Augmented Reality v’s Virtual Reality In-store

Mar 6, 2018

If you have heard the terms augmented and virtual reality but don’t really know what they mean, then read further. Tipped to reach €87 billion in revenue by 2021, it is worth taking note of the advantages that these technologies provide for brands and retailers.

What exactly is Augmented and Virtual Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced version of reality. The technology enables you to superimpose a computer-generated image and/or information on a user’s view of the real word. Virtual Reality (VR) on the other hand is a fully immersive alternative reality. The technology provides a 360-degree computer generated view, immersing the viewer in a new version of reality.

There are firm supporters for both technologies, and pitting them as one versus the other implies that one is better, which is not entirely accurate.  Although they share a lot of similarities, as they are also completely different.

At the heart of both technologies is the entertainment element. With the rise in demand of experiential retail and “retailtainment” AR and VR technologies are in a league of their own. They enable brands and retailers the opportunity to extend their relationships with customers by prioritising engagement through offering a personalised, interactive in-store experience in a way that truly distinguishes them from the competition.  How they achieve this, however, is completely different, depending on the method used.

Augmented Reality

AR is perhaps the more widely used of the two technologies and this is primarily because it integrates effortlessly with smartphones. It is argued that AR is more geared to retail as it allows consumers to try before they buy. This could be anything from the spectacles they wear to the sofa in their sitting room. Through overlaying digital content / product information on the real world, consumers feel more confident as they are able to make more informed purchasing decision resulting in a reduced number of products returned.  AR can be both fun and informative, creating new, interesting interactions. Due to the comparatively low cost, AR product visualisation can be adapted to any product or sector making its easy to scale while enhancing the shopping experience.

Virtual Reality

As one would suspect with creating a fully immersive alternative reality, the cost of VR is a significant barrier to adoption. VR campaigns are inevitably high-end, taking consumers on an unparalleled journey to experience things and places they may never experience in real life. This masterful escapism captivates consumers and forges an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer which is near impossible to emulate. Experiencing this technology through a headset that limits other sensory inputs, means it is difficult to scale. The constraints of where the technology is used and the set up costs mean that VR is not the default choice for retail. However, brands that do make that investment secure brand advocates for life.

And the verdict is: …..

….The use of interactive technology in-store is, much like any other marketing decision, based on what your objectives are and the budget you are able to allocate towards the promotion. Knowing and understanding the pros and cons for both AR and VR will allow you to not only push the boundaries of how you decide to engage and entertain consumers but also to evaluate what your competitors may be doing to secure the loyalty of the ever-more discerning consumer.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you with your AR and VR activation in-store campaigns 01 496 3399.