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High Streets Initiative David Craik · 19 September 2018
Virtual reality shop assistants will serve high street shoppers in 5 years?
Being greeted at the door by a friendly virtual reality shop assistant will become standard across the UK high street in the next 5 years, according to a new study. The report, fromvoucherCodes.co.ukand WBR Insights, revealed that over 90% of retailers plan to have artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistant technology both in-store and online by 2023. The majority of retailers said they wanted to simplify and enrich the customer experience by investing in more technology and to increasingly personalise the shopping experience. Over a quarter of retailers, the report said, have already invested in Augmented Reality technology over the last 12 months with other key priorities being chatbots and AI-powered recommendation engines on their websites. Over a third of retailers (37%) said they had invested in Virtual Reality technology with 38% already having introduced virtual assistants and 53% planning on doing so. The report added that 44% of retailers offered AI-powered chatbots to help shoppers with 54% planning to do so in the next 5 years. The findings come at a time of great turmoil on the UK high street with high-profile closures such as Maplin and Poundworld. Retailers are feeling the pressures of waning consumer confidence, higher business rates, operating costs and the growth of online shopping. Read more about the challenges facing UK high streets: