Is There a Need for Augmented & Virtual Reality in Retail?

Written By: Blake Simms
  • 1/30/2018

Is There a Need for Augmented & Virtual Reality in Retail?


Do you need a way to speed up the flow of fresh, personalized products? Are you and your team looking for ways to work faster? Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies may hold the answer.

First, you might ask, what is the difference between VR and AR? VR provides an entirely digital, computer-generated experience. For example, a virtual apparel sample is one that is created, reviewed and tailored all on screen. AR presents digital content within a physical environment. For instance, a digital hologram of a sneaker can be superimposed over a physical sneaker to highlight out-of-tolerance measurements.

According to a Harvard Business Review article co-authored by PTC’s James Heppelmann and Harvard’s Michael Porter, more than 30 percent of retail business and IT executives expect to invest substantially in AR by 2020.

Faster Product Development

By using VR and AR during design and product development, you can shave weeks to months off cycle time. This speed is essential today with see-now, buy-now demand from digitally connected consumers.

Look for AR and VR built into a connected product lifecycle management (PLM) platform, which opens possibilities to:

  •  Decrease sample rounds, reducing not only time but physical sampling material, labor and transportation cost;   
  •  Dazzle buyers with realistic virtual product presentations, getting quick validation of whether styles are on target; and
  • Use 3D prototypes to get consumer feedback from both traditional focus groups and digital forums. Let shoppers evaluate and try on styles before physical garments are actually made!  

In any of these use cases, all communications, iterations and product details are captured on the PLM platform.

Retail Consumer Engagement

AR/VR benefits extend beyond design, product development and merchandising. What better way to monitor performance than to see how shoppers are responding to styles online and in the dressing room? AR- and VR-enabled smart mirrors and fashion try-on tools provide visibility into what options shoppers consider. What goes back on the store shelf or gets abandoned in the online basket? What is saved as a favorite or shared with friends? What styles make it to checkout?

AR and VR also offer a great way to entertain consumers. Tommy Hilfiger has brought his runway shows into stores by way of VR, helping shoppers see how styles move on the body. A new AR app will help them shop the runway. Rebecca Minkoff has taken her fashion shows into the street, literally and virtually, while also giving shoppers the ability to superimpose styles over their own body image.

Are you ready to leverage AR/VR to create better products and a fun, interactive experience? Download PTC’s latest infographic to learn more about how these exciting solutions can propel retail innovation.


PTC Retail PLM  Software Solution

Is There a Need for Augmented & Virtual Reality in Retail?

With the rise in popularity for both augmented and virtual reality technology. We examine whether or not there is a need for them in retail.

  • Augmented Reality
  • Retail and Consumer Products
  • PLM

About the Author

Blake Simms

Blake has an extensive international career in marketing and business development within the technology, fashion, retail and consumer products industries.

With a Degree in International Marketing Management, Strategy & Communications, Blake has worked for a variety of leading global organizations and supported them in developing and delivering their strategic vision and corporate goals.

As a Marketing Director, Blake has designed, implemented and executed both international and regional go-to-market strategies, with a strong focus on increasing brand awareness and reputation, developing acquisition/lead generation initiatives and delivering powerful sales-enablement tools.