Virtual Reality gets real for Fashion Retail
In the past decade, the fashion industry has driven growth largely by tapping emerging markets, opening hundreds of new stores. A number of things have changed in the luxury industry. As you know, the luxury industry was growing 8 percent before — now it is growing 2 to 4 or 5 percent in the next year and it’s going to stay there. So now, in this slow growing market considering digital very seriously. And for that reason, virtual reality and augmented reality could certainly become a powerful channel for brand-consumer interactions, much like mobile and social are today with their surprising growth.
Virtual simulations of store environments could be useful to retailers. “In VR, specifically, you can test two different environments — and that is really powerful,” explained Bloom. ShopperMX, a virtual reality platform developed by Chicago-based firm InContext Solutions, allows retailers to experiment with signage, product display and layout without the time and resource commitment required to build and test these elements in the physical world.
Luxury boutique retailer The Line is already experimenting with the Samsung Gear VR headset. Shoppers can currently tour the brand’s Manhattan store, The Apartment, using the 3D video technology – even if they are halfway around the world. Similarly, VR developers Sixense and marketing agency SapientNitro recently showed a demo of a consumer virtually browsing shoes from a display, “picking them up” and trying them on an avatar, and making a purchase. The ultimate goal is for these platforms to learn a shopper’s preferences so the experience becomes more personalized with each visit.
So for the future, VR is another exciting aspect will be immersing customers in the brand. They won’t need to stare up at a billboard of a couple in Belstaff jackets, they can put their headset on and be there with them, taking a unique journey and connecting with the brand on a deeper level.