Founder and CEO of Aurigozoom, Swathi Arulguppe Nagendra believes in the saying, “Go big or go home.” Growing up in India, Swathi was always the go-getter girl. As her mother recalls, “She was a girl and trendsetter in the family. Her goals were clear, she always wanted to make this world a better place.” She started her selflessness movement urging women to charge ahead in their career. Swathi believes that hard work and persistency is key. She always says that the world belongs to those who are willing to get our hands dirty. Swathi is always lauded for her “superhuman” energy and her perseverance. She has also been the public face and the private force behind Aurigozoom’s push to maintain its position in Silicon Valley.
Swathi’s startup AurigoZoom focuses on immersive experience for shoppers at the convenience of their home or work. She wants to provide the flexibility of shopping for people in their break time, at work, without having to drive to the store or without having to stand in lines for billing. She says that Aurigozoom aims to provide retail shopping experience from any location by using Virtual Reality. Aurigozoom provides this experience and will make a positive impact on the quality of life of people. Virtual reality seems to be a bit slow out of the gate, but all the technologies were in that stage in the past. When smartphones came out, people were hesitant to buy because there was no historical data to prove their functionality and usage. It’s just over time people got used to smartphones. As soon as we knew they behaved as was advertised, however, we were very quick to surrender our chunky flip phones and hop on the touchscreen train.
Using Aurigozoom, customers get a personalized shopping experience that brings the in-store experience to them no matter where they are. Items can be added to cart and customers are shown a series of recommended products, creating a personal and effective shopping experience. They can also view open houses and have virtual experience of house. The next question in everyone’s mind is, “How is this any different than shopping on a mobile device or a computer?” This a good question; the answer, with one word, is discovery. With Aurigozoom, customers are given the opportunity to experience the products from every angle they can move, rotate, and zoom in on them however they choose. Aurigozoom will also make a mark with virtual house hunting, customer can have a virtual tour of the house without the hassle of open house visits. While the debate will continue around businesses’ expectations of virtual reality’s potential vs. the realities of consumer adoption, VR has gone ahead and found a growing number of ways to make business and industry more efficient, more effective and better connected to its customers. And not always in the most obvious ways. Take VR retail as an example. With the holiday season at a fast-paced jog behind us, brick-and-mortar retailers are looking for exciting experiences to lure shoppers in-store, and away from clicking that death blow buy button with an online behemoth. VR retail has a place to play in deepening shopping engagement, regardless of whether shoppers own a headset or ever plan to use one.
The reality is that most of us probably won’t use VR to buy shoes or clothing — there wouldn’t be much point. VR wouldn’t solve a problem that still images and videos can’t resolve in terms of showing off the product. Indeed, some manufacturers probably don’t want to use VR, given that it’s all too real. A VR representation of the hottest new smartphone looks a lot like a black brick. It lacks the sharp gleaming corners and screen angle of a stylized still photo generated by a marketing department. For retail, nothing is more asset intensive than the decision to remodel or redesign a store layout. Virtual reality has already been around for awhile to help businesses visualize store layouts and potential traffic issues, but as the technology becomes more accepted, it’s becoming a greater part of testing consumer acceptance, A/B testing different format options, and more. It’s far cheaper to build out a virtual store than a real one, and the feedback retailers get about virtual store designs is close enough to what they would get in a physical environment as to make no difference.
THE BOTTOM LINE Just because VR toward business use in retail does not mean that the respective technologies are exclusive in their applications. Swathi says she is certain there will be a shoppable VR experience soon, if we just haven’t missed it already. There is the London bar that offers a VR experience of the Scottish Highlands while you sip whiskey. And there are AR overlays for retailers too, like planogram compliance AR tools that show what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s missing. And Swathi is sure, with her Aurigozoom there are many more innovations to come on all fronts, as we’re really just in the early days of both AR and VR acceptance and use, both in businesses and among consumers. But in the end, for an office-bound executive, VR is going to shine light into parts of the business that an executive doesn’t get to see often enough, like far flung retail stores, while AR will more ably serve consumers looking to interact with real products in a digital way. Aurigozoom promises to provide these challenges to be fulfilled with respective to the immersive retail market in the VR and AR domain.