Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Tech-Fueled Retail: In-Store and Online

Over the
past few weeks, the Stylus Life team has been tracking the latest
innovations in retail tech ‘ the online tools making shopping seamless, and the
in-store tech that will encourage customers to head back to the high street.
are always seeking new ways to entice customers and encourage loyalty, particularly
looking to create convenient purchase journeys that fit around shopping habits.
This strategy is seen through Mr Porter’s recent partnership with Apple TV. A first for luxury content-commerce
mergers, the collaboration sees the e-tailer monetise its editorial video
content, letting shoppers buy directly through their TV.
Similarly, Instagram recently announced it would soon start
testing retail tools that enable users to buy items found in their image feed ‘
a move that will help both brands and tastemakers to drive revenue through the
platform. The new feature, kicking off in the US with twenty retailers, ties in
with recent stats showing that consumers increasingly shop via their mobile
The consumer
desire for convenience and curation is also highlighted in recent research that discovered 43% of US consumers are
likely to do their holiday shopping via online marketplaces such as eBay or
Amazon, compared to just 15% purchasing via an individual retailer’s website. This
dramatic difference is due to marketplaces’ ability to offer shoppers a simpler
experience, with a wider variety of products at the best prices ‘ all in one
So if
shopping online is easier, what will send customers back to the store? Well, a recent survey has found that 63% of UK shoppers still
prefer the high street, but are more likely to be enticed by tech-fuelled
retail spaces. The convenience of contactless and mobile payments was described
by some as ‘life-changing’. Meanwhile, shoppers are more likely to visit stores
with technology such as virtual reality (57%) or smart fitting rooms (57%), which
provide experiences that can’t be replicated at home or online.
Tesco is
capitalising on this consumer desire for technology, trialling digital receipts that offer shoppers personalised offers,
while also taking another step towards paperless transactions. The trial,
running through November, aims to give customers more choice. Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury has placed digital interaction at the centre
of its new store, using virtual mirrors to help shoppers select their perfect
look, and in-store screens to showcase social media inspiration.
Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.

Level Up: The Possibilities Brought to Life by Pok??mon GO

By Zoe Dowling, Lead
Research Strategist, FocusVision
In the few weeks since Pok??mon GO’s US release, it’s become
a hands down winner for this summer’s ‘craze’. Future generations will likely reflect
on these times with the same fondness as with the hula-hoop or (more recently)
the ice bucket challenge ‘ but for smartphones the needle has forever been
A Friday evening walk on Los Angeles’ Redondo Beach Pier
mirrored many landmark locations around the country ‘ a majority of visitors on
the Pok??mon hunt, many of whom came furnished with mobile battery packs and
chargers. Beyond the volume of active players, it was striking to note how
inclusive the game is ‘ from tweens to grandpas; from individuals and couples
to groups, everyone wanted to catch ‘em all.
What drove Pok??mon
GO’s unprecedented popularity?
Given the inclusive fan base of the game, its popularity
isn’t just a result of the 90′s kids eagerly reliving their youth, nor is it simply
techies delighting in the technological convergence and execution. While these
are contributing factors, there’s more going on.
Pok??mon GO is
The internet, social media and smartphones facilitate a
connectivity and global reach to the extent that memes and trends spread almost
instantaneously. News about the game swept across the country and the globe.
People want to be part of the newest trend.
At the same time, the game’s easy (and free) entry allows
anyone with a smartphone to participate themselves. Within minutes of opening
the app, you experience the wonder of being virtually positioned within your
physical location and catch your very first Pok??mon where Augmented Reality
delights. Perhaps also Pok??mon GO highlights the universal popularity of mobile
casual gaming, although maybe for the first time it becomes a visible, in fact
public, activity.
Pok??mon GO merges
technologies in a way that its predecessors didn’t succeed
Maps aren’t new to gamers but location-based gaming appears
to have gone mainstream. The use of GPS and walking your virtual character
around your physical world is very neat.

