VR, AR and 5G: The Next Retail Revolution
Virtual Reality (VR) Augmented Reality (AR) have vast potential to dramatically enhance customer experience. The technology and its availability continue to increase in scope and the results of a study by Gartner, the world's leading research and advisory company, suggest that 100 million people will be shopping in VR & AR by 2020.
Hanna Karki, the principal research analyst at Gartner, said that retailers were under 'increasing pressure' to explain the purpose of physical stores and to take control of the fulfillment and return process 'for cross-channel execution'. As a direct result of such pressure, retailers are turning toward AR & VR to 'offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores'.
Another study by Gartner indicates that 46% of retailers 'planned to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements'. Ms Karki said that these retailers would be able to 'use AR as an extension of the brand experience to engage customers in immersive environments and drive revenue'. In addition, she noted, AR could be used outside physical stores after a sale had been made, which could 'increase customer satisfaction and improve loyalty'.
The introduction of 5G is set to drive the AR & VR market ever further and faster forwards. Gartner carried out a 5G enterprise survey and found that '5G attracts the highest expectations of becoming a driver of new revenue, across all use cases and respondents'.