The AR/VR market in the retail industry is projected to reach USD 1.6 billion by 2025.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are need-of-the-hour solutions in the fast-paced world of retail. And as retailers look for innovative ways to engage customers and stand out in a congested market, these immersive technologies have gained popularity, including the likes of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The availability and affordability of AR/VR solutions have increased, making them viable alternatives for retailers of all sizes. Their appeal has been further encouraged by the growing use of smartphones and reasonably priced data plans. Additionally, the rise of AR/VR in retail can also be related to the growing need for distinctive and personalized shopping experiences, as customers increasingly seek interactive and engaging ways to interact with products before purchasing.
Benefits of AR and VR in Retail
Retailers are leveraging AR/VR services to captivate customers, drive foot traffic, and create memorable brand experiences that transcend the limitations of traditional shopping methods. Here, we look at some of the areas the aforementioned technologies are creating an impact:
Unprecedented Customer Engagement and Conversion
AR and VR integrated e-commerce platforms have yielded remarkable outcomes for retailers, particularly in customer engagement and conversion rates. Augmented Reality empowers customers to visualize products within their own surroundings, enabling them to make well-informed purchasing choices. The ability to virtually try on garments or preview furniture placements fosters a genuine connection and heightens engagement.
Meanwhile, VR offers immersive encounters by transporting shoppers to virtual stores or facilitating interactive product demonstrations, thereby bolstering engagement and influencing purchase decisions.
These technologies not only captivate customers but also offer a seamless and interactive shopping experience, ultimately leading to enhanced conversion rates and increased customer satisfaction.
Personalization through Data Insights & Analytics
Through augmented reality experiences and virtual reality simulations, these technologies capture intricate details about how customers engage with products, navigate virtual stores, and make purchase decisions. By tracking eye movements, gestures, and interactions, AR and VR systems provide deep insights into customer preferences, allowing retailers to understand their target audience better and tailor their offerings accordingly.
Moreover, the data collected from AR and VR experiences can be analyzed to uncover patterns, trends, and consumer sentiments, empowering retailers to optimize their strategies, enhance customer experiences, and drive business growth.
Cutting Costs and Enhancing Staff Training
With augmented reality, retailers can offer virtual product demonstrations, eliminating the need for physical inventory or costly showroom setups. Customers can visualize and interact with products virtually, reducing the costs of stocking and maintaining physical items. Virtual reality enables retailers to create virtual stores, minimizing expenses related to physical retail spaces. Additionally, AR and VR technologies can streamline staff training by providing immersive and interactive simulations, reducing the need for costly on-site training programs.
By leveraging these technologies, retailers can achieve cost savings while still providing engaging and immersive shopping experiences for their customers.
Minimizing Dissatisfaction through Virtual Environments
By using augmented reality, customers can virtually visualize and try on products before making a purchase, allowing them to make more informed decisions. This reduces the likelihood of dissatisfaction or mismatches between customer expectations and the actual product.
Similarly, virtual reality allows customers to experience products in a simulated environment, offering a more realistic understanding of their features and functionalities. With customers able to virtually interact with their preferred products, AR and VR technologies minimize the need for physical returns and exchanges, resulting in cost savings for retailers and a more streamlined shopping experience for customers.
Retailers Deploying AR and VR
The sports apparel and footwear brand is leveraging AR/VR technology to enhance the customer experience in several ways. One of their notable initiatives is the use of AR for virtual sneaker try-on. Through their mobile app, customers can virtually try on different models of Adidas sneakers and see how they look on their feet in real-time.
This feature allows customers to visualize and evaluate the fit, style, and overall appearance of the sneakers before making a purchase decision. By enabling virtual try-ons, Adidas provides an interactive and convenient way for customers to explore their products, enhancing confidence and satisfaction with their purchases.
The furniture retailer is utilizing AR/VR technology to assist customers in various ways. One significant way is through their AR app, “IKEA Place.” This app allows customers to virtually place and visualize IKEA furniture in their own space using augmented reality. By simply pointing their smartphone camera at the desired area, customers can see how different pieces of furniture will look and fit in their homes before making a purchase. This empowers customers to make informed decisions, ensuring that the furniture matches their style, size, and aesthetic preferences.
IKEA has also experimented with VR technology by creating virtual showrooms where customers can explore and experience a simulated environment featuring IKEA products. These AR/VR innovations from IKEA provide customers with immersive and interactive experiences, making the furniture shopping process more convenient, personalized, and enjoyable.
Digital transformation in the form of AR and VR technologies has brought about a paradigm shift in the retail industry, offering boundless possibilities for transforming the customer experience. From virtual try-ons and interactive product visualizations to virtual showrooms and personalized assistance, these technologies have revolutionized the way customers engage with brands and make purchasing decisions.
As the retail industry continues to evolve, embracing AR and VR is no longer an option but a necessity to stay competitive and meet the ever-growing expectations of modern shoppers. By harnessing the potential of AR and VR, retailers can unlock new avenues of growth, customer loyalty, and success in the dynamic retail landscape.
With our cutting-edge emerging technology services, retailers get to seamlessly integrate AR/VR technologies into their operations, enhancing customer engagement and driving conversions. By embracing our expertise in extended reality, retailers can position themselves at the forefront of innovation, delivering exceptional experiences that set them apart from competitors and help them tap unparalleled success in the retail industry.