While an abundance of digital platforms and applications (omnichannel, e-commerce, next-gen payment systems, near field communications and beacons) have surfaced in recent years, none have managed to grab the spotlight since the smartphone inserted itself into the hearts and minds of our culture. Until now.
Virtual and augmented reality provide an opportunity for retailers to transform the shopping experience and redefine commerce as we know it. Virtual reality (VR) replicates real-world situations in which a person can interact and react (think gaming). Augmented reality (AR) takes that experience one step further by overlaying computer-generated sensory input (sound, touch, hearing, smell and taste, for example) “on top” of a real-time environment. No longer limited to shopping online or in brick-and-mortar stores, consumers can enter the virtual universe and become part of a real-time, all-inclusive shopping environment.