Marketing News

Nearly half of all retailers will adopt VR or AR in 2020

9 May 2019

Have you noticed how many column inches are taken up with chat about VR and AR in retail these days? Suffice to say, it’s a lot. But do these technologies warrant this level of media coverage when real-world examples are few and far between?

Of course, no one is denying that both VR and AR offer huge potential to retail businesses. But how long can something be hailed as the next big thing before it becomes yesterday’s news?

Let’s get beyond the hype and take a look at some of the stats.

According to a report by Gartner, 100 million shoppers are expected to use AR online and in-store by 2020. The survey of retail executives revealed that 46% of those questioned plan to deploy AR or VR solutions by next year.

The desire to act is there largely because the benefits of using transformative technologies in retail are so clear. They extend the brand experience, engage customers and boost revenue.

One retailer that was quick to adopt AR technology is IKEA. The IKEA Place app, launched in autumn 2017, allows customers to see what products would look like in their own home. Meanwhile, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror allows customers to virtually experience ten of the make-up brand’s signature looks via an interactive touchscreen.

However, the number of retailers adopting VR and AR is not as high as was predicted five years ago. According to a report by McKinsey, real-world deployment of the technologies remains low – more than 60% of shoppers have yet to encounter VR or AR applications in-store.

Speaking at last month’s San Francisco Tech Fashion Week, WIRED co-founder Fred Davis discussed when mass adoption of VR may occur. He believes that customers will be more likely to adopt VR and AR once it becomes seamless, lightweight, invisible (i.e. via contact lenses) – and more affordable.

Other draws for consumers will inevitably focus on the benefits AR and VR applications offer them. For example, research suggests that technology which enables customers to test product functionality or suitability outside the store will be popular. As will apps which provide additional information about products or deliver an enhanced experience to the buyer.

With more customers choosing the convenience of online shopping, it’s up to retailers to tempt them back into traditional shops with digital in-store experiences. In today’s challenging trading environment, retailers need to know they’re not missing out on virtual opportunities.

Here at Stopgap, whilst we’re not seeing lots of demand for VR and AR skills right now, it’s certainly something on the horizon. Today’s marketers need to make sure they’re ahead of the game, because when this technology is adopted, businesses will want to implement it as quickly as possible and they’ll be looking for the talent to make that happen.

Are you a retail business looking for the best marketing talent with the most up to date skills and experience? Why not Brief Us today and one of our specialist team will be in touch. 

50%
of retailers will adopt VR or AR by 2020.
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