Ways To Use Virtual Reality In The Retail Industry

A rapidly evolving technological environment continues to change businesses at an incredible rate of speed. The rise of eCommerce and supply chain challenges have deeply impacted retail and helped push the industry to more innovation and digital transformation. Therefore, the need for skill-based training has become more crucial. To keep up with the ever-changing standards, it is essential to improve hiring, onboarding, training and upskilling of employees. It is important to provide retail associates with an engaging, immersive work environment from the start to familiarise them with the work culture and enable them to start working on the floor faster. Companies need to provide training to employees that maximize their engagement and performance. Virtual reality provides a safe, interactive environment for active learning and training.

Retail companies are incorporating virtual reality into their training programs in order to upgrade their training courses. Virtual reality offers a dynamic alternative to traditional retail training by taking training materials to employees in a safe, engaging environment where they can practice critical skills on-demand. By using virtual reality for employee training sessions, organizations are able to save both time and resources. For thorough instruction, virtual reality delivers a vivid replica of the store. It also minimizes the risks associated with training, making the workplace a safer place.


Ways To Use VR In Training

Virtual reality is considered an effective retail simulator and it provides critical benefits to organisations. It can be used in the following retail training areas:

Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most crucial parts of retail training because the retail associates are going to face the clients within a couple of days after getting hired. It is crucial for the organisation to familiarise its staff with its operations, offerings, and branding. Virtual reality can be used by businesses to introduce new hires to various aspects of their jobs and brand image before they begin working. The effectiveness of onboarding training is greatly enhanced by virtual reality. In a virtual reality environment, organisations are able to simulate real-life scenarios so that new hires are familiar with problematic situations and conflict resolution options. Employees can be made aware of the distinct cultures, missions, and values that each retail company has by using virtual reality headsets. It is crucial for employees to comprehend them so they can internalise the company’s ethics and fundamental values.


Product Knowledge Training

Retail employees must possess strong product knowledge in order to succeed. While product knowledge may seem simple, it can be difficult to comprehend. Employees can have a look at the existing or new products and familiarise themselves with all it’s utility using virtual reality. It offers employees a detailed description or a comparison of similar products. After completing the VR training session, learners would have more knowledge about the product and hands-on experience with certain products. It also reduces wastage of products compared to hands-on training in on-the-job training. It is beneficial to use virtual reality for product knowledge training as virtual reality can reduce the stress associated with product knowledge training as well as boost employee knowledge.


Sales Retail Training

Most of the employees in the retail industry need to interact with customers, training through virtual reality can be highly effective and beneficial for organisations. Virtual reality can offer a role-play scenario where employees can practice making sales and keep improving. The continuous development is aided by the instant feedback the learners receive for their performances. Responses and actions from the employees can be analysed for improvements and use in future studies. An employee can benefit from VR role-play by developing empathy, customer understanding, and dispute resolution skills. VR can also be used by sales representatives to practice selling products and effective sales pitches in a digital environment of the store. Therefore, sales representatives can improve faster and more efficiently and grow in an organization with the use of virtual reality environments and audiences.


Customer Service Training

One of the most crucial components of retail training is customer service. Organisations can leverage VR to put the employees in situations where their customer service abilities can be tested, allowing for skill evaluation before actual client contact. Virtual reality training programs can offer interaction from both sides. It enables employees to put themselves in their clients’ position so they are more equipped to deliver exceptional, compassionate service. A VR training program is used to put retail associates in the position of a disgruntled or difficult customer and guide them in dealing with them. It is likely that employees will be able to recall the appropriate methods to use if they find themselves in a similar situation to that which they experienced in VR training. Through VR, employees can acquire skills related to managing customers in a variety of situations and can practice customer service skills in a similar way to what they would do in real life.


Floor Operations

Retail employees sometimes feel intimidated by the floor operations. There’s a lot to learn between operations and customer interaction. Organisations can use VR training programs for a wide range of floor procedures, including order processing, merchandising and warehousing technologies, reducing significantly the training time. With VR training, stores can be simulated in a lifelike environment for accurate and comprehensive operational training. Virtual reality allows a 3D model of the store to be created and a person can walk through the virtual space.


Package Handling

VR can help instruct trainees on proper package handling techniques. While being instructed in proper procedures, employees can interact with the virtual dock environment. Additionally, VR may instruct on proper lifting methods and the best ways to transfer items from unloading rollers to conveyor belts and vice versa. Learners are better able to recognise faulty techniques and comprehend the results. As learners engage in activities that they will encounter on the job, they become more aware of improper methods and their consequences. Using virtual reality to deliver retailer-specific training makes the experience so real it’s like hearing a coach instruct. While nevertheless, it eliminates the need for trainers to travel all over the country or world to conduct wide-scale training at stores.


Roll Out Of New Equipment

VR technology has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for retail training. But introducing new equipment to the retail industry can be challenging. With immersive learning, organisations can provide their employees the opportunity to experience equipment and other items they wouldn’t be able to access in a real-world training environment. Organisations can use VR for training to realistically replicate practice before employees enter the store floor, giving them confidence to use the equipment. With a quicker and more reliable deployment, it also helps shops benefit from technological innovation and competitive advantage.



The virtual reality market is expected to grow at a compound rate of 15% from 2022 to 2030. Virtual reality technology is growing and has a lot of potential to respond positively to the fast-changing working environment. Virtual reality eliminates the risk involved in the training and therefore more and more companies are adopting it to engage and train employees. In the coming years, the retail industry will be heavily reliant on VR technology and there will be many more ways to introduce VR, especially for training purposes.


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