Aside from tracking your movements on the map, your physical and virtual
location are also linked by Pok??stops. Here you pick up Pok??Balls and other
items to add to your stash while learning about the micro-landmarks in your
immediate vicinity. During my first walk I discovered that my local diner is 40
years old and that the town library gardens are home to a small remembrance
fountain. Not to mention countless, hitherto undetected, Pok??mon to add to my
The inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR), which some rightly
say is a limited aspect of the game appearing only when you encounter a Pok??mon
and attempt to catch it, nevertheless delivers one of the most ‘wow’ moments,
being the final convincing glue between your physical and virtual worlds. These
technologies, coupled with classic game elements of a mission based activity
where you are awarded experience points, level ups and engage in traditional
video-game combat, deliver a compelling experience.
Pok??mon GO allows
users to concurrently escape and explore their world
Finally, it’s possible that the game brings a welcome relief
from this year’s bleak newsrooms. It provides a moment of escapism that you can
share, even just with slight smiles and nods, with the people around you.
Bringing us together, albeit for a brief moment, in an increasingly fragmented
 The branded advantage
Whatever the reasons for Pok??mon GO immense success, it has given
us a glimpse of possibilities with geo-location and AR that up until now have
felt more like a futuristic hyperbole. The opportunities extend well beyond the
gaming world. For brands, the race is on to capitalize upon people’s engagement
with the game and drive traffic to their retail environments. Furthermore,
well-considered partnerships can also help position the brand as a player
within the cultural conversation.
McDonald’s Japan became the first official brand partner
with 400 restaurants as ‘gyms’ and the remaining 2,500 sponsored Pok??stops but
there’s also been many instances of unofficial linkage with signs on shop
windows offering ’10% discount for any Pok??mon captured here’ and countless
social media posts by brands all eager to be part of the moment.
Will Pok??mon GO
impact market research?
It’s hard not to start considering the implications for
research. From an immediate perspective the smartphone message, which should
already be loud and clear, is booming. People have smartphones. People are
using smartphones. This is where we’ll find them.
The willingness to use GPS and having your movements mapped
is an interesting one. In many ways, people already give out this information
freely with check-ins on various social media and review sites but perhaps this
takes it to a new level.
What would a shopper journey look like using an app with a
map overlay? What if there were virtual items within the retail environment
that people found during their journey to signal a feedback loop? What if we
could use AR to have people select items from a set of features and overlay
them to create a view of the environment as they’d like to see it?
In matter of few short weeks, this type of interaction with
research respondents feels entirely possible rather than a pipe dream. The
challenge now ‘ turning the potential into a reality.
Happy hunting!
About the Author: Zo?? Dowling
is the Lead Research Strategist for FocusVision, the global leader in research
technology. Her extensive background includes quantitative and qualitative
research design, data collection, analysis and report writing. She is an expert
in internet and mobile research, specializing in respondent engagement, as well
as online and offline qualitative approaches, including interviews, focus
groups and usability testing. For more information, visit FocusVision.com.

Virtual Reality in Market Research Today

By: Gina Joseph,
Communication Manager, InContext Solutions

The uses for virtual reality (VR) are growing in leaps and
bounds, and market research is no exception. During their OmniShopper
presentation, InContext
‘ Rich Scamehorn and Amy Hebard proved that VR has a place in
research, today and tomorrow.
Right now, virtual 3D simulations through the computer are a
tried and true way of conducting research. Respondents can stream the in-store
simulations from their own computers and provide behavioral and attitudinal
insights for retailers and manufacturers.
Yet virtual reality headsets, such as Google Cardboard, Gear
VR and HTC Vive are beginning to make a splash in the research and marketing
arenas. Only a small percentage of the population actually owns VR headsets,
but companies can still start to think about ways to utilize the technology to
glean in-store insights like never before. How?
Respondents might use a headset to ‘shop’ a virtual store
while at the same time being asked questions and giving their impressions. They
would be able to pick up products using hand tracking, look at them in 360-degrees,
and decide what they want to buy. This is similar to a typical shopalong IDI
interview, but done in a completely virtual space, which means you could
display items that don’t even exist yet, or products with new designs. It could
also be used to create planograms or collaborate on planogram changes across
Branded experiences were another way companies can measure
and market new products or campaigns. Taking a VR gaming experience that
involves your brand into a store environment could garner interest. Researchers
can use that same VR technology to measure the impact of the VR branded
campaign before it even launches. These types of campaigns could potentially
create a deeper level of consumer engagement, one that will resonate beyond the
experience and into sales.  
The challenge, Rich and Amy said, is to get over the
skepticism and fear of VR, and just try it. The goal is to learn about VR
through experience, and then create experiences that will help you engage with
your shoppers.

Cracking the Non-Conscious Code a Virtual Reality

Researchers Apply VR to Help Unlock the Unconscious in Consumer Decision Making

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Say you’re in a warehouse on a platform suspended 60 feet above a cold,
hard concrete floor.

A ‘friend’ dares you to traverse a narrow catwalk’no railings’to
the other side of the warehouse.

Are you up to the challenge?

I’m not generally afraid of heights, but I don’t have a
deathwish, either.

But what if you knew
that this was all an illusion’albeit a very realistic one’and that you were actually
in an office with your feet planted firmly on plush carpeting?

