A new and emerging trend today in the online shopping marketplace is to utilize Virtual Reality systems to build virtual stores. Retailers are initiating this virtual reality experienced by using focus groups to take customers on various shop along experiences. These shop along experiences involve the use of a guide where the shoppers are all going around and experiencing the same store at the same time. Through this focus group testing retailers are fine-tuning what makes a good online store and a good VR experience for retail shopping.
The Development of VR shopping
Although VR shopping is still very much in its infancy, this could become one of the more popular ways to shop online. With the rising VR devices as well as the data that retailers are gathering through VR shopping experiences, the process is mutually beneficial. The annual revenue for headsets and VR devices is set to grow over the course of 2016 considerably. Many technology theorists have also speculated that the annual revenue generated by VR devices should grow to 30 billion by the year of 2020. This is a huge boost from a market that is currently sitting at less than $1 billion per year in investment.
For the future of buying clothing online, retailers could have a huge advantage. Never before has there been a system in which a 3D rendering of a fashion item is created for users to view from every side. This type of individual shopping experience could lead to more satisfied customers as well as an ability to showcase detailed fashion items with their 3D rendered online counterparts. As work is completed in VR tech and user integration, there could eventually come a day where users can eventually start trying on their clothing in virtual-reality online. This would help with a number of issues of fit and function with online clothing retailers.
The application use scenarios of VR shopping
In its current form there are a number of big scenarios where VR shopping can deliver a huge advantage over a traditional online shopping experience:
Presenting the brand
The full branding for a company would be in place from the marketing signs, music, image of the store and more. A VR experience gives a retailer more flexibility for creating an experience that's unique and on brand without having to spend countless dollars improving a physical space. Updating brand marketing can be done with simple patches for cost savings.
Buying large investment items
Customers can inspect items like furniture and clothing from every potential angle ensuring it is to their specifications reducing the cost of returns and improving satisfaction.
Trying on Clothes/Makeup
Customers can have real ideas of what an item will look like and if it will fit a 3-D rendering of their body before they purchase. Makeup simulations and clothing simulations will show customers just how items fit without having to go to a retail location to try them on.
Overall the future of VR looks very bright and with VR shopping experiences as a potential revolution that arises as part of VR, we could soon be living in a world where going to the mall means putting on a headset.
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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