Pulkit Ahuja is the founder of Proxgy, author of 2 books, former founder of 3 startups, inventor of multiple patented technologies, processes and designs, ideator of several brands and angel investor in a couple of companies. He is experienced in founding and successfully running disruptive technology startups in mobility, transportation, ad-tech and education domains. Companies Pulkit has founded include Proxgy, Cabsguru, Unlockar, Yeshlé, RollingSlate, SchoolCampus Tech among others. He is the author of Bestselling financial fiction ‘Googled by God’. Pulkit co-authored his first book ‘Risk Management in Basel’ while pursuing his MBA.
The monsoon season is just around the corner – an ideal time for fishing. As a fishing enthusiast yourself, you feel it’s time to upgrade your stuff. We are talking about the latest fishing equipment which includes fishing rods, reels, lures, hooks, and other assorted gear. So you waltz into your favorite fishing store and take a good look at all the supplies that you might need. As you try the various fishing apparatus and essential paraphernalia, you can’t help but feel mystified due to the changed scenario. For in actuality, you are doing all this from the comfort of your home while wearing a set of futuristic goggles that can seemingly transport you to far-off places around the world. Sounds like magic but it is quite real.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are rapidly changing the way consumers interact with the retail industry. It has literally changed the way people shop and procure goods. No more physical travel or going the distance. You now possess the power to instantly teleport yourself to the store of your preference. Whether buying a fishing rod, checking out a pair of trousers, selecting new furniture or a rug that can really tie the room together or just scanning for some lucrative bargain; VR and AR are proving instrumental in both simplifying and revolutionizing the shopping experience for new-age customers.
VR (Virtual Reality) alongside AR (Augmented Reality) are now becoming an integrated feature for a plethora of retail shopping apps. Applications that are embedded with these next-gen innovations can successfully neutralize a number of customer sore-points. By unveiling ‘Visual Commerce’, the next big thing on the e-commerce front, the retail industry is improving the overall customer experience to a considerable extent. Through a well differentiated, diversified, elevated, and customized shopping expedition, AR and VR are quickly changing the name of the game.
As we take a step into the stores of the future, we are witnessing the emergence of a bold new visual commerce blueprint that is being adopted by retail players everywhere. This groundbreaking technology has the potential to usher a complete paradigm shift across the retail sector.
Retailers aspiring to develop a virtual commerce stack must take the following dimensions into full consideration:
- Firstly, you must select which technology is most suitable for a particular application and then optimize accordingly. For instance, VR can extend an immersive simulated world that can bestow life-like experiences to the customer, all in real-time. All that it needs is unaided technologies like a headset and a controller. On the other hand, Augmented Reality can superimpose the virtual elements onto the real sphere visually via a tablet or smartphone.
Though VR sounds more graphic and exciting, the technology has its share of hurdles. The most significant amongst these is that users are still not habituated towards wearing VR devices, though it is a prominent component used in the gaming circuit. But wearing ability is something that can be easily improved thanks to the relentless product R&D that is able to produce solutions that get better every time. ]
- Secondly, it is essential to decide whether the app is built for internal-store usage or out-store use. This perhaps won’t remain a concern in the longer scheme of things, but, at present, the two tech-vistas have different sets of limitations that must be addressed exclusively.
Now that you have an idea, how and where to invest, you must single out the consumer demographic that would prefer VR and AR-based solutions. Focus on that particular group which will benefit most from these technologies. Simultaneously, you should also concentrate towards resolving the various pain-points. Remember that present-day hurdles are nothing but future opportunities waiting to be tapped. The greatest plus-point of VR and AR is that they can offer a richly-personalized experience like never before.
- Thirdly, you must create a promising value proposition. Your prospective users must be able to understand your value proposition immediately without feeling overburdened or clueless. They should be able to absorb the essence of your technology in the initial interaction. Keep in mind that the value proportion remains user-friendly and easy to optimize. Only then can it be utilized effectively by the masses.
- The last bit includes joining the dots and anchoring it to your overarching business model. By establishing sound financial objectives, you can ascertain that your VR/AR offering continues to create value for your enterprise. Keep assessing and monitoring your product solutions at frequent intervals as it will help you stay market-resilient and in sync with the shifting consumer demands. Moreover, you will be able to extend an agile and flexible technology that is, otherwise, still in a nascent stage.
In conclusion, VR and AR are budding fields of technology. Yet, the investments observed in this sector have been sky-high to say the least. While the global AR and VR market was valued at about USD 11.35 Billion in 2017, it is projected to reach an astounding USD 71.42 billion by 2025, while expanding at a CAGR of 63.3% from 2018 to 2025. The implications of this groundbreaking technology are enough to transform the retail commerce vertical forever. Several new-age Indian players have already invested sufficiently in these technologies to extend comprehensive visual commerce capabilities to their customers. It is only a matter of time the rest follow suit or fear facing business perdition in the unpredictable new normal.