“What role do you see VR playing in helping shape the retail experience? And can you name anyone who is doing it right?”
I believe the VR industry is still in the early phases of what its role will be in expanding the consumer’s shopping experience. One of the strongest benefits of the VR Technology is to create an experience that you could not have been exposed to in a traditional retail environment.
VR immediately transports and immerses the consumer in the virtual experience the retailer wants them to enjoy, learn or discover. In the QSR industry where I live, VR’s sweet spot would be in developing branded assets and re-designs. VR allows architects to see how the different colors, designs and design elements may affect and encourage customer behaviors before going to the expense of building an ever-changing prototype. It could also be utilized by corporate to easily visit different assets without having to travel to all the locations. I also believe you could immerse your customers in the intricacies of catching Alaskan Wild Caught Pollock. They would understand the freshness and detail that goes into getting this product to market.
The retail sector that can better utilize VR is the furniture industry, especially corporations that don’t have major exposure due to a limited amount of locations. Home improvement and remodeling retail stores are discovering that all the facets of a project can be a vastly better experience for the consumer who ordinarily has to make several trips to a store’s physical location because the paint colors aren’t correct, sizing issues and many more reasons to get the project the way they want it. I believe Lowe’s does a good job with VR.
VR technology will help reduce marketing and other costs that plague the retail space such as product returns. It is still a divided universe on what the future holds as headset sales continue to grow. As soon as the industry can develop a way to place orders through the headsets, the VR world will explode.