There are already several major retail chains that have begun to experiment and work with new and innovative ways, such as virtual reality, to attract customers to their establishments and to interact with the products they offer.
With these technological advances applied to Retail, the company that takes the first step is the one that later has a considerable advantage over its competition.
Recent examples include the creative use of augmented reality to provide another dimension to the sales process.
There is the potential for augmented reality to offer new and interactive experiences to customers in the store. For example, Lego introduced a series of augmented reality displays so that when a buyer holds a kit box he wants to buy, the display shows the complete model as if he had it in his hands in front of it.
The Uniqlo textile chain has also added augmented reality in its commercial space and has placed LCD screens within the mirrors of the store that create a kind of augmented changing rooms that allow shoppers to see what their clothes would look like “virtually” without having to try it physically.
These retailers not only offer something exclusive to their customers in the form of an experience that they cannot get anywhere else, but encourage them to spend more time in their stores and to interact with products at different levels.
However, the latest news is that virtual reality will be the next innovation in radically changing the experience that retailers will be able to offer their customers in the future, driven in the last two years by several impressive launches in the realm of virtual reality.
Although initially intended to be a way to experience a real immersion in the video games, there are already new ideas on how it can be used for different applications, especially to improve the Retail sector.
The interesting news is that kits are already available at the consumer level and prices are rapidly falling.
If you think beyond interactive video gaming experiences, virtual reality has the potential to create even more revolutionary and interesting technical-level experiences for customers.
It is possible to enjoy experiences in shop with complete immersion in which customers can interact in a totally virtual space and have a complete experience of 360 degrees as if they were walking. This could lead to the launch of entirely new set-up formats.
Virtual reality also has the potential to radically change the product design process by re-creating virtual versions of non-manufactured items as well. This gives companies a clearer idea of what the customer is going to experience, without having to wait for the first prototype to be manufactured, which streamlines design revisions and could allow product failures to be identified before manufacturing.
Similarly, through virtual reality, retailers can test for new installations and distribution in establishments before printing and production takes place.
By bridging the gap between online retail experience and the current physical setting, virtual reality has the potential to increase revenue from e-commerce and offer a pseudo-real experience that goes one step further than augmented reality experiences which are already possible.
With the opportunities that technology allows, it is an interesting time for those working in the retail and customer experience sectors.
While it is not clear exactly what impact new technologies will have or what innovations will withstand over time, what is quickly becoming clear is that the customer experience of the future will be very different.