New immersive technologies go far beyond the gaming world. Today, these innovations are already responsible for real revolutions in different sectors. Major companies in the retail sector have seen the use of immersive technologies as the opportunity to revolutionize the customers’ experience with their brands.
Retail companies that make use of virtual and augmented reality may have found an innovative and disruptive way to stand out, engage the public, and develop a strong relationship with their customers. And the research reinforces the importance of this technological aspect. According to a report by the American company Digi-Capital, by 2021, virtual reality should move around US$ 108 billion globally.
But what are the benefits to the company and its end consumer?
One of the main reasons behind the adoption of virtual reality technology by retailers is that it allows them to bring the customer closer to the brand, making the purchasing process easier. As for the user, they get a differentiated, playful and multisensory purchase experience; for example, using VR to navigate through the environment and interact with the different options available before making the purchase.
For the company, the advantage lies in what the use of this technology can provide. Not only in terms of engagement, but also in obtaining data on the decisive steps taken by the consumer, which leads to the moment of purchase. With this information in hand, the company can outline strategies that will improve its market positioning as well as its sales.
User-centric experience is the key feature of virtual reality
The digital experience promoting immersion and interactivity also helps educate the user on the company, its services, and products, by shaping its physical retail buying behavior. For example, a company can combine the dynamics of gamification with virtual reality to recreate an environment that runs through the locations where a product is produced. In addition to being useful, this innovation, in particular, arouses interest and makes customers develop an emotional bond with the products, increasing the chances of engaging other consumers.
Companies need to focus on the creation of increasingly personalized products and services that stimulate the senses and generate a sense of pleasure and well-being for the user.
Here are a few examples of virtual reality and augmented applications in retail:
Virtual department store
An Australian department store, in partnership with an e-commerce company, has created the first store with virtual reality in the industry. The companies developed an application enabling customers to have such experience through their smartphones, using cardboard VR.
The user is able to utilize the glasses along with the application to choose from more than 1,500 products sold in the physical stores anywhere. All navigation, including product selection, is done through eye movement. Consumers can still select their areas of interest by helping the application customize the service to offer the most interesting items to the user first.
A Swedish company specializing in the sale of low-cost household furniture has bet on augmented reality so that its customers have a sense of how the products will fit in their own homes. The shopping experience becomes playful and interactive, increasing their chances of buying more items, raising the average ticket.
Shopping with VR goggles
An Italian company has created a virtual reality shopping experience for customers in a supermarket. Some of the benefits include: choosing the product virtually, comparing prices, knowing the ingredients of a specific recipe, and even having access to the information of products being consumed by acquaintances.
Playful staff training
In the United States, one of the world’s largest retailers has decided to use virtual reality to empower its employees and thus improve the end-user shopping experience. During training, the company’s employees used special goggles and headphones to simulate the daily life in the stores, without having to leave the room. During the simulation of activities, ranging from serving crowds on vacation or cleaning up the environment, the instructor and others evaluate the performance of the future employee on a video screen during class.
A large Brazilian company that manufactures fiberglass swimming pools offers its clients the opportunity to visualize, through virtual reality goggles, how the backyard of their homes would look like after purchasing and installing the swimming pool. The tool provides the consumer, with a perfect view of how your pool will fit into the chosen location; the franchise owner, who will have no future problems concerning the location of the pool, and the architect, who will have an easier life designing the environment.
There are already several applications for immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, in different markets. And as innovations emerge, they can be aggregated to retail, enhancing the consumer experience and brand relationship. You can find more information on this subject by downloading the ebook below.