Business transformation
How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail?
Business transformation

How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail?

Written by

Rod Reynolds


February 19, 2024

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The US launch of Apple Vision Pro on February 2nd set the internet and social media alight with videos of the headset in action, showcasing the immense power of this next-level hardware.

With its ability to blend the physical and digital worlds into seamless immersive experiences, the use-cases for the device are almost limitless – but already it is clear that two pillars will dominate: entertainment and commerce. And what’s more, with new multi-sensory shopping experiences already coming on stream, the line between the two may become invisible.

Vision Pro enables lifelike product comparison in both augmented reality and fully virtual environments.

That’s left many asking, How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail? Here are five ways the device is already reshaping commerce:

1. Unmatched realism elevates shopping experiences

Apple Vision Pro takes product visualization to a whole new level, enabling buyers to view items in unprecedented detail, clarity, and realism. Lifelike visualizations and an immersive sense of presence will make the virtual shopping experience feel remarkably natural, while making it even easier and more appealing for shoppers to explore potential purchases in their own spaces.

By bringing products to life in granular levels of detail, in an immersive experience that layers in elements such as spatial audio and touch-responsive controls, consumers can explore products in a state-of-the-art digital environment that combines all the best elements of online and physical shopping.  

2. Virtual showrooms open new opportunities  

Perhaps the most impactful answer to the question How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail? comes in the shape of virtual showrooms. Vision Pro allows users to switch instantly between AR and virtual reality (VR) environments, enabling brands to create highly realistic and interactive virtual product showrooms that customers can visit anytime, anywhere. For shoppers, this will feel like stepping into an actual physical space to get an intimate look at products and enjoy virtual try-ons, with real-time guidance and bespoke product recommendations from their own personal shopper. For businesses, meanwhile, virtual showrooms enable them to display their entire product range, in a luxury showroom environment, with all items ready to be personalized and configured to the buyer’s preference.

While virtual showrooms already exist, accessed via smartphone and tablet, Apple Vision Pro will bring a whole new level of realism and immediacy to the experience. The ability to seamlessly switch from AR to VR environments means shoppers can dip in and out of virtual showrooms at the touch of a button, while the nature of the Vision Pro experience allows them to fully immerse themselves in the surrounding environment. And for brands, time and distance are no longer a factor when it comes to bringing new products and exclusive promotions to consumers. With a simple invitation to their always-open virtual showroom, companies can enable customers to access their stores from wherever they are in the world, whenever they choose – instantly.

Example of an interactive showroom created by Enhance XR

3. Blurring the line between commerce and leisure

While shopping is already a leisure activity for millions of people around the world, Apple Vision Pro enables brands to design virtual spaces that combine the two pursuits into fluid new experiences.

According to a report in Forbes, beauty brand e.l.f. has created a multi-sensory platform for Apple Vision Pro users that “encourages enjoyment and relaxation through exercises of the body and mind,” with the intention of creating a deeper emotional connection with customers. With products displayed throughout and available to be purchased instantly in a seamless transaction, the potential for new ways to enable product discovery is huge – as is the capacity to heighten the appeal of products by presenting them in relevant, leisure-focused contexts.

4. Revolutionizing product comparison

With Apple Vision Pro’s much-vaunted Infinite Canvas, users can simultaneously view and interact with multiple lifelike products right in front of them, making it simple to perform detailed side-by-side comparisons in a single space. Gone are the days of switching between different tabs, apps, and browser windows, as the ability to easily interact with different products radically improves the virtual shopping experience.

For brands, this presents both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity lies in bringing online shoppers closer to their products than ever before, in lifelike immersive experiences that present items in their best light, in a way that places a premium on consumer journeys and convenience. The challenge is to ensure they offer the best and most lifelike representations of their products, in thoughtfully designed immersive experiences that maximize the potential of the Apple Vision Pro. When products are explored side-by-side in this way, second-rate shopping experiences will quickly become disadvantageous.

How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail? Why the dawn of spatial commerce represents a seismic shift

5. Mainstreaming new behaviors

Apple's proven track record of popularizing emerging technologies means Vision Pro is likely to be a major inflection point. Just as the iPhone ushered in the mobile commerce era and Apple Watch made wearables mainstream, Apple Vision Pro has the potential to not just popularize immersive commerce but to make it the new norm.

As different names and labels for extended reality technologies converge under the banner of immersive experiences, mainstream adoption, recognition, and application will only expand. By making immersive journeys effortless and compelling, and by offering genuinely new experiences to users, Apple Vision Pro will accelerate the adoption of new consumer behaviors and preferences.

Preparing for the immersive commerce era

Apple’s ability to shift the paradigms of consumer and leisure behavior is unprecedented. While the initial price tag is hefty, history shows that buyers will pay for Apple’s innovations, meaning wide-scale adoption of immersive experiences is likely – particularly with competitors like Meta making their own big plays in the headset space.

“Videos don’t do justice to the quality of the Apple Vision Pro experience,” says Rafael Muñoz, Founder of Enhance XR. “How will Apple Vision Pro affect retail and commerce? With the launch of this headset, the transformation of shopping habits will accelerate. And companies without an immersive commerce strategy risk being perceived as obsolete.”

The transition to immersive commerce could easily be as profound as the shift to online shopping spurred by the iPhone. And in the same way, the companies that quickly and effectively adapt to changing consumer behaviors will come away winners. “My advice is not to get stuck behind an old way of thinking – and selling – and to prepare quickly for a new era where everyone will buy differently,” says Muñoz. His advice for companies looking to get ahead of the curve? “While these products gain acceptance, working on 3D visuals and augmented reality for mobile devices is a very effective way to establish an impactful presence in omnichannel and immersive commerce.”  

To discuss how your business can get started with immersive commerce, talk to an expert today.

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