The Virtual Reality opportunity for retailers

The Virtual Reality opportunity for retailers
March 22, 2017  |  BY

If you’re a retailer, technology can seem like a constant game of catching up. First you needed a world-class e-commerce site, then the right CRM solution, then the ideal marketing automation software. Now you have to adapt to Virtual Reality (VR).

You’ve undoubtedly read article after article about how VR is infiltrating every aspect of life. Medicine, education, sports, gaming, travel and many other sectors are changing with the use of this space-age technology. It’s happening in retail as well, with big players like IKEA, Lowe’s, Toms and North Face using VR headsets to help consumers make smarter choices and, of course, to boost sales.

Since the emergence of e-commerce, companies with physical stores have been scrambling to remain in the black, let alone break even. These retailers have faced a dual problem: budgets simply aren’t as large as they were in the past, but they also need inventive ways to lure customers who have dozens of online alternative at their fingertips. VR is one way to create more appeal for consumers.

But VR also has huge potential to improve things on the internal side of the equation. I’m talking how retailers actually run their businesses and make key operational decisions.

With VR, teams in marketing, merchandising and in-store environments can more easily collaborate. They can experiment and explore ideas without the usual expensive investments. Just put on some VR headsets and discuss the viability of the concept. Discover what’s most appealing for teens, for seniors, for moms, for people in various demographics and regions. They can even determine how to improve upsell and cross-promotional strategies.

VR also overcomes the problem of having key stakeholders and employees in multiple cities or multiple offices. Now everyone can get together in the virtual meeting room, do virtual walk-throughs and make decisions on the fly, all at much less cost than before.

As you can see, as VR enhances the retail experience for consumers, it also improves how companies conduct business. That’s a reality that any CEO will appreciate.