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article imageAmazon is looking into virtual and augmented reality store spaces

By Jack Derricourt     Mar 27, 2017 in Technology
Amazon is looking to use cutting edge AR and VR technology to revitalize the physical retail environment. With all sorts of physical store space projects on the go, the ecommerce company thinks virtual and augmented reality could help out in a big way.
A new report from the New York Times hints that Amazon could be looking to pick up where physical retailers are currently dropping off. As U.S. retailers kick the bucket with rapid speed, Amazon looks to gain by creating a new model for physical store experiences for consumers — and turning to AR and VR could help make that happen.
Amazon has ambitious plans for a variety of physical store spaces — including its grab what you want and ‘just walk out’ store model. The company has already begun developing bookstores and grocery stores, and has redoubled their efforts in recent months. They are setting their sights on grocery stores in India and are hoping to open up their tenth bookstore very soon. But according to the New York Times report, Amazon is also looking to create physical marketplaces for products like furniture and large home appliances — items that customers are hesitant to purchase online, sight unseen.
That’s where virtual reality experiences and augmented reality apps could be a strong selling point. Amazon is hoping to use VR and AR experiences to show customers how new products would interact with their home space.
Lowe's has already started doing this kind of thing in store. Customers can try out some of their products through a virtual reality demo:
And they can also use augmented reality to find what they're looking for in the store:
Ikea has also been using a much simpler system of augmented reality since the release of their 2014 catalogue:
There’s no telling yet if this approach will work, or if Amazon will end up committing fully to any of these store ideas. But with at least two other major players in the physical retail space going after AR and VR, it seems likely that other big names in the retail market will look to these new technology options in order to build their business. It’ll be interesting to see what Amazon comes up with.
More about Amazon, Business, Retail, Virtual reality, augmented reality
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