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February 26th, 2018

Augmented & Virtual Reality (VR/AR) Will Revolutionize the Retail Industry

Neil Singh Virtual Augmented Reality VR AR VUDream

Neil Singh, VR/AR Contributor

Augmented Reality is reshaping the retail landscape one piece at a time. Finding a market niche to work with for this is fast becoming the preferred method for development firms in the AR and VR space.
Hyperreality is augmented mixed reality VU Dream
In recent years some of the top examples of AR in retail have been from companies like Ikea, Lego, Sayduck, IBM and Converse just to name a few. But perhaps most exciting or even somewhat surprising has been Chanel and its investment into Farfetch to transform fashion retail.
Walmart recently acquired Spatial Land, you can read more about this here: Walmart’s latest acquisition shows it’s serious about VR. This indicates significant interest now by many companies to build out AR or VR infrastructure and change the way users shop forever via the use of VR / AR and MR technologies.
Walmart is looking deeply into virtual shopping experiences and Facebook meanwhile is still developing its virtual social communities. Everyone has their own perspective on what will happen in the industry, and it is compelling to consider the different business models at play.
It could be assumed that the idea of a virtual real estate within a virtual community where retail thrives is one option! Of course, this would be a simulated environment no doubt created in VR.
But the emptiness of current VR social communities is of great concern to those who have already dived and developed for such platforms. The reality is that there just is not enough users yet for VR hardware to make a social platform worth it.
We may, however, see gaming companies explore the option since building communities in multiplayer games tends to be easier and may also be appealing to e-sport and other genres of VR gaming.
In mixed reality or augmented reality, however, competition is actually becoming very heated. Among a bunch of creative AR startups and their suitors is a case for nearly every type of AR application for retail imaginable.
Not to be left behind Magic Leap has indicated recently it also intends to move into retail as reported by several recent articles such as this one by Next Reality.
As the market heats up Microsoft today also announced it is working on a new HoloLens headset, and function and fashion may very well be incorporated to its design, alongside the various other players in the market who are focusing their interests on wearable AR or MR technologies for everyday use.
One of the things to note though is that retail has many facets to its business model. Display of items is just one opportunity, but perhaps the biggest AR and VR opportunity may very well be in advertising!
Outside of this logistics, manufacturing, and a number of B2B opportunities also exist which facilitate retail industries and perhaps for AR companies, in particular, the B2B opportunities will not saturate as fast as the B2C market.
Whether or not a lot of the early stage retail ventures will be successful in AR despite their partnerships and investments is yet to be determined, but for those who have paired up with a strong ‘bricks and mortar’ brand the pressure to reach a successful outcome is evident.
Whilst many companies can present an AR or VR solution the question of changing buyer behavior or consumer culture still remains. With mobile being the most globally adopted format it stands to reason that companies implementing VR or AR solution which take advantage of the mobile ecosystem that already exists will be at the forefront of adoption for these new platforms.


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For more information on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) stay right here at VU Dream, where I and many other talented contributors hope to provide content about topics of interest to the VR / AR / MR community.

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