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Retail
6 minutes read

VR in Shopping – Ultimate Guide

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
Retail
6 minutes read

Virtual Reality is one of the most exciting new app development technologies, and VR in shopping has already been beneficial to consumers and retailers. Online shopping permanently altered consumers’ expectations in a brick-and-mortar store, and now Virtual Reality is revolutionizing the online shopping experience and changing the retail industry landscape. 

This post will explore how retailers can use Virtual Reality to create a unique customer experience and improve their physical stores. VR technologies are more capable now than ever before. We will also share which technologies are essential to creating a VR experience that will delight your customers and improve your product offerings. 

VR shopping is just beginning to gain a solid foothold in the retail industry. Learn more about what this technology can do for your business and be a first-mover. 

The Benefits of VR in Shopping 

Retail and eCommerce have always been competitive industries. Businesses are always looking for an edge over their competitors. This level of competition has helped lead to innovations in marketing, retail experiences, eCommerce development, and more, as companies vie for consumer attention. 

Virtual Reality is a HiTech innovation that has long been an interest for game developers. However, it is not only video games that have utilized VR technologies. One of the most popular applications for Virtual Reality is real estate. Many realtors now offer their users virtual tours of homes to reach more interested buyers and simplify the homebuying process. 

There are good uses for Virtual Reality beyond gaming. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Virtual Reality in retail. Retailers can use Virtual Reality to:

  • Improve customer engagement 
  • Personalize the shopping experience 
  • Improve marketing campaigns 
  • Train employees 
  • Conduct customer research 

Improve Customer Engagement 

People love using cutting-edge technology like Virtual Reality. Investing in VR technologies can help retailers improve customer engagement levels. You might be curious as to how VR can improve engagement rates. There are a few different ways Virtual Reality can encourage increased brand awareness and engagement. 

First, Virtual Reality allows your customers to tour your store and sample your products, try on clothes, makeup, etc., from the comfort of their home. VR technologies allow businesses to bring their business directly into a user’s home. Since users don’t have to go anywhere or physically move, they can spend more time browsing and interacting with your brand. 

Additionally, forward-thinking companies can use Virtual Reality to create original content and host virtual live events that communicate their brand’s story, offer customers unique deals, and so much more. A VR environment offers your business another place to meet your customers and offer them value. 

Personalize the Shopping Experience 

Consumers are interested in highly personalized experiences, but delivering these experiences in a brick-and-mortar store is difficult, if not impossible. Augmented Reality has helped improve the level of personalization brands can offer in-store, but the VR experience is conducive to highly personalized items and customization

Virtual Reality allows customers to get a full overview of an item, almost as if they were holding it in-store. Customers can also use VR to quickly customize items they are interested in and see these changes in real-time. For example, imagine seeing a shirt and then changing the color, graphics, and other product features as you hold it in your hand. VR shopping allows users to buy exactly what they want. 

Drive more sales and cut returns and chargebacks when you can deliver the exact product that every customer is looking for. VR shopping offers consumers and businesses highly personalized opportunities that cannot be matched by brick-and-mortar stores or online shopping. 

Improve Marketing Campaigns 

Like many other aspects of the retail industry, marketing is all about engaging with customers. Retailers can use Virtual Reality to build immersive ad experiences that provide more value to brands and users than traditional banner ads. Higher engagement and more value are likely to lead to more sales. 

Retailers interested in using VR in their marketing campaigns should also incorporate social media. For example, allow users to share their VR experience with their friends and family and create more awareness and interest around your brand. 

Train Employees 

Retailers often have to train new employees. However, training can get in the way of shoppers or even lead to costly mistakes. Virtual Reality can be used to train new hires in a safe VR environment. VR training can also help expedite the onboarding process and get new employees up to speed faster. Virtual Reality can also help retailers minimize the risks associated with training to make workplaces safer for employees and customers.

Conduct Customer Research 

What store layouts are the most beneficial for the customer experience? What items or displays attract the most attention from shoppers? Without Virtual Reality, answering these questions can be difficult and costly. However, simulated VR stores can give your business valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t before applying them to a brick-and-mortar store. These VR experiences not only give brands insights into what customers want, but they also give customers a chance to get more familiar with your brand, store layout, and product offerings.

Important VR Technologies for the Retail Industry 

If you want to offer VR to your customers, the good news is you won’t have to create Virtual Reality features from scratch. Several technologies are used to develop Virtual Reality, but the most important ones are the engines. Virtual Reality engines integrate software and artist designs to create immersive three-dimensional experiences. VR engines are most commonly used in gaming, but as VR is used in more applications and industries, developers are using these VR gaming engines to create powerful experiences: 

  • Unity 
  • Unreal 

Unity 

Unity is most widely used to create Virtual Reality features in mobile games. Still, this engine can be used to power any type of mobile VR feature you want to create. For example, Unity has already been used to create training courses because it works with various VR platforms. 

Development features that should be highlighted include support for CAD tools, several design and artist integrated features, streamlined collaboration, and a powerful 3D editor. In addition, Unity is one of the top Virtual Reality engines available globally. 

Unreal 

Unreal, or Unreal Engine 4, is an extremely powerful VR engine loaded with several high-end development tools. Plus, Unreal works with most VR technologies currently available. In addition, developers can customize Unreal to meet their needs using C++ or Python scripts. Unreal also boasts a blueprint visual scripting and editing feature that gives development teams the ability to quickly design prototypes for testing. 

Final Thoughts 

The future of VR is bright. There are several ways this technology can be applied to the retail industry to improve the customer experience and increase sales. If you want to know more about how your business can practically use Virtual Reality, reach out to an app development partner. An experienced partner can guide you through the development process and illustrate how VR in shopping can benefit your business. 

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