i3 - November/December 2019 - 59

By Steve Smith

Business

R E TA I L ST R AT EG I E S

VR, AR are Emerging
as Sales Tools at Retail

 I 

f personal computers started a transformation of the
retail industry through internet access and social
media, smartphones completely changed the way we
think of sales and marketing of consumer goods.

customers they have now, as well as
attracting new ones. Consumer technology retailers who continue to thrive in
the marketplace, especially those who
were traditional brick-and-mortar types,
have embraced online retailing, social
media and digital marketing of all types.
And those with stores have redesigned them to make their showrooms
welcoming and technologically savvy.
VR and AR are among several new
tools that can help to keep retailers on
the cutting edge as desirable places to
buy new consumer technology.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

VR/AR Appeals to Millennials

Today, more new technology is being
sold by retailers that will transform
businesses - virtual reality (VR) and
augmented reality (AR) - and change
the nature of other industries as well.
CTA estimates that 2.1 million VR
headsets will be shipped by the end of
2019 for "immersive entertainment
both in the home and in business."
The 2.1 million unit sales estimate for
VR headsets isn't massive, but it represents an emerging technology that consumers are learning about. What's
intriguing is that retailers have begun to
use VR headsets for sales training with
in-store associates, as well as online
experiences to help sell products online.
Amazon set up a showroom earlier
this year where consumers can post 3D
images of furniture to see how those
C TA . t e c h / i 3

items would look in their homes.
Walmart uses VR headsets to train instore personnel on sales functions and
store operations. The two retail giants
have begun to use the very technology
they are selling to interact and connect
with their customers, meaning other
retailers will most certainly employ it in
the near future.
Consumer technology retailers of all
types, whether online or brick-andmortar, regional or local dealers, or
those in the custom installation business may not have VR headsets as a
major category now, or the near future,
even though there are plenty of rosy
predictions of a massive market coming in a couple of years.
But VR and AR will likely be critical
drivers in selling and keeping the

Several surveys show that the valued
millennial demographic is very interested in VR and AR and more than half
of adults would be interested in either
buying headsets or experiencing them in
a sales demonstration.
This emphasis on technology driving
retailers' operations, sales and ability to
attract and keep customers is certainly
not lost on traditional electronics/appliance retailers. A comment by Jim
Ristow, CEO of the BrandSource retail
buying group, at the organization's
meeting in Dallas is typical. "Your website isn't your second store - it's your
flagship store, the most important store
in your arsenal. You must merchandise
your website," Ristow said, according to
a Dealerscope report.
Rest assured that VR and AR will
become as ubiquitous in the sales of consumer technology in the near future, as
many other digital marketing strategies
for retailers, large and small, are today.
Steve Smith is the former editor-in-chief
of TWICE.

2020

CES 2020 Visit the Augmented and
Virtual Reality Marketplace to see how
this tech will impact retail.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

59


http://www.CES.tech https://cta.tech/i3 https://cta.tech/i3

i3 - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2019

i3 - November/December 2019 - Cover1
i3 - November/December 2019 - Cover2
i3 - November/December 2019 - 1
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i3 - November/December 2019 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20170506
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