Is VR changing the retail landscape?
Over the years retail has constantly changed, evolved and adapted to the consumer’s needs. We’ve gone from ordering things out of a catalogue to being able to touch, feel and test products in-store to where we are today, browsing potential purchases from the comfort of our own living rooms. However, now it’s not enough to just scroll through a selection of goods on the screen of your smartphone. Through VR, retailers are bringing the retail experience to your home as well as using virtual reality in-store to enhance how you shop.
VR in the online world
For most people, the simple reason they shop online is for the ease and convenience of it. Need something to wear last-minute for an important event and don’t have time to go shopping? The likes of ASOS, Boohoo and many other clothing brands can have your shiny new outfit with you the next day. Nevertheless, people generally still prefer the physical, in-store shopping experience to purchasing products online. What if it doesn’t fit or looks different from the picture?
VR can mimic a physical store, creating an immersive experience whilst still retaining the convenience of being able to shop wherever and whenever the consumer wants. It can also create a shopping environment that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.
Last year, eCommerce giant Amazon created a virtual reality experience in 10 malls across India, transporting shoppers into an environment filled with the company’s products, allowing the customers to browse and even handle items in full 3D.
How we use VR in-store
It would be easy to assume that VR will be detrimental to physical retail stores. If you can access an in-store experience anytime and anyplace then there’s no need for the actual brick-and-mortar, right? Wrong. VR can be used to add more value to the retail space.
A phrase that we have used a lot and you will see on our website and social media channels is that ‘together, we’re more than mobile’. This is more than just a slogan, it’s a fundamental value that goes into every piece of work we do. Just because we are a telco company doesn’t mean we just sell phones, we create experiences that our customers remember and make them want to come back again and again.
Last year for Superhero Day we invited children and parents dressed as their favourite heroes to have a Marvel VR experience in our stores. The virtual reality set up created a buzz in stores, driving in footfall as well as raising money for our partner charity Cash for Kids.
Also, as part of the partnership between our O2 Sale shop and ice hockey team Manchester Storm, we created a virtual experience for the fans, allowing them to step into the shoes of their favourite Storm player. Our guys from O2 Sale have been down at the games demoing the experience which is also available on our Youtube channel.
How do you think VR will be used in the coming years and how could your business capitalise on it?