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Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) – collectively known as Extended Reality (XR), have accelerated the shift of industries like retail well into the future by unleashing a new information-delivery paradigm.
With the 5G technology boosting its potential and opening new possibilities for XR, it will be a key trend to watch out for in next few years, and is expected to become an $80 billion market by 2025.
However, businesses need to clearly understand that AR and VR technologies aren’t plug-and-play. These immersive technologies must be integrated well with their business models, data, people, and processes for effective application to drive friction-free experiences. Such planned integration makes moving from concept to pilot to scale seamless.
The proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), interactive mobile technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G networks has brought XR to shoppers much earlier than expected. It delivers enriching immersive “try products before you buy” experiences to customers, who are now able to explore and visualize physical products with digitally integrated content and make more informed purchasing decisions online. By augmenting the reality in physical stores with AR and VR, brands are able to integrate virtual content to items in stores as well – a true case of phygital.
Indeed, many retail companies see “virtual try-ons” as a norm and promising method to enhance the emotional dimension of online shopping experiences and boost retail performance. Some brands also offer customers the option of meeting their social contacts virtually if they are also shopping in the same store through a native chat application and other social features.
Adding to the layer of benefits, customers can also interact with store assistants thereby offering the brand an opportunity to handhold the customers during their purchase journey and deepen its relationship with customers. This collective experience for customers, their family and friends, favorite influences and in-store/virtual assistants can lead to strong emotional connect and long-lasting relationships between brand and them.
XR is a key tech enabler for gamification of retail and dematerialisation of the retail offerings. Retail XR also lays the groundwork for setting consumers’ expectations for future experiences with other business sectors.
Though many enterprises are seemingly interested to recreate the VR experience in real life, Top research analyst firms it will take 5 - 10 years before these technologies reach a mature level. To leverage the opportunities of AR/VR or XR, organizations must address three key challenges:
The AR and VR market is expected to expand over 192 billion US dollars by 2022.
With these immersive technologies slowly but steadily making inroads into different industries, many technology vendors have started building custom AR and VR based applications to address specific business contexts and deliver far superior customer experiences than ever.
Ready-to-deploy XR solutions exist and are helping visionary brands in industries from telecom to retail and manufacturing plug in XR capabilities seamlessly and elevate experiences. At our dedicated AR/VR practice, we develop, exhibit, and have deployed these products for perceptive, trendsetting brands.