Virtual Reality Only 2 Years Away to Revolutionize Consumer Shopping
According to Neil Chandler, the CEO of the financial services at Shop Direct which is United Kingdom’s firm that owns Very.co.uk. and Littlewoods, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are only one to two years away from revolutionizing the way of shopping for consumers.
Chandler, who has a background in Information and Technology and to whom the group CIO Andy Wolfe of Shop Direct recommended that once the consumer technology companies get the correct form factor, then it will require no more time when augmented reality and virtual reality will be widely used by consumers.
Chandler said at the SAS Global Forum in Las Vegas, “I’m not sure we’re all going to wear these big goggles like gamers but once you get these technologies onto glasses or contact lenses [it will go mainstream], and they’ll work out it pretty quickly.”
He also said that the augmented reality would also empower the consumers to see that how the sofa will look like into their living room, or how they themselves will look while wearing a piece of clothing. While virtual reality will provide even more personalized approach to the consumers for shopping than the augmented reality.
He recommended that “No retailer can lay out their store to be personalized for a consumer but in a virtual world, if you have the data and the analytics, you can make sure you can see fashion items in one area and things for the kids in another area.”
He also said, “Where it gets really interesting is when you overlay the tactility challenge. So you get gloves – they’re not quite to our level of refinement just yet but they will be soon – where you can reach out and touch a garment and get a sense of what it feels like, whether it be rough or cotton or silk.”
Chandler said this middle ground between the augmented reality and virtual reality is amazing, and it will also help a lot the pure-play online retailers like the Shop Direct to compete against some of the differentiation points that the physical retailers have. He also believes that this all happening is only “one to two years away.”
He said, “I think it’s close. If you look at Sony’s £349 virtual reality headset which is geared towards gaming, it is pretty good; the technology has accelerated so far in the last 12 to 18 months. And as for the tactile area, the technology is there; they have the prototypes so I don’t think it will take them long to start to put that into production – it isn’t 10 years away.”