Virtual reality technology may shake up the retail industry in a short time – but the tech needs to become more accessible in order to get off the ground and become truly scalable. Nevertheless, as examples from different categories show, it is a great solution for retailers when it comes to sharing immersive, moving shopping and brand experiences with customers.
Virtual reality in retail is predicted to be one of the next big things in the world of commerce, shaking up the whole industry. Why? Because it eliminates the limitations of space and time, so that retailers can dream of whatever experience or design, even if they go against the law of physics.
We believe virtual reality is going to fundamentally transform the human experience of shopping and, in doing so, lift sales for those retailers who get ahead of the curve.
Brands have an opportunity to stake out an innovation leadership position by building custom virtual reality experiences that engage customers beyond physical and digital brand experiences. We call this v-commerce. V-commerce will be the next evolution of e-commerce, as retailers and brands create fully immersive, contextual shopping experiences that go beyond the flat world of 2-D e-commerce.
Along with the inherent excitement it fosters, virtual reality adds an enticing layer of information and comfort to the e-commerce experience. Consumers can be presented with a range of data regarding the products or services they are about to purchase, complemented by their ability to step into the future – into their future selves with said products and services.
With virtual reality removing the barrier of too little information or interaction, consumers are likely to develop a confidence in their purchases that then translates into increased comfort with (and affinity toward) the brand providing such distinct experiences. They are more likely to reach the renowned euphoric state of discovering a great buy, one that they not only wish to brag about, but will also remember and come back for.
Virtual reality is a transformational medium. It also allows for creating entirely new types of experiences and the use of our Storyscaping approach to fully immerse consumers in virtual worlds that are “real” to them emotionally and psychologically, the impact of which we are just starting to explore.
But the mass adoption of virtual reality is coming. Within the next twelve months, VR-enabled mobile devices will be announced by every major smartphone manufacturer. In twelve to twenty-four months, we will start to see more experiences built for mobile VR usage. Then in three to five years, we expect to see full adoption.
Brands should start getting ready now.