VR and retailers are set to be the hottest new collaboration of the next season and a driving force for e-commerce businesses, boosting the customer shopping experience in ways never seen before.
Consumer behaviour is consistently keeping the retail industry on its toes in terms of where, when and how they consider purchasing goods and services. In this sense, technology plays a vital role in assisting, and in many ways shaping these consumer behaviours.
According to the National Retail Federation in the U.S, 80% of shoppers stated that new digital technologies have improved their shopping experience, which occurs predominantly online. In the report, consumers voiced that the biggest concern when shopping online was the initial hurdle of researching features and reviews of a good. We buy with our eyes first, accompanied with logic second, so the physical barrier between a screen and a product poses a challenge for retailers. Or, perhaps, a great opportunity.
In 2016, eBay and Australian retailer brand Myer launched the world’s first virtual department store, a shopping experience whereby consumers could browse over 12,500 products using a new feature dubbed Sight Search™ with their VR headset. Unfortunately, the number of people who owned a VR headset in Australia at the time was not enough to sustain the project.
The concept, however, was ahead of its time, and today, with the proliferation of VR users all over the world, the advancements in the technology and its cost-saving benefits, virtual markets are making a roaring comeback.
In 2016, iconic Swedish lifestyle brand Ikea launched a virtual experience through their app where consumers could design their dream kitchen based on specific measurements the users’ input. The experience allowed consumers not only to have a visual blueprint of the kitchen, but it highlighted potential challenges and dangers for people who had special needs, children or pets.
“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives. We believe virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers.”
[Jesper Brodin, Managing Director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager IKEA Group]
The applications of implementing VR with e-commerce are immense. Retailers can now:
- Allow consumers to “try” a wide array of products in a low-risk setting
- Provide a “training tutorial” on how to use or assemble a specific product in a safe environment
- Deliver an unforgettable shopping experience, anywhere and anytime ahead of their purchase
In a report by Walker Sands, 66% of consumers reported that VR would better their shopping experience. A further 35% stated that they would shop online more often if retailers implemented VR features to try and test products with 22% being adamant that they would stop visiting physical stores if v-commerce became mainstream. And it will be.
At MOONHUB, we believe we are ahead of our time, creating solutions that put our clients and partners in the most advantageous position to outperform in their industries, today, and more importantly tomorrow, in our ever-evolving world.