The way we shop is continually evolving; whether in-store, online or on our mobiles, consumers now have access to retailers on a 24/7 basis. As Black Friday and Christmas are both just around the corner, there is even more reason to stay in and shop from the comfort of one’s home avoiding the dreaded queues while being able to take full advantage of the sales. This makes it easier for customers to shop – and spend more – and for retailers to boost their sales through a more relaxed shopping experience.
But with most retailers having an online platform for shoppers to browse, how can businesses stand out from the crowd to draw consumers to their products and stores, over another? Augmented Reality holds the key to revolutionising the shopping experience, with opportunities to project furniture into our home, map clothes onto our body, and apply make-up onto our face. There is no longer any need to physically ‘try before you buy’ with the implementation of AR, making the process of shopping much easier for both online and in-store.
Statistics have already shown a decrease in shoppers on the high street falling at the fastest rate since 2008, as online shopping becomes the preferred alternative. And with AR able to provide a realistic representation of the items we want, the way we shop has now been transformed.
The use of VR in eCommerce allows retailers to create an immersive and engaging experience, allowing the consumer to feel as if they’re physically in a store. eBay Australia is one retailer that has taken the benefits of Virtual Reality and created a virtual store in collaboration with local retailer Myer, where customers can browse through the digitised store and buy items through VR. Areas of the realistic store even had information points, providing users with product knowledge and other interactive features.
Another example of a company making the lives of its customers easier with Augmented Reality is furniture-giant IKEA. It introduced a mobile app to offer the ability to scan a room and place furniture within it. Providing users with a realistic tool to help their purchasing decision, the retailer has removed the friction point of travelling to the store to make up their mind, by allowing them to envision what the products look like in their own home.
Onto the high street
VR and AR is the latest innovative feature for retailers to add to their websites and social platforms, but this doesn’t mean that in-store should be overlooked. One of the world’s leading shopping centres, Westfield, has brought Virtual Reality onto the high street by offering shoppers an interactive experience to showcase Spring/Summer fashion. The experience consists of giant video walls showcasing the major fashion trends, VR headsets to take customers on a colourful dreamscape journey and a giant touchscreen to view and locate outfits of any colour or style in any of Westfield’s retailers Not only is this advantageous to consumers who are looking for key trends for the upcoming seasons, but for retailers too, as the experience acts as a promotional and signposting tool, directing users to the precise location of the retailer where they can physically find the item they are looking for.
How can retailers stand out from the crowd during peak trading periods? By leveraging immersive technologies, there are profound benefits for both shoppers and retailers alike. Retailers can entice more customers to physical stores with the promise of innovative, immersive and unique experiences that their competitors are failing to offer. And for those customers who prefer to avoid the Black Friday and Christmas rush, they don’t need to miss out. Instead, they can browse the aisles right from their sofa and shop at their own pace from retailers that bring these experiences to the online shopping environment. Immersive technologies will give retailers the advantage they need to attract customers in a notoriously competitive season.
To find out more about how VR and AR can enhance the retail experience, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org