2020 was a year of global lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has started on the same footing where high street shops, malls, and brick and mortar stores were forced to shut their doors to customers. This resulted in two main consequences:
- Several physical stores closed down business while online stores such as Amazon thrived
- Customers spent more shopping online
While most high street shops ran out of business, e-commerce grew by more than 30% and consumers have changed customer behaviour most are eager to go back to life pre-COVID-19. Having said that the future will no longer be brick and mortar but augmented. This means that both e-commerce companies and brick and mortar shops will need to modernise the way they present and sell products to become immersive. Immersive shopping will revolutionise the shopping experience by enabling consumers to interact with a product in a richer and more informational way. It will enable them to make the right decisions by experiencing the product before they buy. Accenture released its immersive shopping report in 2020 highlighting the shopping revolution to come.
For physical stores such as brick-and-mortar shops immersive shopping gives them a chance to compete with large e-commerce companies. This is possible by improving the experience on the shop and on their online presence such as deploying holographic displays and virtual try-ons on the shop and on their own shopping application. With immersive technology in its infancy for augmented reality shopping, the entire retail market is the new digital playground for creative sellers and marketers.
The future for brick-and-mortar shops is to explore no-code immersive shopping by using open platforms to deploy their immersive content that can easily integrate into any existing application for Android and iOS. With this approach, the shopping playing field is leveled once again.