The retail industry is undergoing a massive evolution triggered by the emergence of new technologies such as AR, VR, and the metaverse. Spatial computing is expected to significantly change the retail and e-commerce industry, revolutionizing how customers shop online and digitally.
According to data, the global spatial computing market is expected to rise exponentially in demand and adoption, reaching a market value of $620.2 billion by 2023. The retail industry is expected to use spatial computing to streamline the checkout process, improve customer service, enhance product and delivery tracking, and improve demand forecasting and inventory management.
Here’s what you need to know about spatial computing and how your brand will be transformed by adopting the technology.
What is Spatial Computing?
Spatial computing refers to various technologies enabling computers and their users to interact seamlessly in a 3D world. It combines technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).
Spatial computing brings the digital and real worlds together, allowing users to have a more immersive digital experience, whether shopping or gaming.
Spatial computing has entered many industries, including architecture, tourism, urban planning, and retail.
The Key Components of Spatial Computing
Spatial computing is typically made up of the following key elements:
3D Modelling and Visualization
Spatial computing allows you to create accurate 3D models of real-life objects such as buildings, landscapes, and products. These 3D models can be displayed in immersive 3D environments in real-time to provide users with a sense of interactivity and presence.
Photogrammetry and 3D Scanning
Spatial computing accurately captures real-world scenes and objects using 3D scanning techniques or photogrammetry. The result is highly-detailed 3D models with the right texture, shape, and color that can be used to create immersive 3D experiences.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR overlays digital information and objects onto the real world, improving the user’s interaction and perception of the environment. AR applications use spatial computing to accurately track the user’s orientation and position to make interactions with virtual objects more life-like.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR provides fully-immersive, computer-generated environments that simulate the real world. Spatial computing is used in VR to track head and body movements and give the user a natural, life-like interaction with the virtual environment.
The Uses of Spatial Computing in Retail
Spatial computing has several uses in retail. Here’re some of the most compelling ones.
Streamlining the Checkout Process
Spatial computing allows retailers to streamline their online shopping experiences using augmented reality, computer vision, and other spatial computing tools. Consequently, shoppers can checkout smoother, faster, and more confidently.
For instance, spatial computing can allow shoppers to scan multiple items at once and enter their payment information to finish a purchase promptly. Retailers can also allow customers to visualize how the product will look in their space, making them more confident about the purchase.
We use VR to help our partner brands incorporate spatial computing in their checkout process and create an immersive, engaging experience for the customer. We’ve made a strategic partnership with VNTANA to develop metaverse showrooms for various brands, such as Agron (Adidas US), to leverage the advantages of an immersive virtual shopping experience for consumers.
Improving Customer Service
Through spatial computing, brands can significantly reduce the steps a customer takes to complete a transaction or reach customer service. Since customers take less time checking out and completing their payments, there are fewer possibilities for a hiccup that might need immediate customer service attention.
Moreover, customers can get valuable information about a product or their purchase within the interactive 3D environment, such as shipping details and product descriptions, allowing them to make informed decisions before completing the purchase.
Customers can also get a virtual assistant to help them during shopping, making answering customer inquiries much faster with advanced AI-powered bots running the virtual assistants.
Better Product and Delivery Tracking
This is perhaps one of the most significant benefits of spatial computing to retail brands, especially those struggling with supply chain management. Spatial computing can track goods in real time, allowing your business to monitor the location of its goods and delivery at any given time.
Customers get exact information about where their purchase is and how long it will take to reach them, improving customer service.
Better Demand Forecasting and Inventory Management
Retail businesses must plan and forecast demand accurately to satisfy customer needs and buying behavior. Spatial computing allows your brand to view its supply chain through 3D models that can help better predict customer demand, allowing you to adjust your inventory management accordingly.
With better demand forecasting and inventory management using 3D models, your business can reduce inventory costs and out-of-stock incidents, leading to better margins and an improved customer shopping experience.
Improving Marketing and Advertising
Spatial computing gives your business unique marketing and advertising opportunities. Using AR and VR, your business can create captivating and interactive campaigns that resonate with your target audience, leading to better conversions.
For instance, you can offer virtual try-on experiences for your products, allowing customers to visualize their homes, space, or themselves using your product, improving their engagement with your brand. Consequently, you’re able to build value for your brand and products.
P&G partnered with us to create an immersive mega booth for their CES 2020 appearance, using a virtual showroom to have customers or prospects at the event interact with the brand and its products more engagingly.
Improved Workforce Training and Experience
Many managers in the retail space rely on manual time and motion studies to optimize the effectiveness of their workforce and improve their brand’s service delivery. However, research shows that 43% are confident of the effectiveness of this manual process in improving their workforce’s performance.
Spatial computing offers new and exciting ways of training your workforce and boosting their experience without most of the caveats of a manual process. Your employees can virtually train for various scenarios, including ones that would be expensive or hard to replicate in a real-life training manual.
Your training material can include various 3D environments where you can ensure that the employee is ready to handle specific customers, inquiries, and events if they happen in real life. You can also quickly identify bottlenecks in your workforce’s processes and optimize them for better service delivery.
Improve Your Brand’s Retail Experience
Spatial computing is going to be a game changer in the retail space. Brands will revolutionize how customers shop and optimize key processes such as checkout and inventory management. Contact a virtualization expert today and learn how your brand can adapt to the new technology.