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  • Writer's pictureGunjan Syal

Transforming Retail With VR, AR, MR

This is a preview of the material available here. This is a recap of the industry insights I shared during the Transforming Retail With Virtual Reality workshop held on Wed Nov 25, 2020 12–1pm ET. The audience represented 3 industries and 4 countries.


Retail industry was one of the most severely impacted by the pandemic. It is also the one that stands to benefit the most with transformational opportunities. Technology and innovation are the cornerstone of business success in the COVID world. This event is a practical conversation at the intersection of possibilities and reality - how will Virtual Reality transform the retail experience for customers and businesses.

  • Where do we stand today with retail landscape, since onset of pandemic - large vs. small-to-medium markets?

  • What are the Virtual Reality applications in the real-world retail, and why should we care?

  • What are the considerations for a successful transformation?


  • Gunjan Syal — Transformation Executive, Emerald Technology Group Inc.

North American Retail Landscape

We began with a comparison of 2020 retail trends across Canadian and US markets. We had a great discussion around multiple segments, what the data represents and how it applies to specific companies. We also discussed pitfalls the data aggregation might represent, and how the experiences as consumers/ companies compares to the published data. It is key that, as decision makers, we do not take data at its face value when embarking on the innovation and transformation journeys.

Next, we discussed the inclination towards avoiding crowded areas during the pandemic, in favour of safety. In such an environment, AR, VR, MR technologies can help retailers enable a new level of customer experience.

VR vs. AR vs. MR Overview

The Opportunity - New Customer Experience At Home

Existing Retail Use Cases

We reviewed multiple examples of existing retail use cases. For example, the Home Depot and Ikea use cases:

Demand For AR

We reviewed data from Oct 2020: furniture industry stands to benefit the most from offering an AR customer experience. We also discussed AR, VR and MR applications beyond retail into exhibition industry, such as museums, office buildings and others.

AR, VR and MR Tech Providers

We compared a broad listing of many technology solutions available in market that enable AR, VR, MR use cases; serving both B2C and B2B markets.

Session Recording

What's Next?

Imagine your VR avatar, interacting with your friends' avatars, shopping at a virtual grocery store, while simultaneously exercising on a treadmill from the safety of your home... Technology to enable this use case, along with a business case already exists.

I will host workshops in 2021 diving deeper into how enterprises can build business cases for these use cases, what foundational technologies are needed, how to map the desired customer journeys to the technology tools and capabilities needed to implement these solutions at scale within the enterprise.

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Until we meet again in 2021 - stay healthy and enjoy the Holiday Season!


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Reach out to me for strategy, governance, planning thought leadership on post-COVID innovation efforts. I ensure business scalability and resilience.


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