The Latest Tech Deep Dive: AR/VR

Deeper dive on Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

The utilization of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in retail is booming.  I think the time is now to start scaling these solutions - and I’m not alone.  Recently Fast Company Magazine shared their top leaders in deploying AR/VR technology by segment in this article.  Augmented Reality is the “on ramp” to using these richer visualization technologies.  What AR enables is the user to “see” what the product or service is – over layed with the reality of the current environment.  Both Lowes and Houzz are enabling customers to see how that future piece of furniture will look in the kitchen, or family room of your house.  This notion is not new- just getting easier as the compute technology gets more powerful and software kits make it easy for developers to implement accurately.  The ability to allay fears about an expensive, non-returnable item working in your environment is just what the consumer needs to feel confident and hit “buy”.  The retailer will see increased revenues and lower costs with mitigating post purchase regrets.  On the VR front- you don’t have to look any further than the Olympics to see that the ecosystem is ready for mainstream adoption.  Intel has sponsored viewing of the 2018 Pyongchang Olympics in full VR.  In this latest article by Nikki Baird for Forbes she highlights VR is for the Retailer and AR is for the consumer.  VR is the most immersive environment possible today- and helps the retailer fully sense the experience.  This could be a new store layout, A/B testing of shelf placement of product, or “Virtual Tours”.  Best Western is allowing users to take virtual tours of their 2,200 hotels by using Google street view and VR technology.   I hope these examples show you that these technologies are ready now- and if you have a brand experience you want to bring to life using AR or VR may be the right tool for you.