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Virtual and augmented reality applications are making big waves in the ecommerce industry. VR and AR technologies are hitting the mainstream with more affordable devices that integrate easily with existing mobile shopping experiences. Experts predict shoppers will soon use virtual reality to stroll around virtual shops and make purchases right from their living rooms. It is crucial for all retailers to understand virtual and augmented reality and why they are likely to change the face of ecommerce.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are computer-generated environments that give users the experience of being somewhere else or having another reality in front of them. The popular “Pokemon Go” is a popular example of how this works. Augmented reality is less immersive than virtual reality, making it accessible via mobile devices without using a VR headset. However, both options will gain favor with shoppers. Virtual reality applications can also be offered in-store.
There are myriad reasons why consumers will embrace VR and AR to make it a power trend in ecommerce:
Now is the time to begin. Consumers remember who brought them the technology, graphics, and personalization they crave first. Offer it before your competition and your market share can grow by leaps and bounds. The important thing is to do it right so it is memorable. Consider including features that will make it obvious another business copied you if they follow suit.
Think about what’s already been done when you’re considering which memorable features to include. For example, IKEA’s VR kitchen app enables customers to create a virtual life-size kitchen. Audi offers a virtual showroom to examine vehicles and the ability to book a virtual test drive. Both of these considered how customers interact with their products normally and provided the experience virtually.
In business, you never want to be in the position of playing catch up. VR and AR are worth the investment if you want to be a leader in your industry. It is no longer a matter of “if” VR and AR will take off, it’s a matter of “when”. Experts believe that 2017 is the year it will gain widespread traction. Retail will never be the same. The question is whether you’ll ride the virtual reality wave into the future or watch your business be outpaced by everyone else.
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