The range of virtual and augmented reality apps already present in the market is so extensive already, it seems we are looking at the development of a technology that will change the way we interact with the world. The apps that are already in the market include travel guides, parked car finder, star sky reader, satellite seeker, 3D games, weather status and forecast, there is even an app that tells New Yorkers about the crimes that recently happened in the area.
Today these new technologies can bring new opportunities to both retailers and their customers. Online shopping has become extremely popular among consumers for the convenience and efficiency. The only thing online shopping has not been able to provide is the physical feeling of items, which is the key factor in decision-making process with goods like clothes and furniture, cars and travel, real estate and other goods and services we associate with pleasure and convenience. Virtual and augmented reality technologies promise to break the spell and add the touch and experience factor.
IKEA has been presenting its online catalogue with SnapShop augmented reality functionality to allow customers to place items in real-life interior. Apple came up with a fitting app, in which users could try on an Apple Watch, see the device from different angles and flip between wristbands of different colors and sizes. DeBeers jewelry makers launched an augmented reality app allowing customers to try on items from Forevermark collection by projecting them on smartphone/laptop screen on top of the user’s photo.
Augmented reality solutions such as Google Glass combined with search engine functionality are able to personalize notifications according to the user’s recent activity, e.g. suggest recently viewed businesses or other objects when user is in proximity.
Virtual reality has a great potential to change the way we shop by helping us find the best fitting items, warning about dangerous ingredients in food products we consider purchasing, showing how clothes can be combined to get a trendy look this season – the possibilities are endless.
Both augmented and virtual reality will come in handy for retailers helping them advertise their brick-and-mortar shop location in navigation systems and nudge clients to consider specific goods while they are in a store, follow up with cart abandoners and bouncers, reward loyal clients etc. These technologies will also become a source of valuable information for retailers about their customers, whose feedbacks and customer behavior will be easier to track and analyze. And marketers will be there to come up with new ways to engage consumers.
On top of all that, augmented and virtual reality will add excitement to the shopping process and enhance customer experience, making shopping more of an exciting experience rather than a routine task.
About the Author
Oleg Yemchuk is the marketing manager at MavenEcommerce sharing office space with Magento business experts and software developers. Oleg is marketing expert by day and geek by night. As a geek culture fan, he spends his free time playing video games and reading comics.