Virtual Reality Forges Ahead into Retail (Part 6 of 6)
Sep 26, 2016
Previously, we discussed emerging virtual reality (VR) applications in the industries of education, health care, real estate, and travel. Today we wrap up our series on virtual reality with a look at VR technologies used in the retail industries.
Technology is now a part of daily life. From smart phones to tablets and even to GoPros, we use technology to complete many routine tasks. Therefore, today’s shoppers expect, and in some cases demand, the use of technology when they shop. VR is poised to be the next frontier for retail outlets. In April 2016, Samsung’s Gear VR boasted over 1 million active users, and Tractica predicts almost 200 million VR headsets will be sold by 2020. With such a large potential audience, there is a lot of opportunity for companies ready to adopt VR.
Just like the other industries we discussed, the driving factors behind retail using of VR is affordability. All the shopper requires is a smart phone and a headset. Most people now have smart phones, and headsets are now affordable for businesses to acquire.
VR can benefit shoppers by:
— giving them more information to make a decision about purchases
— simplify the design and planning process for home and garden purchases or for complete outfit purchases
— allow immediate feedback from friends who may be shopping with them
— provide an economical testing market. It will be cheaper for retailers to test a shopping environment virtually, rather than building a physical space.
— Create a totally immersive brand experience.
— Showcase their products in more meaningful ways.
— May decrease the amount of returns or exchanges.
Examples of VR Retail Experiences
Although we are very much in the early days of VR retail adaptation, a few companies are testing the waters of VR shopping.
— Westfield Malls in the UK, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop, and River Island have all used VR to provide in-store virtual experiences of their latest fashion collections. Shoppers can then shop the collection.
— Lexus and Volvo have used VR for virtual test drives.
— Lowe’s installed the Holoroom in 19 of their stores. It is an immersive space where shoppers can design their bathroom or kitchen.
— Ikea is also piloting a virtual kitchen experience.
— Tom’s offered an in-store virtual trip to Peru as part of their One-for-One campaign.
— McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden gave away “Happy Goggles” with virtual snow skiing experience.
— UK retailer John Lewis used VR headsets as part of a Christmas promotion last year.
— Ikebukuro, a Japanese retailer, features a virtual dressing room in their stores.
— Adidas is piloting 2 VR options. The first is the Body Kinectizer which scans your body and allows you to find the right size and see how a garment will look on you. Cyber Fit is their virtual dressing room.
— eBay introduced a VR app and virtual dressing room in Australia.
— Avenue Imperial is a business that creates virtual shopping experiences for retailers. As we saw with real estate, a whole new industry is emerging to design and develop VR shopping experiences.
The website eMarketer recommends retailers, “start thinking about and preparing for virtual reality….sooner rather than later.” VR will be involved in the future of retail. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.
Both the affordability of VR accessories such as headsets and the rapid proliferation of VR apps and content, is behind the explosion in VR usage. With increased usage and improved technology come more opportunities for virtual realities in every phase of our lives, including healthcare, travel, leisure and education, as well as in marketing and sales opportunities. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.
Geek Tech Branding can help you obtain the materials to adapt VR technology in your business. We offer a large variety of headsets at every price point. They have seen a 400% increase in sales of custom printed virtual reality headsets in the past 6 months alone and trending upwards from there in the past 6 weeks.
How will your organization utilize the power and impact of virtual reality in the next few years?