Virtual reality has been touted as the “next big thing”. It is estimated the virtual reality market could be worth $30 billion by 2020 with 171 million people using virtual reality hardware and software by 2018. In fact there are currently 685 VR startups with an average valuation of $4.5 million in the United States alone.
One industry VR has the ability to make a significant impact on is the retail industry. It is foreshadowed this technology will bring dramatic differences to how people shop. Through VR and AR customers will for the first time have the ability to try on clothing without leaving the comfort of their home while interacting with a customer service agent.
With the rise of ecommerce shopping, VR would eliminate many of the pain points customers face. It would also create an opportunity for brands to bring a level of customer service and human interaction that does not exist. That kind of interactivity often leads to immersion, and that immersion leads to conversion. At the same time, VR can open up exciting new possibilities for cross-sells and upsells, as consumers wander through a virtual store rather than being trapped on a static 2D product page.
By using VR and AR retailers have the ability to integrate feeling, both physical and emotional, into the buying experience. This would allow online retailers for the first time to have a way to bring the touch and try charm brick and mortar competitors have to their customers’ shopping experience.