“VR and AR are opening up fantastic opportunities for retailers at a crucial time for the industry. In an already competitive sector, there is mounting pressure to innovate in customer experience and respond to digital disruption. These technologies offer exciting ways to bridge the online and offline experience,” stated Sue Rissbrook, head of retail, PwC UK. “They can bring mobile and digital interactions into the real world, and push realistic ‘in-store’ experiences into the online world. This will help retailers deliver incredible omnichannel experiences.”
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), indeed, offer new ways to engage, entertain and interact with consumers, creating new possibilities in retail and gaming industries. Gaming is one area where many people have already experienced VR and AR, and the popularity of these technologies will almost certainly increase over the coming decade.
VR and AR also offer retailers the opportunity to create exciting new customer experiences, from virtual fitting rooms for fashion stores, to AR applications that let people test how furniture would look in their home before they buy. Retailers are also using VR and AR for consumer research, generating new insights into shopper behaviours and reactions to product placements, aisle configurations and branding changes.
“We expect to see more and more retailers looking into the ways in which these technologies can create value. The retail industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and has often been the proving ground for many technologies that have transformed our lives, such as the rise of online shopping. VR and AR look set to drive further dramatic change for the sector and for society,” Rissbrook added.
While VR and AR are opening up “fantastic” opportunities for retailers, according to PwC, these technologies have the potential to boost global GDP by up to $1.5 trillion by 2030.
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