Retailers exploring new facets through AR/VR

May, 2019

Retail industry is one of the highest contributors in global economy. It is the most competitive industry, where retailers need to find new ways of engaging customers and establishing a brand. Retailers are already leveraging advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, AR, VR, Bigdata, NLP, among others for enhancing their sales, driving consumer experiences, merchandise planning and supply and demand planning.

How AR/VR are improving Shopping Experience

  • By providing more interactive visualization of products, AR/VR are boosting the confidence of customers to complete the sale.

  • AR/VR are creating virtual encounters, for offering hassle free shopping.

  • A VR enabled store allows customer to virtually browse the physical store and make the purchase from anywhere. E.g. Timberland is offering virtual fitting rooms which allows passers-by to virtually try on clothing available in the store using hand gestures.

  • An online retailer using AR/VR can design 360° panoramas which are accessible on most platforms, including smartphones and digital signage.

  • AR/VR solutions in retail are offering “Try-before-you-buy” concept for making the in-store experience reality at home. Mostly clothing, makeup and home improvement retailers are adopting these solutions.

  • Using AR/VR retailers are creating faster custom product, by producing virtual versions of the desired product. E.g. Nike’s makers experience, where customer wearing sneakers enter dark studio, then by combining AR, AI and videowalls, customized design is being delivered to customer in 90 minutes.

  • AR /VR are impressing shoppers by providing product info in context. E.g. Starbucks store at Shanghai helps customers see coffee processing through AR/VR

Retailers using AR/VR:

SephoraAR solutionCustomers can visualize how a makeup product will look on them.
AlgoFaceVirtual-makeup SDK for all web and mobile platformsCustomers can try (test) several makeup shades, which they are thinking to purchase.
IKEA and WayfairAR for furnitureIt allows customers to place a product in their virtual home.
Lowe'sAR solutionCustomers can use in store navigation
AlibabaVR device conceptCustomers can walk through a store and buy products virtually
eBay, Alibaba, Adidas, Tesco, CoopAR/VR solutionsOther Retailers Implementing AR/VR


AR/VR in retail will transform the shopping experience of the customers by providing a completely different environment to them. It is just the beginning of AR/VR in retail industry, but this implementation will continue to expand. AR/VR in retail market is expected to reach ~ $1.5 billion by 2025. AR/VR in retail industry will create a differentiated brand experiences for the customers, resulting in improved conversion rate, revenue and repeat visits.

AR in retail is mostly used for consumer-based applications to basically answer questions such as- how the product will look on me? how the furniture will look in my home? How to use this product? VR on the other side is focusing more towards business uses such as real-time store performance, store design, shelf assortment and planning. VR retail stores are enhancing the shopping experience of customer by offering huge product portfolio.

– Sonam Chawla
Research Analyst
Infoholic Research