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The State of VR and AR in the ECommerce and Retail Sector for 2023

The retail industry is undergoing significant transformations due to the emergence of Web 3, the Metaverse, and XR solutions. Engaging new immersive services is making digital shopping experiences increasingly attractive to a wide range of consumers. Furthermore, many businesses and brands are now adopting a “hybrid” approach to sales, combining immersive services to offer novel avenues for in-store and online buyers. 

With XR solutions, retailers have a distinct opportunity to enhance the buyer journey for their target audience. Virtual reality (VR) in retail can foster buyer retention and provide interactive demonstrations of complex products. On the other hand, AR ECommerce solutions enable buyers to visualize how products might appeal. This article will venture into the state of VR and AR in the ECommerce and Retail sector for 2023 and the benefits of implementing these technologies. Interested? Let’s start.

What it Covers

Key Trends in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Retail

Notable ECommerce experts and retailers worldwide have started playing with different forms of XR to maximize their profits and present customers with never-before experience. Some of the significant trends that help push the rise of immersive technologies in retail include:

  • Metaverse: Popular retailer brands like Nike have already invested in Metaverse technology to provide a space for their customers to engage with their products before making a purchasing decision. Metaverse services offer retail and ECommerce companies a chance to create digital versions and storefronts for customers to explore. Additionally, integrating technologies like NFTs, crypto, and virtual live events open new revenue-generating avenues.
  • AI and Analytics: To consistently delight customers in a changing ecosystem, retail and eCommerce business leaders should gather extensive data about their audience. XR solutions equipped with eye tracking and movement sensors can provide valuable insights into customer attention. Retailers can utilize the data from headsets and devices to understand the reasons behind customer purchasing decisions. Additionally, the emergence of ChatGPT allows companies to enhance chatbots and achieve brand-to-customer personalization goals using immersive technology.
  • 5G Connectivity: Modern connectivity plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of XR. Hardware and software providers must adapt to streaming extensive RT3D data to smaller devices. By leveraging 5G connectivity and XR devices, companies can enable customers to test products and explore items without needing physical interactions on shelves. The power of 5G facilitates seamless content streaming to customers, making it a key driver in the growth of immersive retail solutions.

Important Facilitators for AR ECommerce and VR Shopping

Extended reality (XR) innovative solutions have become a game-changer for various industries, from manufacturing brands and corporations to engineering facilities. To remain competitive in vertical markets, businesses realize these solutions’ advantages. Specifically, the retail and E-commerce sectors recognize the urgent need to adopt immersive CX (Customer Experience) solutions to stay ahead.

The question is, how can retailers effectively leverage these extended reality technologies? By integrating XR into their operations, retailers can offer customers valuable information and insights about the products and services they want to purchase. For example, augmented reality (AR) tools enable the creation of real-time 3D digital twins of products, allowing customers to virtually “try-out” items before making a purchase decision. Additionally, Virtual reality (VR) technology facilitates the creation of immersive user manuals, product demonstrations, and onboarding processes. This leads to more engaging and effective interactions with customers, resulting in a range of significant benefits for the retail and ECommerce sectors, such as:

  • Try Before Buy to Influence Purchasing Decisions: VR and AR for shopping enable users to test the products they want to buy from the ECommerce platform or online store before making the final purchase. The fact that they can try the products without visiting the physical store can significantly increase the profit. For example, use AR placement technology to determine if the furniture will fit in a buyer’s home. Famous retail brand IKEA lets customers explore new things in their homes before purchasing. Numerous chances allow customers to inspect and analyze things before buying, similar to Ikea’s AR app.
    More importantly, the lower inventory problems can be easily tackled using AR and VR technology. With digital twins, retailers, and ECommerce companies can give their customers a better idea of what they can expect to receive, which can reduce returns.
  • Employee Upskilling: Employee upskilling using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has become a transformative approach for modern businesses. These immersive technologies offer dynamic and interactive learning experiences, enabling employees to acquire new skills and knowledge in a highly engaging manner. AR and VR simulations provide a safe and controlled environment for hands-on training, allowing employees to practice complex tasks and scenarios without real-world consequences. This innovative training approach not only boosts employee confidence and competence but also enhances overall productivity and efficiency within the organization.
    By leveraging AR and VR for upskilling, companies can stay at the forefront of workforce development, fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
  • Improved Collaboration: In an average ECommerce or retail setting, diverse employees with different roles must collaborate seamlessly for success. XR solutions foster immersive team bonding and idea-sharing, enabling enhanced workplace collaboration through wearables or software tools. This boosts efficiency and aids in completing operations effectively.
  • Spur Customer Satisfaction: The Sephora Virtual Artist is one example of a retailer utilizing augmented reality. With the use of a facial scan, users of this smartphone app may trial products, receive a virtual makeover, and share the results with friends. Vision capturing, another type of augmented reality, is used for all of this. Similarly, Nike uses Metaverse platforms to allow buyers to engage with its brand and products before buying.
  • Paving the Way for Innovation: Retailers and ECommerce companies must collaborate across various teams – product development, research, sales, and marketing – to meet evolving buyer expectations. XR solutions facilitate improved marketing, sales strategies, and customer experiences. Leading RT3D design suites from NVIDIA, Epic Games, and Unity enable the creation of immersive content optimized for XR distribution.

Conclusion

While numerous applications of AR and VR are still in development, retailers can begin integrating these features into their business models without delay. Embracing these already developed enhancements early not only leads to higher customer satisfaction sooner but also positions retailers one step ahead of their competitors, gaining a competitive edge before the trend takes off.

PROVEN Reality can help you kick off the AR/VR journey for your retail business. Contact our team for more information.

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