Virtual reality and augmented reality are perhaps the next big revolution coming to the retail industry. Not since online shopping changed the face of retail has something this important and this market-changing come along. But what are VR and AR – and are shoppers ready for these new ways to shop?
Online shopping hasn’t evolved much in recent years – except that it works better than ever because of faster Internet service. But VR and AR are sure to change the way people shop online. Today’s retail industry struggles with how to show online customers what products are like. VR and AR will make that easy.
The right POS mobile system will be more important that ever as VR and AR are implemented, and in-store sales are sure to suffer even more. The new point of sale for retail will be online, and contactless payments could give way to pre-stored information and ultra-quick checkouts from within a virtual world.
Defining Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality
VR and AR aren’t the same thing.
As it pertains to business, virtual reality is a completely computer-generated artificial environment created by programmers to look as real and inviting as possible. VR strives to include sights, sounds and other user experiences that are associated with the retail industry. Customers use a headset to facilitate the interaction. Devices on the market now include the PlayStation VR, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
Augmented reality, however, is real. It’s a live and direct connection to a real-world environment. But a computer augments – or enhances – the environment with additional video, sound, graphics or data. The game Pokemon Go is a great example of AR that’s available today.
VR and AR In Business
While many businesspeople think VR and AR are potential future replacements for in-store sales, these methods of interaction are already being used. Chinese online retailer Alibaba began offering a VR sales experience late in 2016, and 30,000 people tried it in the first hour. IKEA, Tommy Hilfiger and Dior offer a limited VR experience. Audi and Volvo do too.
And here are some details about AR, VR and the retail industry that you may not know:
- A quarter of global shoppers say they’ve tried VR at home, at a friend’s home, in a shop or at an event.
- Customers are already buying special AR and VR devices, including PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift.
- Half of VR users play games through their devices, and a quarter experience live entertainment too.
- Chinese consumers are most willing to adopt the technology, according to recent surveys.
- German consumers are concerned that VR will have a negative impact on in-store sales, perhaps making the new point of sale for retail something in the virtual world instead of a place in the real world.
- Japanese and United Kingdom consumers seem the least interested in VR and AR at the moment, research shows.
In-store sales may not be giving way to virtual reality and augmented reality just yet, but this new technology is coming sooner than many in business realize. When choosing point of sale software for your retail or online store, be sure to consider whether the technology behind it is ready for VR and AR checkouts. You need a POS mobile system that’s up-to-the-minute and ready for the future.
For more information on how the UniPay gateway can help you meet the payment processing demands of the present and future, contact us. We want to work with you toward the greatest success possible.