You’d take the dare, then, right?

Perhaps not.

According to Leiberman Research Worldwide CEO Dave Sachman,
that first step is still a doozy.
Dave Sachman
That’s because virtual reality (VR) technology today can
create simulations that feel so authentic that subjects have difficulty overriding
their intrinsic impulses with logic and reason.

Ergo, Sachman says when he first put on virtual reality
goggles to tackle ‘the pit’ exercise he froze.

‘It allowed me
to understand how smart people’no matter how well they know the situation and
no matter how hard they try’they can’t stop their non-conscious from taking
over their mind,’ Sachman said.

The experience led Sachman to
the intriguing notion that this technology might be thus applied by consumer
researchers to get at that unconscious real estate in our heads purportedly responsible
for the lion’s share of decisions.
Indeed, applying virtual
reality’LRW has trademarked ‘Applied VR”in pursuit of the Holy Grail of
insights is precisely what Sachman, his colleagues and their partners at the
Pragmatic Brain Science Institute (co-founded by Sachman) have been working on.

In this interview with The
Research Insighter podcast series, Sachman discusses what they’ve been up to,
how it works and why VR is not just another shiny new toy for researchers to
play with.

Editor’s note: Experience ‘The Pit’ for yourself in LRW’s virtual reality lab at The Market Research Event 2013 taking place October 21-23 in Nashville, TN.
For information or to register, please visit TheMarketResearchEvent.com.

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s senior editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences in Research

It’s been about two years since my first experience in the goggles ‘ virtual reality goggles, that is. I was in Santa Barbara meeting with a collection of academics and researchers working to develop tools to understand the role of emotions and the non-conscious in consumer behavior. I was escorted into a room and handed the HMD (head mounted display).

Immediately upon putting the goggles over my eyes, I was whisked away to a large warehouse. I looked around. ‘Cool. It’s so real,’ I said. Suddenly, the floor fell away from me, and I was perched on a platform 100 feet high. A plank connected my platform to another platform on the opposite side of the warehouse. 

My heart started racing.

I heard the VR-lab operator tell me, ‘Dave, now walk across the plank to the other platform.’ The voice snapped me into reality for a moment’or did it? Rationally, I knew I was in an office in Santa Barbara, but somehow, I could not lift my foot. I laughed anxiously.

I wanted to cross, but the steep drop below kept my feet planted. The operator offered me his hand. I said aloud, ‘I am in an office. I know I’m in an office.’ It took me several minutes, but eventually I ‘crossed the pit.’

 Since that day, I have been fascinated with Virtual Reality (VR) and how it can make a huge difference in the world. I have developed relationships with two of the leading VR researchers on the planet ‘ Jim Blascovich at UC Santa Barbara and Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford. I’ve worked on projects and products with the leading developer of VR software and hardware’the same provider who sells VR products to leading academic institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.

 I’ve given several employees the mission of exploring VR’s applications to market research to help our clients.

My two-year exploration has shown me that virtual reality can help us to both understand and influence behavior through immersive experiences.

We can transport people to environments and situations about which we want to learn. The applications for healthcare, education, and social research are vast and inspiring: VR to help veterans overcome pain from burns and injury; VR to give students a better understanding of life in Rome circa 320 AD by letting them virtually roam the streets of the ancient city; VR to help social scientists understand human compassion.

 Yes, if you fly as Superman through a virtual city to save a baby, it actually makes you more likely to help someone else in the ‘real’ world.

Of course, on that day two years ago I made connections to the world of marketing and research. VR allows us to put people in more realistic circumstances. Respondents engage immediately. Hard pressed to rationally override the stimuli, we gain greater levels of authenticity in reactions and responses.

 More importantly, we can really get a compelling look at the less conscious drivers of brand choice. Next month at the TMRE (The Market Research Event), we will showcase how VR tools can help illuminate the fullness of your brand’s meaning and the strength of that meaning as it translates to in-market behavior. (If you will be there, stop by our Virtual Reality Lab. You can play in the goggles yourself and find out if you can cross the pit.)

I will continue to explore how Virtual Reality can help researchers better understand the non-conscious and emotional drivers of consumer perceptions and behavior. I’m excited because the cost barriers are coming down rapidly, just as the sophistication of the tools increases.

Will Virtual Reality ever become a core part of market research? I don’t know. But can it? I think so.


Dave Sackman has over 25 years experience in marketing and research. He is an expert in marketing strategy and student of leadership. Dave is the CEO of Lieberman Research Worldwide and has turned LRW into the global so what’ company, focused on using consumer feedback to drive business impact. You can follow him on Twitter (@DavidSackman).