Redefining the supply chain: Innovative AR, VR approaches

In order to stay up to date, retailers have had to incorporate sophisticated technology into their operations process. Rather than simply stay current, they are now getting ahead of the game with the introduction of AR and VR experiences. In this article by Retail Customer Experience, News Features, learn about the various touchpoints in the retail experience where AR and VR are making an impact. 


Retailers are tapping into and harnessing innovative technologies that not only transform and improve the customers’ experience, but also their entire supply chains. From the front end to the back office, augmented reality and virtual reality are making significant impacts on speed and efficiency.

Undergoing a seismic evolution due to digital advancements, the retail industry now has access to resources that will improve their internal processes as well as how the customer engages with their products.

Technologies such as AI, machine learning, IoT and AR/VR are the catalysts for driving growth through digital while harnessing data to learn and iterate faster than ever. With worldwide spending on AR and VR expected to reach $215 billion by 2021, it’s clear that visual, immersive technologies are going beyond the gaming world.

Taking AR and VR to the next level

There is a learning curve for businesses to overcome as many consumers are still unaware of the true value AR and VR offer, or how the technology relates to other parts of their lives. A recent consumer survey shows that many consumers (56.5 percent) haven’t used these technologies personally or professionally, as they’d never heard of them.

This presents an opportunity for retailers to further improve how they leverage and deploy AR and VR, and in particular how they communicate its value. For example, we’re seeing AR advertising spots and virtual dressing rooms that serve as the new window displays. AR technology is now at the fingertips of millions of consumers thanks to Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, multiplying the ways retailers can redefine the overall shopping experience.

In-Store and at-home shopping

Major online shopping events, like Amazon Prime Day, continue to smash records, demonstrating consumers’ thirst for convenience and proving the increased desire to shop from home. But when shopping for certain products from home, like large furniture and décor, it can be difficult to envision how the product will fit in a particular space. Visualization technologies solve this problem, improving the at-home shopping experience, making it easier and more appealing.

Now, consumers no longer have to guess if their new sofa will fit in a narrow living room, or whether that oversized mirror is right for the entryway. It’s a major frustration for consumers, with data revealing that 65.4 percent of respondents said buying new furniture all at once, shopping for pieces to design their space, and finding furnishings to match their existing furniture when moving into a new home are top pain points.

From Wayfair to Target and Gap to Amazon, more retailers are leveraging technologies that remove visualization barriers to help consumers make confident buying decisions. Some retailers, like Sephora, even allow consumers to “try on” beauty products without stepping foot in a store. A win-win for consumers and retailers, as retailers can improve their bottom line while ultimately recouping the costs on sample products used in store.

Intersection of industries

What’s more, advanced AR/VR app options like “shop the look” offer retailers an untapped, lucrative revenue channel that is highly targeted. Because of the digital nature of the apps, retailers can track engagement with products to determine which are resonating with consumers. These apps aren’t just improving the customer experience – but driving results for retailers across industries. Home furnishing retailers are able to take advantage of this opportunity through the real estate industry. Prospective buyers are able to visualize furniture and decorations in their space through virtual home staging apps that showcase products offered by these retailers.

Manufacturing, warehouse picking, and delivery

While AR and VR applications are most often seen by consumers through personalized shopping experiences, many of these technologies also play a role in getting the product from the warehouse to their doorstep. All it takes is one incorrectly stocked warehouse shelf to hit the brakes on that two-day delivery window. Which is critical when you consider two-day shipping isn’t a luxury anymore – it’s expected by consumers.

AR and VR not only allow retailers to correctly and efficiently stock their shelves, but also monitor consumer shopping behaviors and track conversions to identify trends and reassess strategies to improve the customer journey and drive more sales. Furthermore, AR allows instructions and other helpful details to be overlaid on the production line, boosting worker productivity, order accuracy and processing times. Some retailers are also applying AR to the picking process, giving workers insight into the most efficient route to the product location through visual aids. For the “last mile” of delivery, AR and VR tech can aid delivery drivers by superimposing important information, like driving directions, directly onto the truck’s windshield.

Necessary next steps

Developing 3D content to serve the AR and VR use cases, and virtualizing their 2D product catalogs into dynamic 3D assets, is the necessary next step if retailers wish to keep up with consumer demands and leverage these innovative technologies. By staying one step ahead using AR and VR for content creation, retailers will continue to maintain a strong competitive advantage – and happy customers.


This article was written by Pieter Aarts from Retail Customer Experience. News Features and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to