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How virtual reality will change the future buying experience.

VR provides the immersive and engaging shopping experience of the physical store, while offering the convenience and time saved of the online store.

Shockingly, 69.99% of shoppers abandon their carts before completing a purchase. This indicates a need for retailers to do much more to convince customers to follow through and purchase items online. As businesses race to succeed in the e-commerce industry, investing in personalization strategies is more critical than ever to create a unique and engaging customer experience. According to Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience. One of the most innovative ways to do this is by implementing virtual reality. Read more below to discover the benefits of virtual reality.

The difference between VR and AR.

First things first, it is essential to know the difference between VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). With VR, the customers completely immerse themselves in a simulated environment experienced through sensory stimuli, such as vision, hearing, and touch. It replaces the user’s real world with a new 3D, digitally created world – typically through a VR headset.

On the other hand, AR does not replace the consumers’ real world. Rather AR overlays information, content, and media in real time using computer-generated technologies. Say, for example, a customer is on the lookout for a new armchair. With AR, the customer can view this armchair in their living room by filming it with a smartphone or tablet. By allowing consumers to see how certain items would fit into their everyday life, AR can provide better visualization than physical items in physical stores. Regarding the customer experience, VR technology most commonly presents itself as 3D virtual stores. In contrast, AR technology most commonly presents itself as a virtual try-on.

Virtual showrooms.

We have reached a point where browsing disorganized aisles and waiting hours in line at checkout in brick-and-mortar stores is no longer the norm. Customers are even getting bored with the aimless scrolling of 2D product images on e-commerce websites. To add a new level of intrigue to the online shopping experience, retailers can look to build virtual showrooms or virtual stores. These platforms offer customers a virtual experience that is about as close to heading out to a physical store as you can get from the comfort of your home. The idea is for the customer to put on a VR headset at home to find themselves in a virtual superstore just a moment later. Here they are free to browse the virtual products almost identically to how they would if they were in a physical store.  

But why build a virtual store? Well because many consumers still prefer shopping in a physical store. According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016, many consumers preferred in-store experiences over buying their products online, but the inconvenience keeps customers from going. Virtual reality has the best of both worlds as it can make online shopping more like being inside a physical store. 

Personalized avatars.

Big names on the high street are starting to use personalized avatars, and customers shopping with Hugo Boss can now create their own avatars to try on clothes for them. This feature enables shoppers to experience some crucial details about an outfit, for example, how items look layered on top of each other. This way, shoppers can create versions of themselves that match their measurements and try on thousands of garments without getting off the couch. Today, 80% of customers are searching for brands that offer hyper-personalized shopping experiences and letting your customers create an avatar definitely does the trick.

Improving the customer experience with VR.

According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, 32% of those using VR to shop in the virtual world had bought products after checking them out on VR platforms. Virtual reality technology can improve the customer experience for multiple reasons: 

  • VR offers customers the convenience of time saved by not having to travel to the retail location and wait in line to checkout. 

  • VR increases customer engagement, with their senses heightened as they interact with the product available for purchase. 

  • VR increases brand satisfaction, beacausebusinessesareable to provide an immersive and engaging shopping experience. 

VR checks off all the boxes of what the customer wants and needs in their shopping journey today and tomorrow.