How is VR changing retail?

There is a huge opportunity to use Virtual Reality (VR) in retail and according to a Survey 2021 from e-commerce technology company Zakeke, 41 percent of shoppers want more personalization.

32 percent would like to be able to personalize products through VR and were also keen to expand product categories such as B. to visualize and interact with them Clothing, shoes and furniture before buying at 34 percent, 29 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Despite this, 71 percent of those surveyed have never used VR or augmented reality functions when shopping.

VR creates an immersive space where users can interact with digital worlds around them, which means you can have entire stores in VR, embed 3D versions of products in VR environments, allow buyers to see the design before the Customize purchase, and more. In fact, AR/VR retail opportunities will be worth $17.86 billion by 2028, according to a Report 2021 from the research company Analytics Insights.

How does VR work in retail?

Like most VR applications, retail VR is operated through virtual reality headsets. Shoppers can put on a headset to enter a three-dimensional virtual world where they can participate in brand interactions not possible in the real world.

For example, in VR, an AI-enabled digital human can guide the customer through an immersive storytelling experience that describes the brand’s journey. They might also visualize and interact with a product before they buy it — especially for heavy consumer goods like furniture or appliances. A customer might try to assemble a piece of furniture in VR before attempting it in real life.

To enable these apps, retail brands need to create their own VR content and applications. Content such as 3D videos, 3D product designs and immersive audio clips must first be created by the brand and then integrated into a VR app that works with popular headsets such as Oculus Quest or HTC VIVE.

Brands also need to address the issue of VR content distribution. Setting up a VR-enabled kiosk in physical retail stores is one option that would allow shoppers to experience products in VR before making a purchase decision, increasing the chances of purchase and the value of the products purchased. VR apps could also be launched on the app marketplace for select headsets.

Ideally, customers should be able to select a product in VR and initiate a purchase directly. Here are some of the key use cases for VR in retail.

How VR is changing retail: Four use cases

Virtual Reality has the potential to transform retail in the following ways:

Shoppers can try on clothes without physical contact

Contactless trials are a top use case for VR in retail because they address existing business problems. Customers are often reluctant to try on garments worn by others for hygiene reasons, which has become a pressing issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Purchasing clothes without trials could actually increase returns and refunds volume, putting additional pressure on retailers’ logistics systems. In a VR environment, customers can select and easily try on clothes from different stores, brands and price ranges.

Product customization can be completed in VR

Customization is a key driver of customer satisfaction in retail, and in industries like automotive, product customization can drive purchasing decisions.

Customizing a product and tailoring it to a client’s exact specifications can be a complex task that requires a lot of back-and-forth communication, which ultimately delays the conversion process.

VR provides customers with simple, non-technical tools to fine-tune a product’s design. They don’t need to know or learn a dedicated design user interface (UI) – they can simply project the 3D image of the product in VR and add embellishments, color changes and other elements as needed.

VR in store can boost product sales

Since the majority of shoppers have yet to try AR or VR in their shopping experience, introducing them to the technologies in a brick-and-mortar store is a good idea.

Brands can set up a kiosk with the headset mounted and the content feed connected, and when customers visit the store they can experience the brand in a whole new way through VR. For example, a store can present its entire product catalog via VR in a relatively small space, while this app also increases the likelihood that the customer will engage with the brand again via VR in the future.

With VR, employees can be trained in soft skills

VR makes soft skills training much more effective, and success in retail depends heavily on the skills of store associates. Retailers can act out real-life scenarios in a virtual reality environment so employees know how to deal with problematic customer situations and potential conflicts.

Sensitivity training and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I) training are other areas that could benefit from VR and would significantly improve the customer experience in stores.

What does the future of VR in retail look like?

In the short term, VR offers retailers important opportunities. Accordingly Accenture Business Futures 2021 reportJust a 1% increase in AR/VR use in retail could unlock an additional $66 billion in sales opportunities.

In the long term, companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Epic Games are working on a unified spatial Internet platform called the Metaverse that could completely transform retail. Within the Metaverse, you could have standalone VR shops where customers can actually order the item in question from a physical store near them.

The Metaverse could also open up new markets, as customers from all over the world can explore brands and their products without geographic restrictions.

For example, the 3D visualization company Matterport unveiled a VR platform for retail that uses digital twins to connect retailers with new customers. Walmart has also announced intentions to do so Invest in VR for retail, indicating it could potentially hold fitness classes in AR/VR and offer NFTs to clients at some point in the future. This is just a taste of what’s to come.

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