Both virtual reality and augmented reality are being used in different industries, allowing cost savings and facilitating the development of activities that would otherwise involve a huge logistical effort.
It is well known that offering an innovative and personalized shopping experience will increase both your brand recognition and your sales. Currently there are different techniques that you can carry out to achieve this and, one of them, is the implementation of virtual reality in your trade marketing strategy. Today we will tell you how this technology is changing the retail industry and who is using it.
Before getting into the matter, we must understand what virtual reality is; this is a concept that is closely related to augmented reality and many people tend to confuse them despite being very different.
In a few words we can say that, while augmented reality mixes our physical reality with digital elements, virtual reality creates a completely digital environment (computer generated simulation) with which we can interact through the use of sensory devices (virtual reality glasses, gloves etc).
A very clear example of augmented reality is the famous game Pokemon Go, do you remember it?.
Virtual reality applied to the retail industry
It is impossible to enter this section without naming the COVID-19 pandemic, since, as a result of this circumstance, the different industries had to reinvent themselves to avoid losses and bankruptcy.
The development of technology and online commerce have been the main strategies within the retail industry since then, and as a result, the sector has realized that favoring total digitization is more necessary than ever. And that's where virtual reality (VR) comes into play.
For retail and virtual reality, the great stronghold is virtual stores. There, customers can browse quietly, see what products it offers and purchase what they consider. This is the case of Alibaba's Buy+ shopping platform.
Other examples of the scope that virtual reality has achieved in the world of retail are the cases of IKEA or Lowe's. Both companies, dedicated to the world of furniture, have incorporated the virtual reality shopping experience among their services, which allows the consumer to know how their selected furniture will look in their home and to personalize any product. Virtual reality gives them the chance to see the final result of their purchase in their own home without leaving the store and, most importantly, before making a purchase decision.
Future of retail
Every day that passes we become more attached to technology, and how not to do it? if it superimposes increased productivity, easy access to information and more. Currently, the consumer does not buy blindly. We all search the internet for information about the product and/or the store before making a purchase and this has caused a drastic transformation in physical stores.
In the case of retail, technology allows to offer personalized experiences to consumers, and is also key to improving the logistics efficiency of points of sale.
The use of augmented and virtual reality technologies will totally change the consumer experience when buying. It will be possible to test products virtually and check how they feel in different scenarios. For example, it is not the same to try on a swimsuit and see yourself in the mirror of the store fitting room, than to see how it would look on you on the beach with the help of virtual reality technologies.
Stores will have to adapt their businesses to new technological trends in order to survive this new era of change, and the combination of a physical and digital shopping experience is the key to success.
In the near future, physical stores will no longer be places with an infinity of products on display, but rather a kind of showrooms that will offer immersive experiences.
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