The use of augmented-reality and virtual-reality technologies is gaining popularity with retailers and retail real estate owners alike. As smartphones become ever more sophisticated and AR and VR apps get easier to use, adoption of these technologies is expected to accelerate over the next few years.

Landlords can also use AR and VR to pump up their leasing programs, says Mathew Shaffer, founder of Radical Galaxy Studio, in Bellevue, Wash., which creates virtual-reality scenes for real estate owners. “From a budgeting perspective, honestly, the virtual- and augmented-reality work is going to be a more cost-effective tool to use, rather than white-boxing or building out a spec unit,” said Shaffer. “Sometimes, though, there is a disconnect between the leasing brokers, the developers, the owners and the architects. If I am meeting with a developer, they may love it, but it is the leasing broker whom they give the budget to.”

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