Customers definitely carry the experience they had in the store along with their products. And great customer experience is the sole reason for customer loyalty.

“Good customer experience interactivity is the source of good sales. 2018 is all about customer experience for the retail industry” says Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester.

The Retail industry is observing quick adoption of technologies, where retailers are seeking hi-tech solutions to keep their customers happy and to be on-par with the rest. Few retailers are testing technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), while few of them have already adopted them.

Technologies/Features:

Virtual Reality

This technology is predicted to be the next big thing in the world of commerce, because it eliminates the limitation of space and time. As we know there are a lot of online retailers who do not have a store of their own & who cannot afford to have one. This technology will allow retailers to give their customers a virtual experience of their store. It not only saves money for the retailers but also saves time for the customers. Customers can experience brick & mortar shopping experience at the comfort of their home or any place. The drawback is that it requires hardware (device used for VR), which not many customers have at this point of time.

Many technologists are coming up with affordable solutions. And Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift glasses are few of them. The device converts any smartphone into a virtual reality headset with two lenses and a magnet. Volvo used Google Cardboard & Lexus used Oculus Rift glasses to let customers take virtual test drive of their new models. Therefore, this technology has a lot of potential in the near future. Be it in Automotive, Fashion, Furniture, Home Designs, etc.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality has been around for quite some time now. A lot of mobile applications are using augmented reality, right from Snapchat providing unique filters to games like Pokémon Go. And now customers desire AR in stores. According to research, Digital Bridge shows that 69% of consumers expect retailers to launch AR apps.

Progressive retailers like Rebecca Minkoff are adding digital mirrors to dressing rooms for a unique, personalized retail experience. This technology records footage of customers from all angles as they turn around and lets them play it back. The mirror also lets customers compare footage of different outfits side by side.

“Augmented reality is going to change the way that the fashion industry creates, showcases and retails its products. The year ahead will see an explosion in opportunities for this immersive technology to totally redefine what we understand as fashion today” said Matt Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency.

However, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are technologies that are in the nascent stage and it is vital that retailers remember that shoppers still like human contact, and without properly trained store staff or in-store promoters helping consumers to use the tech, it simply won’t be effective.

Business Benefits

  • Advantage of VR is it eliminates the limitation of space and time which reduces operational costs and enhances customer satisfaction
  • Gain customer loyalty with AR and VR to increase sales
  • AR facilitates intuitive usage as customers can visualize the product fitment in a chosen environment before purchasing

Read our series of blogs in The Connected Store 2.0 below :

Part 1 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Why the Traditional Store Is Passe-

Part 2 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Mapping & Tracking Customer Frequency

Part 4 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Endless Self-service Possibilities

Abhishek Mahajan

Always excited for a challenge to get me out of my comfort zone and keep me running. Special liking for opportunities that let me build a team and walk with them to deliver success while never shying away from failures.