Is Virtual Reality the Future of Mobile Retail?

Seat360 VR App from Rukkus; Image ©
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April 25, 2016

The concept of virtual reality has suddenly taken center-stage, especially in the field of mobile retail. Even as retail outfits are struggling to integrate mobile strategies and services, the increase in consumer demand for this new technology has created awareness among merchants; thereby giving rise to a new wave of companies offering unique VR-based shopping experiences to their customers.

The last decade or so has seen rapid evolution in mobile technology. Retailers and companies have to be open and willing to adapt to change as and when it happens. Else, they will be left far behind in the competition. As things stand at present, shoppers are expecting to “virtually” experience their product or service before going ahead and purchasing the same. Retail outfits will therefore have to watch the market closely and be prepared to offer VR services as and when required.

Impact of Virtual Reality on Mobile

As revealed at the Mobile World Congress 2016, VR technology has already started influencing mobile in many diverse ways. Going ahead, it is bound to impact several other industries as well, including education, travel, Medicine, showbiz and more.

There is nothing new about virtual reality. Users are already familiar with VR, via games.

However, one never expected that the technology would catch on quite so rapidly with the mobile industry as a whole. Headsets such as Google Cardboard are available under $50, thereby further pushing up the demand for VR content.

With the rapid rise in demand, developers are working to create cheaper VR content, which also can be made more easily accessible.

A number of merchants, ranging across a different spectrum of industries, are now beginning to offer such content as well. As the technology continues to evolve further, we can expect a boom in the field of virtual reality.

Companies Working on Introducing VR

  • Rukkus, one of the fastest-growing digital and mobile ticketing services, has now added on a new functionality to its app, called Seat360. This feature enables users to book and purchase tickets, with the help of virtual reality.
  • Chinese telecom giant Huawei recently announced at its annual summit, that it would be focusing entirely on offering VR and IoT products and services this year. The company also introduced an innovative, mobile-based VR headset, which is compatible with its latest P9 and P9 Plus devices. It further plans to deploy IoT across many fields, such as agriculture, water, electricity and so on.
  • Bengaluru-based Ideaspring Capital, an Indian company which aims to fund tech start-ups, has recently allocated approximately $19 million to work with enterprise-related products covering a range of industries, including computer vision, image processing, big data analytics, IoT, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Is VR the Future of Mobile Retail?

As changes continue to take place at an increasingly rapid rate, retailers are grappling to keep abreast of the new technologies and meet an ever-growing user demand for more products, services and conveniences as well. They will have to chart out a clear course of action to decide what technologies to offer and how exactly to allocate their existing financial and other resources.

Retail outlets involved only with eCommerce and mCommerce, for example, will have to plan on including a business app on mobile, which offers extra conveniences to users; especially VR and AR-related services.

Physical shops, on the other hand, will have to work on creating more space and the hardware required to offer mobile payment and NFC terminals and so on.