“What role do you see VR playing in helping shape the retail experience? And can you name anyone who is doing it right?”
I think that using virtual reality (VR) to enhance the retail experience would be best accomplished using immersive technology as opposed to headsets. A good example would be allowing customers to model various clothing outfits without having to actually dress and undress. Using VR, customers could ‘model’ more outfits quickly, without as much concern for sizing. Switching colors would be a breeze as well. Using an immersive display environment would allow friends and family to react and comment, increasing the excitement of the shopping experience. Dressing room theft would be reduced as well as the potential for sexual exploitation of any kind. Customers would feel more secure and likely to exhibit a preference for retail locations that offer the VR experience.
I believe I came across an article describing NEC as an early adopter, but I’m not aware of any commercial locations yet in my area. I am very cognizant of the technology, however, and it’s absolutely doable today.