Half of Consumers Prefer to Shop at Retailers with AR or VR: Study

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Through virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers offer new and enhanced ways for customers to experience products, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. VR and AR offer interesting applications and opportunities for retailers  -- and even hospitality companies --  as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing.

According to BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, retailers understand the impact that VR and AR can have on the customer experience, and 32% of retailers plan to use virtual and augmented reality within three years.

Consumers already see the benefit of VR and AR, as nearly half of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer utilizing virtual or augmented reality, according to a recent study by Incisiv, sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise. Savvy retailers have already introduced AR apps and testing and deployment of VR apps is increasing.

Macy’s is rolling out a new virtual reality experience across 70 locations, combined with an AR app for home use, to offer an immersive furniture shopping experience. Sephora’s “Virtual Artist” app uses AR to scan the user’s face, empowering the user try different looks on her smartphone. Foot Locker’s “The Hunt” AR scavenger hunt inspired smartphone-toting sneakerheads to venture across Los Angeles to unlock geo-targeted AR clues throughout the city earning the chance to be among the first to acquire new limited-edition LeBron 16 King “Court Purple” sneakers.

As more and more retailers adopt VR or AR technology over the next few years, this will increase customers’ expectations for the same from other retailers that they shop.

“Immersive technology like VR and AR is redefining the way consumers can experience and buy products, leveraging the advantages of physical space, like the store or the customer’s home, without being constrained by the space,” said Brian Brunk, Principal, BRP. “Traditional retail lines continue to blur as retail realities are rapidly evolving and the stage where the theater of retail takes place can be dictated by the customer.”

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey is available online.