Technology has influenced how people shop in the last two decades but XR (Extended Reality) might take it a lot further going into the next few years.

Retail in today’s world now relies on online solutions that eliminate the need for physical presence in stores, makes payment a lot easier, and provides shoppers with a variety of options. With e-commerce, retail becomes easy for shop owners while shopping gets a lot more convenient for shoppers.

But VR (Virtual Reality) shopping and AR (Augmented Reality) shopping, which are tangents of XR (Extended Reality), are becoming the new buzzwords. XR shopping is a new way of shopping that integrates AR, VR and or a mixture of the two (Mixed Reality) with e-commerce in order to improve people’s shopping experiences with or without physical presence in the stores. This new way of shopping looks like what will redefine retail in the nearest future.

Although at its initial stage, some big names in the global retail industry are already embracing the idea of VR Shopping. For example, Wal-Mart might be looking to introduce this new way of shopping pretty soon while Alibaba partially introduced VR shopping as far back as 2017. Likewise, GMetri’s XR platform targets transforming the ways sales reps interact with customers.

Similarly, AR shopping is relatively new. However, there are many AR shopping apps available in stores across all mobile platforms already. For instance, you can get your shoe size right in the comfort of your home through NIKE Fit. You can get the perfect furniture for any space in your home by just taking a picture using IKEA Place.

Before the start of this decade, it did not look like the majority of online shoppers were eager for the use of these technologies in shopping. During the series of lockdowns last year as a result of the pandemic, however, the retail industry was brought to its knees.  There were many weeks that shops had to close down, while people had to get used to online shopping. However, shopping online often limits the fun and experience of the activity. VR and AR shopping represents a good solution to this going forward. People started shopping online for groceries, clothes and more.

Why VR shopping is beneficial to retailers

No doubt, VR shopping can be viewed as an extension of online shopping. It is like jumping from a chapter of a book to another. In the not too distant past, people shop by physically appearing at stores and making payments over the counters. The story has transformed in recent decades. They can now do their shopping through e-commerce without necessarily visiting the stores. However, the normal experience of shopping, including moving through aisles and getting to touch the products is removed. VR Shopping potentially fills this vacuum.

With VR Shopping, shoppers’ avatars perform their shopping in a virtual replica of a brick-and-mortar store.  They interact with other shoppers’ avatars and sales assistants and wander through the aisles as they would in the real world with their carts. They also get to touch the products virtually. However, the products they procure would be delivered as though you have placed an order from them online. The major difference is that VR Shopping is basically interactive shopping and more experiential than online shopping.

Both AR and VR Shopping allow people to interact with products in a new way. For example, these technologies will no doubt give early adopters some form of competitive advantage. People love innovations, especially if they provide real solutions. Modern-day shoppers will always fancy new ways of interacting with and learning about products. Adding these technologies to retail services will not only boost measurable conversion rates. It will also lead to a significant increase in revenue over time.

Will VR shopping and AR shopping live up to expectations?

There have been numerous radical innovations in the past that eventually flopped. But then, the future of XR shopping is one that is far from being uncertain! The global pandemic last year has necessitated that people begin to consider newer ways of doing things. According to experts, the pandemic will not be the last one. As such, XR presents an opportunity to get used to enjoying shopping without having to physically go to the stores. Everything seems to point to the fact that a substantial chunk of the world population will embrace these new ways of shopping in the next few years. Here’s how you can take engagement over the top by building Gamified Content for Virtual Reality

Besides, given that retail is an aspect of our lives that has never ceased to evolve, one cannot but expect that VR and AR shopping will become the in-thing in the future. The value that they create is one thing. The vacuum they fill in times such as was experienced globally last year is another. GMetri offers the best XR platform for online stores and physical ones.