Digital reality applications in the consumer products industry have the potential to create operational efficiencies for companies as well as unique products and buying experiences for consumers.
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Digital reality is one of the many disruptive technologies that can help build a competitive advantage for consumer products companies. Digital reality comprises newer, innovative technologies (figure 1): augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), 360-degree video, and immersive/spatial technologies.1 AR, VR, and MR are currently the most widely used applications, while 360-degree video and immersive technologies are in their nascent stages.2 Digital reality technologies can result in increased operational efficiencies for companies while offering advanced methods for consumers to interact and experience products prior to buying them. Often, digital reality product experiences help consumers make more informed purchase decisions.
The potential use cases we’ve observed for digital reality in the consumer products industry (figure 2) result in several benefits to both companies and consumers. Companies can benefit by:
For consumers, the potential benefits of digital reality applications can include:
Mattel deploys AR to both attract and allow shoppers to experience its Hot Wheels line to make an informed purchase decision without needing to spend money. Hot Wheels consists of 12 different Hot Wheel City sets ranging in cost from US$10 to US$70. When in stores, consumers can point their smartphones at the toy box to generate a virtual setup of Hot Wheels, allowing them to visualize and experience how the car would traverse through the track.3
The food processing industry requires employees to maintain the highest standards of safety and efficiency. To ensure this, employees at food processing units need to undergo rigorous training programs. In 2017, Tyson Foods deployed VR to drive general safety and hazard awareness trainings for its employees with a goal of reducing injuries by 15 percent. Following this training, Tyson experienced a 20 percent reduction in injuries and illnesses of its employees compared to the prior year.4
Digital reality-based applications are rapidly moving from concept to reality while offering benefits to consumer products companies and their consumers. Companies can improve employee effectiveness, realize increased operational efficiencies, drive innovation, and better communicate with consumers. Consumers can enjoy an enhanced customer experience in all stages of their purchase journey.
To build a reputation for being innovative, consumer products companies will likely benefit from reviewing and adapting the use cases we’ve identified as well as by developing ones tailored to their organizational needs. As observed in our discussion on artificial intelligence, as consumers become increasingly comfortable with their digital reality experiences, they will likely come to expect and rely on companies to deploy digital reality applications to inform their purchase decisions and provide a more satisfying shopping experience.