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This article was published on June 9, 2017

    Shoppers want VR in retail stores but we can’t figure out why

    Shoppers want VR in retail stores but we can’t figure out why
    Carissa Lintao
    Story by

    Carissa Lintao

    Writer

    Carissa is a writer based in New York. When she's not writing about apps, marketing, or tech, you can probably catch her eating ice cream. Carissa is a writer based in New York. When she's not writing about apps, marketing, or tech, you can probably catch her eating ice cream.

    The virtual and augmented reality hype is now creeping its way towards the average American consumer. The thing is, no one knows what they’d even do with it, according to a recent study by Opinium.

    What exactly do people want to use VR/AR for?

    • 85% Travel experiences
    • 84% Museums and galleries
    • 84% Education, training
    • 79% Live entertainment
    • 77% Exercise or sport

    Those numbers may seem promising at first, but here is the list of reasons why the study participants have not used VR/AR:

    • 34% 一 I haven’t needed to
    • 30% 一 I don’t understand how it could help my everyday life
    • 10% 一 Will wait until it’s free
    • 4% 一 The equipment would make me look silly
    • 1% 一 What I want to use it for is not currently available

    There’s an overwhelming amount of interest, yet only 1-percent know what they want to use it for. Not to mention the 4-percent who would just look silly.  

    The same study concluded that 72-percent of 25-34 year old consumers want to use VR/AR technology in physical stores. How would you even use VR in Forever 21? There’s no way anyone would casually stroll into a storefront wearing a headset 一 to what 一 try clothes on in a virtual world?

    On the other hand, using augmented reality to enhance the shopping experience is practical. But as cool as it seems, who would really use it? US retail sales are declining and online sales are on the rise because no one wants to physically get up and shop when the internet exists.

    Virtual reality is “cool” but it’s going to take a couple more years to be taken seriously by consumers.