AR, VR to help 100 million shoppers by 2020

Mumbai: By 2020, 100 million people would shop in-store and online using Augmented Reality (AR), enabling people to visualise products in different settings, market research firm Gartner said on Monday.

Once technologies like AR and Virtual Reality (VR) get powered by 5G capabilities, it would lead to multiple uses like real-time rendering for immersive videos, shorter download and set-up times along with extension of brands and shopping experiences beyond stores.

“Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores and take control of the fulfilment and return process for cross-channel execution, at the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers,” said Hanna Karki, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner.

“As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”

A 2018 Gartner survey indicated that, by 2020, 46 per cent of retailers planned to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements.

Now the technologies behind these solutions have moved 15 to 30 per cent further along the Gartner Hype Cycle over the past 12 months, Gartner added.

“5G can optimise warehouse resources, enhance store traffic analytics and enable beacons that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones,” said Sylvain Fabre, Senior Research Director at Gartner.

A handful of brands have already been using AR and VR technologies like — Swedish furniture giant IKEA Group allows people to virtually place IKEA products in their space; Alibaba lets users experience shopping in full VR; retail giant Tesco provides VR tours to users and Adidas among others, uses VR video to promote its outdoor clothing collection.