“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 the logistics of VR, as in a headset someone puts on, would be really difficult to use in the retail space. Most people don’t have experience or own a VR headset. So putting one on, making sure it is secure and focused would probably require skilled assistance. This takes away a team member from the sales floor. The other thought that comes to mind is how do you clean and sanitize the headset after each use.
What can take off in the retail space is augmented reality. There are a few ways I see augmented reality coming to life in the retail space. The first one is the mirrored-finish displays that allow someone to virtually try something on, although I have never seen this outside of a show floor. The next is using the clear LCD panels to have content “flying” around an object. The problem with this is that it really isn’t interactive. It would make the purchasing process more like going to a museum.
The augmented reality that intrigues me the most is using something like RFID tags in a product that can be scanned or placed on a shelf with a screen behind it that shows additional information like materials, available sizes/colors in store/online. I think this option allows for the retailer to carry less inventory on the floor while allowing for more variety of products to be available to the consumer, if not that day then within a day or two. I would much rather wait two days and get the color combination I want in the size I want than settle on the all-white shoe in the store because that is the only thing on hand in my size.