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Meghna Saraogi

Meghna Saraogi is a graphic designer turned entrepreneur. She is the Co-founder and CEO of StyleDotMe.

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The Future of Retail: How Immersive Tech Is Experience of Tomorrow

Immersive technologies like Augmented Reality are here to stay and are ushering in the next Industrial Revolution. This new technology is opening up a realm of possibilities that the world has never seen before and is making improvements in industries that have not had a major technological shift in a long time.

The past decade has seen some important changes in the retail industry and it continues to evolve quickly. The whole industry is incredibly dynamic as it’s not only transparent and susceptible to cultural, economic and technological changes. The market dynamics are changing faster than ever and retailers need to adapt to new shifts in demographics, attitudes and consumer preferences. The retail industry was valued at USD 23,460 billion in 2017 and is expected to register a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period to reach USD 31,880.38 billion by 2023. In the context of seismic change, successful retailers will be able to improve operational performances and boost sales by a customer-centric approach focusing on technology & innovation and leveraging insights for new product development.

India is on its way to become the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce market in Asia, driven by robust investment in the sector and a rapid increase in the number of internet users. Digitization is the main cause of large-scale business transformations across multiple platforms of B2B business, ensuring unprecedented opportunities for profit creation and market capture. Emerging technologies are enabling retail businesses to garner more consumer interest, elevate the shopping experience, maintain social distancing while also smoothening day to day operations.

Changing how consumers shop

The traditional in-store and online shopping consumers have been using to learn about products will fade as technology enables us to shop in a virtual world. Shopping will take place in an augmented version of our usual world, where mixed reality becomes the new reality. Consumers will only pay once they receive complete information about what their product experience will be like. Shopping will become an adventure in a space where consumers experience different product compositions, simulating real-life needs before making the final buying decision. 

Giving retail a boost

There is a huge potential market if retail businesses look forward to adopting emerging technologies like AR & VR. The demand will be substantial in the future as the implementation of these technologies will enable businesses to grow and increase financial prospects. The implementation of technologies in retail will help retailers and consumers alike have a better shopping experience while reducing operation cost for retailers and offering an immersive, engaging experience to consumers. 

The emerging technology solutions vastly improve customer engagement and involvement. Technology like virtual reality is taking customer engagement to a whole new level by providing customers with virtual tours of the store. Tech integration has been on the rise in the retail industry. And to say, that this adoption of the rapid adoption of technology has acted as a saviour during the pandemic would be an understatement. In these dark times, technology has acted as a beacon of light, guiding us towards the solution. Omnichannel has been a growing trend for some time. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, that trend is here to stay. Ecommerce traffic is growing as shoppers want to avoid crowds and might prefer to order online before coming to the store to try things out and pick them up.

AR as the next step in retail

According to a report by BCG, 9 out of 10 brands plan to use AR in their campaigns in the coming years. AR is all about engagement and word-of-mouth, as by its very nature AR content is highly shareable. Companies that adopt AR are being seen as cutting-edge and fun, all of which is helping to improve brand perception and image. An immersive technology pulls a person into augmented reality, enhancing everyday life by making it more appealing and attractive as it leverages the 360 space/sphere, users can look in any direction and see the content. Some types of Immersive Technology extend reality by overlaying digital images on a user’s environment. These Immersive Technologies are 360, VR, AR, MR - used by retailers to display their products in a multidimensional form and allow users to try them on from anywhere. Retailers are also integrating data analytics into every touchpoint of their business, including sales predictions, store optimization and product recommendations to digitize and smoothen their whole process. 

Immersive technologies like Augmented Reality are here to stay and are ushering in the next Industrial Revolution. This new technology is opening up a realm of possibilities that the world has never seen before and is making improvements in industries that have not had a major technological shift in a long time. As time passes, it will be exciting to see how Immersive Technology will continue to develop and progress and what other emerging technologies will come out of it and how they will shape the future. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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