The adoption of VR and AR is steadily changing the way consumers interact with the world, and AI and machine learning are allowing businesses to profoundly personalize their services.
Retail companies aren’t an exception.
The interest in mixed reality is exceeding, and retail provides a number of exciting possibilities for these new technologies. Technological advancements are pushing the retail industry forward, into an exciting new future. The power of these innovations will reshape buyer behavior and the shopping journey.
Customer Experience Empowerment
Artificial intelligence is expected to improve and revolutionize customer service. According to one study, AI bots will account for 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. After all, customers love the immediate and convenient experience chatbots offer.
Customer service, however, demands some personal touch and empathy. As such, a great chatbot is one that confuses the customer whether if they’re talking to a machine or a human. Thanks to advancing machine learning capabilities, chatbots will soon be able to grow their knowledge and understanding – becoming emotionally intelligent and quick in processing queries.
One of the greatest benefits of using AI in retail is, of course, the enhanced customer experience it brings.
Augmented reality has the potential to reshape retail stores, making it more immersive and efficient.
One of the most prominent examples of customers interacting with mixed reality comes from the giant IKEA. The Swedish retailer has been a fan of VR for years – it says a lot about its corporate vision and the impact and value of VR and AR.
Via the company’s application, you can see exactly how a specific piece of furniture would look and fit within your space.
Lowe’s has also jumped on the mixed reality bandwagon, investing in VR experiences to reinvent kitchen visualization and designing.
But, deciding on which couch or kitchen appliance would be best is just the beginning.
Adidas has recently partnered with Microsoft Kinect to build a body scanner that sits in their physical stores. Once you have been scanned, you can try on clothes virtually, anywhere, whether you’re shopping in the store or at home.
And, Adidas isn’t alone. Ralph Lauren, Gap, and Uniqlo are just a handful of companies that have eliminated the hassle of trying on numerous articles of clothing.
We would be remiss to not include Amazon- in a VR/AR reality article.
Launched in January 2018, Amazon Go is the physical manifestation of the retail giant’s 1-Click checkout where customers simply “click” by taking an item off the shelf.
Upon arrival, you have to launch the Go app (available for iPhone and Android) and connect to your Amazon account. You are assigned a code that identifies you and anyone else you want to be billed together with.
The benefits are obvious and endless — no waiting in line or fussing around with self-checking machines – and it’s a new way for Amazon to gather intensely valuable information about its core customers.
The Future is Now
Virtual and Augmented Realities have enormous promising applications in the world of retail. From building a brand image to creating virtual experiences for customers, including these technologies extends beyond novelty.
The continued development of these technologies – combined with increased retail competition – will result in fundamental changes and is going to shape the future of the retail sector.