Retail future: virtual reality set to dominate tomorrow’s shops

A visit to the shops in the future could see us visiting stores where we can browse the shelves in virtual reality before we part with our hard-earned money.

That’s the view of one leading retail expert, Philippe Loeb, from Dassault Systèmes, which provides CAD software and design systems.

The company has developed a virtual reality shelving system that can help manufacturers see the products that they are developing on a virtual shelf.

But there is no reason the technology can’t be expanded to benefit customers as well, Loeb said.

Loeb, the vice-president of consumer package goods and retail industry, told Factor that the internet of things will change how we shop, as well as how products are presented to us.

He said: “I believe that the future of the shopping experience is still going to be physical places which are probably going to be delightfully branded, it becomes and experience more than a warehouse.

“Using virtual reality, augmented reality, connected objects and why not 3D printing as a better way to engage with the shopper.

“They will probably need less space to better show more products, which is good news for them.”


However, it will take some time for us shoppers to adapt to new shopping experiences, Loeb said.

While it is already possible for our phones and tablets to push deals and promotions to us based on our location, he said this has to be refined in shops as nobody would want to receive tons of notifications as they walked through a shop.

He explained: “For the consumer it is going to be about probably two key elements. One is making them more comfortable on their choice. Choice can be choice for value, choice for you health, choice for somebody because sometimes the shopper is not the consumer.

“The second one – we hope – is going to be more productivity.”

Loeb said that the car manufacturers are ahead of the curve compared to supermarkets and other large shops when it comes to implementing smart technologies into retail space  – this is in part due to the wide acceptance of technology in cars.

He said: “The companies which are the most advanced are the automobile companies where more and more a part of the driving experience are devices, screens all kinds of interaction with something that is smart, and there is no way today to image a car without thinking of the internet of things part of the car.”

The change in shopping experiences has already started with car manufacturer Audi creating a digital showroom in the central of London, UK.

The compact showroom allows potential customers to view Audi’s cars in a virtual space while in the centre of London.

Featured image and image one courtesy of  Dassault Systèmes 

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