Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Taking Over The Retail Ecosystem

With the rising and competitive market, technology is growing every day. Undoubtedly, you would have heard terms like the Internet of Things, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality etc. But are you aware that more 75% of our daily tasks revolve around these only?


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are new to this era but their applications have taken over the market rapidly. There is a very thin line between the Reality and Virtuality that ranges from adding small cues to real world experiences, i.e. augmented reality (AR) to expansive virtual worlds that let the consumers immerse in a completely fictional world, i.e. virtual reality.

Why Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

  • Immersive And Engaging

Market pioneers keep looking for various options to set more meaningful marketing strategies to gain more consumers. In this journey, AR/VR can become a trusted sale associate. It immediately provides an immersive and engaging experience and can fill in the gap of lacking information that leaves the customer hanging.

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  • Accessible

Approximately, 87% of the buyers do comparative online shopping with their smartphones resulting in more use of smart devices rather than offline store visiting. It’s more about leveraging the tools they already have in hand. AR enables the retailers to keep the consumers in their ecosystem both in-store and at home.

  • Speeds Product Discovery

Consumers require information as much as possible — no matter what kind of products or industry they are looking at. They always seem curious to know about the goods they purchase or are planning to purchase.

Using their smartphones, customers can get such information about the products they are interested in making themselves more knowledgeable. As a result, AR enables them to purchase something which they have never tried before.

Did you know?
Worldwide revenues for the virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) market will grow from US$5.2 billion in 2016 to more than US$162 billion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 181.3% over the 2015–2020 forecast period.
  • Internet Of Things Applications

The AR/VR ecosystem, network data, and beacons enable to track the buyers’ journey across different channels and open the door to taking AR/VR into a multi-layered consumer environment. This helps in providing contextual information at the right time.

Difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality

  • A physical, real world environment whose elements are augmented by computer generated items. As a result, users can see both the real world and virtual objects.
  • Interaction with virtual objects is limited.
  • Can be experienced via existing devices.
  • AR delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world.
  • Commonly used for product trial and utility.

Virtual Reality

  • Replicates a real or virtual environment by faking users’ physical presence and environment to allow user interaction and sensory experiences.
  • A digital recreation of a real life setting.
  • Requires a dedicated equipment to experience it.
  • VR delivers virtual elements by completely blocking out the real world.
  • Mostly used for experiences and emotional engagement.

Whom Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are going to benefit the most?

Though the real winners are the end consumers, it will also benefit the logistics companies and high-to-end mid level retailers. End consumers are able to find answers about the products they are most interested in, resulting in a much more engaging experience.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Retail

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  • Increases Conversion Rate

With the help of AR and VR, consumers are able to make better decisions on their every visit to stores thus increasing the buyer conversion rate.

  • Increases Consumer Engagement

AR and VR help in increasing consumer engagement by using gamification to enhance a physical product. This increase the enticement to purchase resulting in better revenues.

  • Increases Products’ Information Delivery

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Every consumer look for suffices information before making a purchase. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality let the consumers receive a plethora of information making them smart consumers. This includes various virtual coupons as well as nutritional information.

  • Increases In-Store Engagement

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What retailers look for is the constant in-store engagement for their consumers to maintain their sales and revenue streams. AR and VR make this possible for them by assisting the consumers in navigating throughout the store, getting relevant product information and gain store incentives/rewards throughout their buying journey.

  • Enhances Personalization

With the help of AR and VR, it is possible to customize product features and designs as per the requirement of clients and potential consumers. This helps in visualizing what the product might look like in different situations and conditions.

  • Increases The Scope Of Marketing Strategies

Did you know?

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can add an emotionally immersive component to any product via gaming, storytelling and branded experiences. This lets the retailers come up with various pilot campaigns and allow them to experiment with their brand and targeted audience.

  • Enhances Group Experiences

Did you know?

As augmented reality and virtual reality is taking over the market, it is becoming easier and possible for industry experts to use it in various aspects to experiment with. It helps in participating multiple audiences in theater style immersion.

  • Better Revenue Streams

Did you know?

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality helps the consumers in finding the right products from the right place at the right time; thus resulting in higher conversions and better revenue streams.

  • Cost Effective

Did you know?

Many times, customers drop the idea of purchasing high cost products due to the improper visualization of the same. With the help of virtual reality, high cost products can be converted into models of much lower cost thus increasing the accessibility and probability of more conversions.

  • Better Navigation And Space Optimization

Did you know?

Augmented reality is majorly utilized in large spaces like shopping malls to improve navigation. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are also used in applications like behavioral analytics, scenario planning, crowd movement and simulations.

Scenario planning refers to emergency or disaster planning whereas by simulations we meant how claustrophobic certain people would be in certain places.

  • Enhance Consumers’ Experience

Retailers can use applications of AR/VR in combination with experience design techniques to identify and improve the present and future customer and employee experiences.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up in one line — any brand offering augmented experience will be preferred first by not only the consumers but also the in-store employees. It helps new associates in learning about in-store products being as a training tool thus eliminating the knowledge gap. It can eliminate the element of subjectivity by standardizing the training and providing better impregnation of information.


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