Before the internet came into existence, the only way to shop was at local markets. However, technology turned things around and we went from being able to access only those things made or grown in our immediate area to being able to buy things made and grown around the globe. Today, a large portion of the buying process can take place in the comfort of our own homes, or while we’re on the move, thanks to the advent of internet and smartphones. Fast forward to the last few years and the world witnessed the materialization of advanced technologies that have thoroughly changed the conventional business scenarios. Any technology that can positively impact the customer experience will be readily adopted by the retail and e-commerce industries to sell products. There is no question that we are moving into a much more dynamic and interesting age, thanks to technology like virtual reality (VR), which has revolutionized the global market scene. Virtual reality has been called by experts as the best new feature and the future of the retail industry. Enabling shoppers to see a virtual product on themselves or in their environment, virtual reality is incredibly useful to both consumers and retailers. E-commerce buyers are denied the ability to touch and feel the product, while brick and mortar stores allow that luxury, without having customers actually experience the product. VR is one technology that aims to solve both these concerns. VR has the ability to make shopping a more immersive experience for customers. While customers enjoy the benefits of being able to see how the products of their interest will fit on them or in their house, retailers get better product exposure, an increase in both online and in-store sales and the benefit of reduced returns – it’s a win-win situation. With virtual reality playing a major role in the overall scheme of things, several smartphone apps have also become a part of the equation. Proxgy, for one, offers online video shopping services which provide a more real, more immersive experience for buyers. All customers need to do is book a Proxgy – or their virtual avatar – who will do the shopping for them, while they sit in the comfort of their home. What’s more, shoppers can choose to be in any corner of the world for their shopping purposes and also interact with their Proxgies in real time as they navigate through malls and stores. VR has opened up many opportunities for the retail industry and offers a wide range of benefits for both retailers and customers. Let’s take a look… Boosts Customer Engagement and Shopping Experience Incorporating VR in the retail sector can steer customer engagement as it can deliver immersive experiences with the help of a 3D vision. This enhances customer pleasure and loyalty, resulting in better brand-customer relations. VR creates an opportunity for shoppers to interact with the product and helps them make an informed decision while buying a product. Provides Valuable Visuals to the Customer One of the biggest problems consumers face is trying to visualize a product – whether it’s a piece of clothing or a piece of furniture. Many shoppers struggle to picture how that product would actually look. VR helps resolve this issue by allowing the customers to visualize the product. This further improves a consumer’s experience. Puts the Customers in Control When your audience is shopping, they don’t want to be at the control of someone else. They want to shop in a way that works best for them. Virtual reality helps the customers choose their experiences, and increases their confidence in the decision-making process. Virtual Showrooms Can Mimic Physical Settings Online stores cannot offer the same experience that brick and mortar stores can and lack personal experience. In online stores, you are ordering blindly since all you have to go by are size charts. By incorporating VR technology into their businesses, retailers are drawing in buyers promising them a more immersive and real experience. Immersive Experiences Enhance Focus Smartphones allow users to take part in several activities at once – listening to music, scrolling through their social media feed, chat with several people at the same time, etc – all in a matter of seconds. This is also known as sensory overload, which means that your overstimulated senses are preventing you from focusing on a single activity. VR experiences, in this regard, are the complete opposite. You can’t switch from what you are currently engaged in. This keeps customers focused on the matter (or the product, in this case) at hand. We are yet to witness the full potential of virtual reality, but one thing we can all agree on is that it has already changed the way that people shop on the web. The coming years are going to be very important, as they will show us other layers of immersion in the world of VR. VR based solutions open a wide range of opportunities for the retail and e-commerce industries and combines the best features of online and offline shopping. This kind of experience can quickly respond to the fluctuations in customer demands and stay relevant to what customers need now. What consumers look for in the traditional retail experience continues to change, and one needs to change with them. Whether it’s in-home or in-store, VR is the change we need. Virtual reality in retail holds the potential to create unique brand experiences that drive conversions, repeat visits and higher revenue.