Impact Of Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality In Retail
The use of augmented reality in retail is a growing trend and is being seen as the next big thing in the industry. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) deliver immersive experiences to customers in a way that matches or even surpasses the feel of shopping in traditional retail and online stores. It offers customers interactive representations of products in a realistic way, whenever and wherever.
Before the pandemic, retail, online shopping, in particular, was in desperate need of a makeover. Consider the following example to see why this is the case. Have you ever tried buying a piece of furniture online? How was that experience? Did you go through with your purchase, or did you give up and walk into a nearby store to purchase the required item?
The fact is that judging the size of the furniture without looking at it in person isn’t an easy task. Now, with augmented reality, retailers can allow customers to project their choice of furniture in their homes virtually, enabling them to determine whether or not an item fits their space and style.
Is it any wonder that the use of augmented reality in retail industry is growing rapidly? According to a recent study, the global AR and VR market is estimated to grow to USD 17864.86 million by 2028 from USD 3790.94 million in 2021.
According to IBM, “analysts such as IDC expect healthy growth in consumer AR/VR spending to deliver a five-year CAGR of just over 52 per cent”. It added that to “ignore the implications of AR would be akin to ignoring the advent of online shopping and the disruptive transformation it caused. In fact, we believe AR could be as disruptive to retail as the web or mobile was.”
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality simply means “near-reality” or “almost reality”. The term refers to a computer-generated environment where a person can interact and explore through a headset and other equipment.
AR or augmented reality, on the other hand, is a type of virtual reality where computer-generated images are superimposed on the real world. A common-world example of AR is its use through the cell phone camera for apps like Snapchat and Instagram (filters), FlightRadar24’s binoculars feature, and the popular mobile game- Pokémon Go.
Right now, many businesses are finding augmented reality to be more practical and inexpensive compared to developing a headset of their own.
Augmented Reality in Business and its Impact
In an article published on Techpinions in 2016, Tom Mainelli of IDC Devices writes, “The potential impact of AR in business is staggering. At IDC, we’re currently building out our first forecast, but it is clear that in the long-term view there are potentially very few businesses that won’t be impacted by AR technology.” According to him, healthcare, design/architecture, manufacturing, logistics, military, and services would be among the first verticals to adopt AR technology.
“Imagine a situation where you rent both the equipment necessary to do a home improvement project as well as the AR equipment to gain access to an expert who walks you through the more complicated steps,” he wrote.
Explaining that the service industry would be the “area where most consumers gain their first access to high-end AR technology”, he added that it isn’t a matter of if, but when AR will have a “significant impact” on business.
Now, brands are using virtual and augmented reality technology to promote themselves and their products- a practice dubbed virtual reality marketing.
Virtual reality marketing can be visual or multi-sensory, depending on the device used. A VR Instagram filter only overlays words, objects, or images on the camera view, whereas a full VR headset provides an immersive experience.
Only a few years ago, around 66 per cent of consumers expressed an interest in using AR/VR to buy things, while 63 per cent opined that AR/VR would change the way they shop. The possibilities for connecting via web-enabled AR are endless now that most users have devices capable of delivering this extended reality in their pockets.
How to Make the Most Out of Augmented Reality and Augmented Reality in Retail Industry?
Augmented reality and virtual reality in retail can help you bridge gaps in the user journey. Once you understand this, you’ve taken the first step toward determining how AR and VR can benefit your business. Then, strategies a way to expand your content development capabilities, a process that will continue as you integrate augmented reality content across your multiple channels.
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