Virtual reality plays growing role in retail

The Republic – Retailers in central Indiana, including the Macy’s at Castleton Square Mall and the Carmel-based franchise of California Closets, are using the technology to help customers visualize products and make purchasing decisions. For various reasons — including cost, cultural barriers and fear of the unknown — the technology is not yet in widespread retail use.

“The virtual reality experience has some barriers to it,” said Jeffrey Neville, a senior vice president and practice lead at Boston-based retail consulting firm BRP Consulting.

People might be self-conscious about wearing the goggles, and the immersive nature of the experience can cause motion sickness or dizziness.

“It’s not quite a comfortable experience just yet,” Neville said.

But in the next few years, the use of virtual reality and its close cousin, augmented reality, should become more common in the retail world, experts predict. “This technology is maturing quite quickly,” Neville said.

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