The time we are living in is definitely marked by great technological achievements. We have computers in our pockets, several times more powerful than those used to send Apollo 11 to the Moon. We have technology that was undreamt of all around us, and we use it for everything –cleaning our homes, preparing our meals, curing people, entertainment, and anything we can think of. We even have digital assistants in our homes that do many jobs for us. The thing that would probably be considered the most baffling is the invention of VR and AR, and what it has brought to our lives.
What are VR and AR?
VR is a short way of saying “virtual reality”, and AR stands for “augmented reality”. Both refer to technological devices used to either immerse the user in a completely new environment or to add additional features to the reality and environment the user is already in. Although this may sound unrealistic or even frightening, it has certainly found its use in numerous spheres of our lives, from education, to gaming, and even in religion. When users put on their headsets, they are greeted with an interactive environment, which has lots to offer, and sometimes even more, when we compare it to real life. But can we go shopping with the help of VR and AR?
How can these technologies be used in shopping?
Most people think of shopping as a thing that cannot be changed very much. It usually consists of stores, products, money, customers, and salespeople. However, there are numerous stores around the globe that have created virtual spaces where customers can go through, look at various items, and even purchase them. There are also more possibilities related to this, such as certain places within the virtual store where customers can get more information about the items they are interested in, or enjoy numerous other interactive options. However, these stores do not need to be based on real-life ones; certain retailers, like Myer in Australia, have created a store that is unlike any other in real life –there are no floors, windows, or ceiling, and customers wander through three-dimensional space, looking at things they are interested in. This kind of shopping might provide customers with a new way of looking at things, and change the way we perceive shopping and stores forever.
Are there any downsides to this kind of shopping?
Of course, there are some, when it comes to employing technology like this –if this trend kicks off, there might not be as many stores as we are used to seeing, in the near future. This also means that there may not be many job positions for humans to occupy, as everything becomes digitalized, which may be problematic for those people who are seeking employment in this line of business. Of course, when we are looking at things like these, we must bear in mind the good sides of this innovation.
Why is VR/AR shopping good?
VR/AR shopping can be a lifesaver for people who, for one reason or another, stay at home a lot. Perhaps some people who suffer from disabilities cannot personally go to the store and enjoy the retail experience; there are also people with certain phobias that prevent them from going into open spaces, or near other people –in this way they are able to enjoy shopping uninterrupted and alone. Even though this innovation that is brought to retail may sound dangerous, there are certainly positive traits that we can focus on, and it is up to the individual to decide what way of shopping suits him/her best.