important for retailers, the adoption of these innovative tools allows businesses to stay competitive and cater to the evolving preferences of their target audiences.
The increasing usage of AR and VR in retail aims to elevate the customer experience by providing engaging and personalised interactions with products and services. From enabling realistic 3D previews of items to facilitating virtual showrooms, these technologies are empowering consumers with an immersive environment that adds value to their shopping journey.
The retail industry, which is undergoing rapid change, appears to be embracing these technologies, with the market value for AR technology projected to exceed $18 billion by 2023.
In adapting to these technological advancements, retailers must carefully consider how best to implement immersive technologies within their specific context to most effectively impact customer experiences.
By integrating AR and VR into their offerings, retailers can attract and retain customers, setting themselves apart from their competitors and shaping the future of the industry.
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully digital environment, allowing them to explore and interact with virtual objects and spaces. In the retail sphere, VR is increasingly being used to create Immersive shopping experiences, letting users browse and purchase products in a virtual store. VR can also be utilised for employee training purposes. Some applications of VR in retail include:
- Virtual store tours
- Product visualisation
- Staff training simulations
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information onto the physical world. In retail, AR has been used to create interactive product displays, allowing customers to virtually try on items such as clothing and accessories. This can help customers make more informed purchasing decisions and reduce the risk of returns. Examples of AR in retail include:
- Virtual fitting rooms
- Interactive product demonstrations
- In-store navigation assistance
Mixed Reality (MR) is a blend of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality that allows users to interact with digital and physical objects in a shared environment. In retail, MR can offer a combination of in-store and online experiences, with stores using interactive displays to bridge the gap between physical and digital shopping. Some examples of MR in retail include:
- Interactive kiosks and displays
- Holographic product presentations
- Dynamic store layouts
AR can be used to create interactive product demonstrations. For example, a customer could point their smartphone at a product in a catalog and see a 3D model of the product with interactive features.
AR and VR can be used to create interactive ads. For example, a customer could scan an advertisement with their smartphone and see a 3D model of the product, a video demonstration, or other interactive content.
Using data collected from AR and VR applications, retailers can create personalised shopping experiences for customers. This could include product recommendations based on past purchases or behaviours, personalised ads, or other tailored content.
With VR and AR, retailers can test and modify store layouts, packaging, and even products in a virtual environment before implementing them in real life. This could result in better product designs and more efficient store layouts.
By using immersive technologies, retailers can differentiate themselves from competitors. Offering customers the ability to virtually try on clothes, visualize furniture in their homes, or walk through virtual stores can provide an edge over competitors who offer only traditional shopping experiences.
Virtual stores can make shopping more accessible for people who may have difficulties shopping in physical stores. For instance, people with mobility issues or who live in remote areas could benefit from VR shopping experiences.
Immersive technologies, encompassing Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Extended Reality (XR), are set to dramatically reshape the retail landscape.
Anticipated future developments point towards a more integrated, personalised, and interactive shopping experience, blurring the boundaries between physical and digital retail spaces.
Advances in these technologies will facilitate the creation of virtual showrooms and stores, enabling consumers to ‘try before they buy’, and visualize products in their real-life context.
As these technologies intertwine with the Internet of Things (IoT), the resulting data will allow retailers to deliver tailored experiences, enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
In addition, 3D product modelling will augment the online shopping experience, providing a more tangible feel to digital purchases. As the focus on sustainability increases, immersive technologies might also be leveraged to promote environmentally conscious shopping.
In a world becoming increasingly digital, immersive technologies stand as the future of retail, offering boundless opportunities to redefine and enhance the consumer shopping journey.
Greater Adoption of AR/VR The use of AR and VR in retail is expected to become more widespread. As the technology continues to improve and become more accessible, more retailers are likely to adopt these technologies to enhance the shopping experience.
Integration with IoT: As Internet of Things (IoT) technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see greater integration between IoT and immersive technologies. This could include personalised shopping experiences that incorporate data from customers' smart devices, or even smart stores that adjust to individual customers' preferences in real time.
Mixed Reality Shopping: As Mixed Reality (MR) technology advances, it could become a more common tool for retailers. MR combines elements of AR and VR to create experiences that blend the digital and physical worlds, potentially providing an even more immersive shopping experience.
3D Product Modelling: The use of 3D modelling in retail is likely to increase. This technology allows customers to view products in three dimensions, which can be particularly useful for online shoppers. In the future, we may see more retailers offering 3D views of their products, or even using 3D modelling to create virtual try-on experiences.