Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Reshape Retail

Is this vase too big for our living room? Will this chair fit under that table? How will that wallpaper look like in that room? Augmented reality and virtual reality will help to avoid these questions or just minimize them. These technologies have not yet hit the mainstream, but retailers are still hoping to change that. Retailers think virtual commerce is the only way to stop ordinary shopping irritations and draw more customers.
AR and VR are changing everything, simply by proposing entirely new channels and platforms for retailers. With the use of these technologies retailers now have unlimited marketing potential.

Retail space is one of the most substantial opportunity to influence consumer`s purchasing decisions to buy and brands should start acting now until it`s too late.

Sports brands like Nike, New Balance are showing customers how the workout apparel moves on an athlete's body, or how a famous golfer tests out clubs by using a customized augmented reality. Thanks to AR and VR, customers can plunge themselves into the story of a sports product, discover where the leather from training shoes is made, or how to use workout equipment properly from a top sportsman.

Lowe's has installed "Holoroom" kiosks in 19 stores across the country, which apply virtual reality to home design, and is preparing the launch of an augmented reality app.

Ikea has recently presented a VR app with focus on customizing virtual kitchens and created an AR catalog app to help customers imagine how certain pieces of furniture would fit and look in their homes.

Famous beauty-retailer Sephora keeps up with AR-technology by making it possible to apply virtual cosmetics to users faces via the mobile app or a website.

Samsung is another successful example. They allowed consumers to try on a Samsung Gear VR headset and jump into a virtual experience at their stores. Apparently, this is something normal for VR technology, but the way in which Samsung did it exceeded all expectations.

For consumers who want to see how new tent would look like outdoor retailers such as REI, North Face, or L.L. created a VR show world set up in a virtual camping trip. Consumers can climb inside, manipulate the weather conditions in order to test it on impermeability and check out tent`s ventilation system.

One more example of these techs in retail is how Converse used a mobile augmented reality app to allow their customers to try on shoes. They are providing customers with an experience to try on Converse branded shoes, without going to a traditional store. You just choose any shoe from catalog and point your mobile phone to your foot to see how it would look like on it.

Black Friday is one of the most exciting shopping events of the year and UK consumers spend huge sums of money each year. It makes sense to implement virtual and augmented reality into that shopping experience. House of Fraser uses AR in stores with shopping windows, giving customers the opportunity to scan a vinyl shape within the windows to have possibility to see the in-store's Black Friday Deals.

Ways to attract buyer attention and boost sales have always been challenging. Retailers have used a number of tactics over the years like discounts, promotions and loyalty programs, but to succeed in today's mobile driven consumer world, they'll have to be a lot more inventive than that.

So for now retailers are trying to figure out how they can best use these modern technologies. In order to stay competitive and relevant in this industry retailers certainly need to demonstrate a readiness to embrace this innovative technology and integrate augmented reality into their business. There is no doubt VR and AR are changing consumer`s minds gradually, and within a couple of years these technologies will definitely reshape retail.