We are about to enter a technological revolution with the introduction of 5G, but what does this mean for retail and the furniture industry, and how can your business prepare?

The introduction of 5G becoming available as standard in 2020 means there will be a huge shift in what is available, and the speed and power of internet compared to what we understand as normal with 4G. There have been announcements that full length feature films will be downloadable in just 10 seconds with the power of 5G, and we will notice that anything online will be instantaneous, with no lag, no buffering and is claimed to be four times faster than 4G connections. But we should be looking at the wider picture. Yes, it will make browsing and streaming video, or gameplay quicker, but the spectrum of opportunity provided for retail is still untapped with what will become available with 5G for companies who are planning ahead. Imagine that your company’s app will allow a consumer to walk into a shop and be guided in real time, by augmented reality, to the exact location of their desired item. How about they walk through a virtual store to make purchases? 5G will even allow AI (Artificial Intelligence) to run smoothly, allowing for your app or website to create a personal assistant to suggest products and fabrics to the visitor based on their recent searches or preferences instantaneously. The introduction of 5G means these virtual and augmented experiences can take place on a simple handset, and at scale, something that is hard to achieve on today’s 4G networks. The first step towards daunting ideas like VR and AR is 3D rendering. Online furniture shops that don’t have the option for consumers to see a 360 view of a product, and see the piece covered in their fabric of choice, are already being left behind by the bigger players. Artificial intelligence tools, such as chatbots or virtual personal assistants are already being used by innovative retailers to improve their customer service. H&M’s Kik chatbot, for example, makes apparel suggestions based on the consumer’s preferences. Shoppers are presented with images of various different outfits, including questions about their style type for to suggest items which can be purchased or saved for later. When it comes to the furniture industry, we already know that furniture is already seen as the biggest risk item when buying online. If you haven’t already, have a read of why Virtual Reality will soon be the only way to buy furniture online . The way this technology will be supported on scale, is through 5G and we are about to see a massive shift in online furniture sales technology. History has proved that businesses who take that first leap into tech-forward advances tend to reap the most rewards. Not only does it put you at the forefront of digital movements, but the publicity surrounding the introduction of new retail processes is priceless. People were recently stunned by Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, as they have moved ahead of the crowd already, launching an online virtual reality store in Australia. They are now allowing users to browse through a wider variety of furnishing products at home either through their smartphone (mobile VR headset) or desktop, mimicking the instore experience. This is the future of furniture sales, and the not so distant future at that. If you want to learn more about how to maximise the impact 5G can have on your sales by digitally preparing your website, apps and strategy, get in touch with us at Orbital today.