New realities in retail

The added value is an important aspect of the entertainment the customers are experiencing. One way of doing this, is by using new technologies like virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.

VR vs AR vs MR

VR Headset
VR Headset. Source: Pixabay

Virtual reality is about creating a whole new virtual space that has been created, about immersing the user in it and in which they can interact with their surroundings.

Augmented reality is more about the blending of virtual reality and real life. You could see it as a new layer of virtual reality on top of the real life you’re seeing. A great example of AR is the game ‘Pokémon Go’. The game, which has been a real success over the summer, might be a sign that consumers are looking for the next big thing: not only as a game or to kill time, but while shopping as well. Forget scratch cards or loyalty programs to win stuff, games are in it to win it.

woman using a VR headset
Woman using a VR Headset. Source: Pixabay

Over time, more and more brands will be using VR or AR to give the consumers an experience, or to make it easier to visualize what they’re buying. Nike just started using AR in their flagship store in Paris, giving the customers the possibility to customize their own pair of sneakers and seeing it as soon on a hologram as they choose their colors. On another note, Lowe’s has developed an in-store navigation system using AR.

Last but not least, there’s also mixed reality (MR) is in its process of developing. It’s what we basically hoped AR would be. MR takes place not only in the physical or virtual world, but it is a mix of both. It is a way of seeing a virtual world interacting with the real world. A good example of this is Microsoft’s HoloLens. However, MR is not interesting enough yet for brands to be applying this technology in their stores.