Some aspects of digitization may be more powerful in brick-and-mortar stores than in digital retail. For example, with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), consumers can try on virtual clothes and accessories, apply different paint to furniture, and experience products and services in virtual spaces.
These examples of technology in retail stores enable the customization of products, such as custom-made clothing based on an augmented reality fitting. With the optimal hardware, interactive applications, and network bandwidth, retailers have the power to offer customers immersive AR experiences.
Immersive experiences can offer both practical and marketing benefits. They can give customers an incentive to visit physical stores over digital retail, which is a great way to attract new customers to brick-and-mortar businesses. In addition to offering VR/AR goggles, some retail stores are installing AR mirrors for trying on digital clothes, interactive digital kiosks and even floor-to-ceiling screens that customers can interact with.
Retailers can thrill customers with the creative use of location-based services, 3D printing, interactive hangers and changing rooms, beacon-based technologies and more. Grocery stores and drugstores are also installing location-aware shopping carts with built-in touch screens that can answer visitors' questions and direct them to the products they're looking for. Near-field communication (NFC)-enabled carts let customers self-checkout without waiting. And these are just a few examples of ways to digitally power the physical shopping experience with technology in retail stores.