“What role do you see VR playing in helping shape the retail experience? And can you name anyone who is doing it right?”
Augmented reality, a form of virtual reality, is currently playing a role in retail environments such as home improvement and apparel retailers. For example, customers are able to physically see household products in their homes or clothing items on themselves before purchasing. Virtual reality expands on augmented reality by completely replacing the existing environment with a fully simulated one. Virtual reality headsets, however, have a harder time becoming a part of the mainstream retail experience due to their added complexity and hardware requirements. Products, such as the ‘Santa Cruz’ headset by Oculus, reduce this complexity by using wireless technology while maintaining a high-quality experience. Virtual reality offers a powerful opportunity for customers to experience products in a completely customized environment, such as a wedding dress at the desired venue. In summary, current technologies in augmented reality show promising trends for advancing the retail experience into full virtual reality.