Virtual Reality: An Immersive Retail Evolution

Virtual Reality: An Immersive Retail Evolution

Virtual Reality: An Immersive Retail Evolution 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Seventeen years ago, we were collectively wowed when The Matrix suggested a future of self-controlled machines and space-manipulating humans. Today, that type of science fiction is no longer fiction, but our new reality. Advancements in technology and consumers’ desires to engage with digital immersive experiences have made virtual reality a new tool in the retail universe. It holds the power to inspire purchases, empower employees, and help brands present their offerings in new ways.

Marketing Dollars Redirected

With billions of dollars each year poured into brands’ marketing resources and sales-related activities, brands should always be creating new, innovative ways to capture consumers’ attention spans and dollars. Employing VR takes the convincing out of retail. Businesses no longer need to spend enormous amounts of money to beg for sales, since they can showcase the guiding principles and benefits of their products in a virtual space. It allows customers to experience and interact with products, and encourages the final purchase.

A Controlled Experience

The five senses we hold as humans are powerful and unique to each individual. These five factors work together to deliver constant messages to our mind and body, which we then interpret to make decisions. What if you could show every person the same thing so everyone could experience it the same way? By utilizing VR, we can overcome interpretation differences and language barriers to elicit real emotions and make more meaningful and thoughtful decisions.

From eCommerce to V-Commerce

Digital marketer SapientNitro teamed up with luxury retailer The Line at this year’s National Retail Federation to demonstrate V-Commerce – a notion they anticipate replacing eCommerce. SapientNitro states, “With virtual reality removing the barrier of too little information or interaction, consumers are likely to develop a confidence in their purchases that then translates into increased comfort with (and affinity toward) the brand providing such distinct experiences. They are more likely to reach the renowned euphoric state of discovering a great buy, one that they not only wish to brag about, but will also remember and come back for.”

Apple Augments Product Line

Apple is also continuing its focus on virtual reality by purchasing four startups—Metaio, FaceShift, FlyBy Media, and Primesense—and beginning to staff an entire internal department for augmented reality and VR. Rumors have been flying online that the new iPhone 7 will incorporate a dual-lense technology for augmented reality. While most of the buzz has been focused on the brand’s product developments and patents, we’d speculate they’re considering how this technology can come into play in-store, as well.

Merrell’s Immersive TrailScape Adventure

Hiking boot brand Merrell created an immersive product-testing environment through the use of virtual reality. With a faux mountainous terrain, individuals laced up their boots and put on an Oculus Rift headset to be guided across a swaying bridge high in the (virtual) sky navigating the elements of falling rocks. Spatial mapping software was used to create a mirrored effect to what they were seeing and experiencing in real life. The TrailScape activation was the brand’s first foray into virtual reality, and they’ve already announced plans to continue the focus.

Volvo Test Drives Virtually

Although the Volvo XC90 is not available in dealerships, the company wanted to provide customers the ability to test drive the new model. Virtual reality was the answer. The luxury brand chose a low cost option, Google Cardboard, to make it more accessible to consumers. Individuals simply assemble the box and slide in their smartphone to experience a leisurely drive through the Vancouver Mountains. For those without Google Cardboard, they can still test drive via the Volvo Reality app on their phone.

Lowe’s Holoroom Empowers Design

With Lowe’s new VR technology, customers can design in real-time to virtually see their vision come to life and feel confident about their appliance, material and paint selections.

Working with a Lowe’s store associate customers can make their design decisions via an iPad, and then enter the Holoroom to see a 360-degree visualization of the space using Oculus Rift. Not sure you like flooring tiles you’ve selected, or want to go for a more modern faucet, the Lowe’s concierge can simply switch out your selections until you’ve landed on a final design. Customers can then take it all home with Google Cardboard for viewing later.

CVS Health Simulates Service

Drugstore chain CVS Health is adding an element of convenience to both their online and in-store experiences. With its iPad app, customers can view a virtual mock-up of the CVS store to locate products before they shop. Then, they can create a list of purchases from which the app will identify the specific aisle location, ultimately making your shopping trip a breeze.

From shopping to service, customers can also access Minute Clinic informational resources, manage filling and checking their prescription status, check ExtraCare savings and reward balances, or upload photos to be printed at the photo center.

From This Point Forward

The demographic with which most retailers are focused, Millennials, have constantly adapted to new technology while growing up. They’re intrigued by the enhanced experience that only virtual reality can offer, and brands are definitely looking to it as a way to augment their presence on and offline.

Photo Credit: Merchandising Matters | CVS | SapientNitro

post by Randy Liddil

post by:

Randy Liddil

Leader of our awesome Digital Design Lab, Randy brings designs to life with his motion graphics and 3D animation super powers. He’s best at developing realistic, customer-focused viewpoints to physical environments in a typically 2D world. Leading a team of innovative developers and 3D masters, Randy is leveling up our studio. You can read more posts from Randy here >

Our website uses cookies in order to optimize the experience. By continuing you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy