Tracy Watson 16/09/2021 #AR #VR #Retail 11 min read As both AR and VR technologies become more mainstream, businesses in the retail and e-commerce industries are starting to take advantage of all the benefits they offer. We already see some of the conveniences AR and VR are bringing to customers, and the brands that take advantage of these technologies will be able to offer their clients a more pleasant and customized experience. All of this leads to more repeat business, more sales volumes, and, of course, higher revenue. Since AR and VR are already making such an impact, we would like to share with you some of the ways these technologies will shape the future of retail and e-commerce in 2022 and beyond. Augmented Reality E-commerce Nowadays, customers are looking for more conveniences. This means not only making it easier to shop but also removing the possibility of buyer’s remorse. This is exactly what AR for e-commerce offers both customers and online brands looking to increase sales. One of the biggest benefits of AR offers is virtual try-on. You can shop online for items like makeup, clothing, shoes, etc., and try them on virtual, via AR. This is a win-win for everybody. Customers do not have to make a trip to a brick-and-mortar store location to buy the items they need and can shop for everything from the comfort of their own homes. From the business perspective, AR is a wonderful solution not only because it helps you increase sales but also because of the problems it allows you to eliminate. For example, think about the hassles involved in having to return an item you bought online. The customer might have to bring the items to a shipping location, and the business will need to pay for the shipping and restocking fees. In fact, according to Forbes, 70% of consumers feel that finding clothes online that fit is really difficult, and returns are a $550 billion problem for businesses. AR solutions allow you to eliminate all of these headaches and focus more on attention and resources on running your business. It is worth pointing out that AR is not only for e-commerce. Physical store locations can also take advantage of AR by offering virtual fitting rooms. Basically, if a customer would like to try on a clothing item, all they would have to do is hold it up in front of the AR mirror, and the system would automatically show how the clothes would look on the person. It is worth getting in on this technology now because recent studies show that the market size of virtual fitting rooms will grow by 25.2% from 2021-2028. By the way, you can also use these AR mirrors to attract customers to come into your store. When somebody walks by your store window display, they will automatically see how the clothes on the mannequins would look on them, thus enticing them to come in and shop.Since AR allows companies to save so much money and offer so many conveniences to customers, you can expect to see this trend continue into 2022 and beyond. Removing Friction From the Buying JourneyIn the previous section, we talked about taking some of the hassles out of trying on items and then shipping them back if they don’t fit. However, what about things like consumer appliances and other technologies? AR can help companies remove the friction here as well by offering interactive user manuals. For example, let’s say that a customer bought a new coffee machine and they cannot figure out how to use it. Instead of having to read small print instructions from a manual, companies can offer more interactive AR manuals where all the customer has to do is scan a QR on the machine, and they will get a virtual walkthrough of their new product. Ecommerce VRMany brands realize the many benefits VR in shopping can bring customers and their businesses. There are many creative VR retail solutions from companies using this technology to build stronger relationships with clients. For example, let’s take Lowe’s, a home improvement store. Instead of simply putting all kinds of items on the shelves for the customers to look at, they are using VR to show people what their home improvement project would look like if they were to buy the products from Lowe’s. This is an immersive VR shopping experience since people can actually walk through a virtual showroom and explore all of the products for themselves. Another VR in the retail trend that is worth following is the development of entire virtual stores. A range of brands including Charlotte Tilbury, Clarins, Tommy Hilfiger, Farfetch, Intermix, and American Eagle are all testing some form of virtual store technology, many tied to the holiday shopping season. Part virtual reality, part embellished website, virtual stores are defined by immersive, interactive elements that entertain customers and let them make a purchase. Unlike in-store VR stations from years past, these are accessible via desktop or mobile, and the elements are not static, meaning they can be updated just like a traditional site. In fact, we already see the development of virtual stores pay off for companies like Tommy Hilfiger and Charlotte Tilbury. According to Vogue, they experienced a 400% increase in inbound interest since the pandemic, thanks to the virtual reality shopping solutions they offer. With such results, you may want to start investing in virtual e-commerce development since this trend is here to stay for 2022 and well beyond. Virtual Reality Innovations for Brick and Mortar RetailersIf you have a physical store location, you can still take advantage of all the benefits VR offers. It creates a new and exciting environment, modernizing the 21st-century shopping experience and bringing something unique to your latest offering. It can even be used to display new shopping centers and experiences that are arriving soon. Using VR to propose what is coming in the future is a useful tactic to appeal to potential clients, business partners, and even employees. By displaying features such as new shopping centers and products, people get more of a feel for what your business is about and its personality. VR’s presence in retail goes beyond its inclusion in-store; it can be used for research before the general public is even involved in the process. Marketing psychology has a new tool in its repertoire with VR – planning stores doesn’t have to be guesswork when you can trial potential layouts before you build them. Displaying various products and services through VR can let you understand whether your proposed ideas will be successful before they are released into physical stores. It enables you as a business owner to understand what individuals expect and how they want to interact with your brand. It can be particularly useful in the travel industry. It gives consumers an idea of what their holiday will be like before they spend their money. Not only will this make them excited about the idea of booking a holiday (and therefore be more likely to spend money booking with you), but it also lets the company save time and money on features such as descriptions, photography, and videography. This is why investing in VR software development will pay off for you in the long run. Start Taking Advantage of AR and VR TodayAs we have seen from all of the information mentioned above, there are many benefits both AR and VR have to offer. They can help you get a business edge over your competitors and help build stronger relations with your customers. However, in order to capitalize on these advantages, you will need to partner with a reliable retail software company. Skywell Software has created AR and VR solutions for some of the leading brands in the world. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.