Deepak Agarwal, entrepreneur and C-suite level executive speaks on the Transformative Power of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on eCommerce.
Atlanta, GA, 23rd August 2022, ZEXPRWIRE, Immersive technologies have been in existence for quite some time, from the recreational sensation Sensorama — the first successful effort in virtual reality in the latter part of the 20th century — to the augmented reality gaming phenomena Pokémon GO in 2016. However, it is only recently that businesses, particularly those engaged in online retail, have begun to realize the potential of augmented reality and virtual reality in eCommerce.
“This realization came in 2019, when the Google Augmented Reality (AR) Survey reported that 66 percent of people were interested in using AR in making purchasing decisions,” said entrepreneur and C-suite executive Deepak “Dee” Agarwal, who has more than 20 years of experience leading multinational eCommerce businesses, including popular online retailer NoMoreRack.com.
What is the difference between augmented and virtual reality? While similar, augmented reality (AR) is the overlaying of computer-generated objects in the real environment, while virtual reality (VR) is a full digital experience viewed inside a closed environment.
Dee Agarwal added, “The global pandemic pushed the need for augmented reality and virtual reality in eCommerce to the forefront of the industry as a way around new health and safety regulations.”
Despite the push, many eCommerce brands are slow to adopt and implement this technology, however, Deepak Agarwal believes companies that correctly leverage AR and VR to enhance the virtual shopping experience will have a leg up in the market with customer engagement and awareness.
Deepak Agarwal explained that while getting products into the hands of consumers is critical for any business, engaging customers using new marketing and advertising techniques is just as important. AR and VR have the potential to amplify awareness of products and services by offering a unique experience for consumers, putting them ahead of the competition, and driving attention toward their brand.
With these immersive technologies, online retailers have the opportunity to design and launch innovative marketing and advertising campaigns to capture the curiosity of consumers and influence their purchase decisions. One notable example of a brand using virtual and augmented reality to engage and intrigue consumers is Audi. This car manufacturer has created an app that boasts a virtual showroom that allows customers to browse, and even take a car for a virtual test drive.
“AR and VR are making it easier than ever for consumers to interact and engage with a product, reaching those who otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so in person. As a result, more people are able to experience a brand and its products for themselves,” Deepak Agarwal said.
Making Online Shopping More Convenient
Of course, the convenience of experiencing a product virtually doesn’t stop with seeing how the product looks, Dee Agarwal pointed out.
Augmented and virtual reality can help retailers create virtual spaces where consumers can experience products even in the comfort of their own homes, without having to physically visit a brick-and-mortar store. “In these virtual environments, with the aid of AR and VR technology, consumers can experience all the features and capabilities of products first-hand. They can even see how these products look when placed in the real world,” Dee Agarwal added.
IKEA, the Swedish furniture manufacturer, is a prime example of how VR and AR are transforming the online shopping experience. The IKEA Place app lets customers furnish their physical space with virtual pieces, allowing them to personalize their style and purchases completely to their home.
With AR and VR, retailers can overcome physical limitations and provide their customers with virtually unlimited access to their entire inventory of products. Although this doesn’t necessarily translate into immediate sales, it does translate into savings. “There will no longer be a need for costly photoshoots of different designs and colors for a single product. One 3D rendering of a product could be made to accommodate changes in color and slight changes in design,” Deepak Agarwal explained.
The real selling point of AR and VR in eCommerce is how online retailers can provide customers with interactive product catalogs and simulations, and do this at a fraction of the cost of conventional on-site sales techniques, such as print brochures and catalogs that require more resources to produce, from hiring photographers and renting space to printing hundreds or even thousands of these materials for dissemination.
“With the virtually limitless potential that immersive technologies bring to eCommerce, online retailers would do well to quickly adopt and implement them. Once in place, these technologies can bring about an unprecedented increase in awareness and engagement and even customer satisfaction and loyalty,” Deepak Agarwal said.