The more you think about it, the more shopping with VR sounds amazing.
Not only that – it’s obvious. Where else was this technology heading other than perfecting the way we interact with brands and their products?
But you may be wondering:
Exactly how will VR make the entire shopping experience more presentable to the masses? Will VR change the way we understand shopping as a whole?
And how do the businesses that traditionally use the brick-and-mortar model transition to this new world?
In the coming years, there’s no doubt we’ll see some serious changes to the world of commerce. So, let’s discuss VR’s role in those changes and consider how we can look forward to shopping in the world of tomorrow.
Changing the Blueprints with eCommerce
eCommerce is already showing its strength in the global market. Sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG) grew 42 percent in 2015, outpacing the 30 percent total eCommerce growth in that year. The value of Amazon (around $248 billion) exceeded the value of the world’s largest retailer – Walmart (around $233 billion).
Many companies have seen the opportunities technological advancements have presented for changing their business models. Some have jumped at the chance to integrate these technologies in new, exciting ways.
And while your everyday business taking advantage of VR is still a little ways off, some companies are pioneering the field of VR eCommerce today.
For instance, Swedish retail giant IKEA has already launched its own VR shopping experience on the Steam software platform. Virtual Reality Kitchen, IKEA VR Experience allows users to change the color of their furnishings and shrink themselves down to move around the simulated environment.
Without ever stepping foot into an IKEA department store, shoppers can take a close look at the products available to them for purchase. Think about it — if this same experience was incorporated into a wide range of businesses, the idea of the physical “shopping center” might become obsolete!
Instead of businesses laying out their stores in ways that appeal to the broadest number of consumers, they can structure your personal VR environment to show products that are only relevant to you.
As a result, the physical locations of stores will need to be built with this in mind. Accommodating the largest numbers of consumers will mean incorporating the element of choice.
Here’s an example:
In 19 locations around the United States, Lowe’s department stores have installed a space that enables shoppers to see a 3-D mock-up of their home renovation plans. Shoppers simply slip on an Oculus Rift VR headset to get a better understanding of room sizes, equipment, colors, and finishings. They can even fill their simulated homes with thousands of Lowe’s products.
This abandonment of one-size-fits-all architecture will lead to more efficiency – and more enjoyment – especially when consumers do all their shopping inside VR.
VR Will Encourage More Purchases
As you can now imagine, the majority of early VR integration with shopping will be in-store. Employees will guide customers through the experience and let them demo products without taking them out of the box.
Frankly, customers will be wowed into purchasing more products. And eventually, when more consumers have access to VR experiences in their living rooms, they may not have to be in-store at all.
If you don’t have to drive to a physical location, you won’t save your shopping for special occasions. You’ll be plugged into the market at all times. Any time you want an item, you’ll be able to purchase it in seconds.
VR Will Make Shopping More Fun
Amazon and other web-based shopping services are already convenient and fun to use. Now, imagine putting yourself there in a virtual store!
VR gives you the ability to walk around in a simulated world full of products you love so you can test them out and personalize them however you like. For instance, Bloomingdale’s recently tested virtual dressing rooms which let customers try on outfits that appear on their bodies when they look at a large mirror.
It’s easy to see that consumers will love the integration of VR in shopping.
Other VR Applications for Commerce
- Haptic feedback gloves and suits will allow you to pick up fully rendered, photorealistic objects to feel them and even play with them before you buy.
- Retailers who prefer the brick-and-mortar model will be able to fully design and tour their own facilities in the VR environment before ever building them.
- VR will take consumers out of the store to any location around the world to test products in specific simulated situations.
- VR will be a crucial component of Industry 4.0, the next industrial revolution.
The vision for the future of VR is getting clearer.
It’s easy to imagine a world where there are no longer giant malls and stores full of products where people roam about and make purchases. Instead, every shopping experience will take place in the living room. Physical locations for businesses will be largely used for distribution purposes rather than catering to customers.
Sure, we aren’t quite there yet. But before you know it, we will be.
Have any questions or ideas for how you could use VR to strengthen your business? We’d love to help. Contact RenderThat today.