Virtual Reality: The Secret Sauce of Retail Innovation

Posted by Patrick Niersbach on August 30, 2017

Portrait of a handsome male chef cook tasting food isolated on a white background.jpegThe Amazon/Whole Foods deal is finally official, and everyone is scrambling to find out how it will change the way we get our groceries. People have been happy to learn that prices at Whole Foods are going down, and the availability of food delivery and click-and-collect services are on the rise. From a business perspective, Amazon is throwing down the gauntlet for how the retail industry operates from this point forward. And the industry needs to listen up.

As store footprints start to shrink and personalization becomes more of a priority for shoppers, stores and brands need to be thinking about either providing convenience or creating experiences. To compete with Amazon means to compete with impossible time and budgeting goals, and a plethora of resources—there’s nothing more convenient than ordering online and having something delivered within the day. So stores need to focus on innovating the in-store experience. This means finding what resonates with your customers, and reacting accordingly—and doing it soon.

Yet many companies don’t know where to start.

The problem is they keep hearing they need to innovate: they are told customers are craving new experiences, and technology is changing the way shoppers shop—but they’re lost when it comes to actually implementing new processes within their organizations. How do we begin to effectively usher in innovative solutions that will help move the needle?  

Virtual reality is one impactful technology, available today, that is changing the way retailers and brands go to market. Using VR retail solutions from InContext, companies are able to create, test, and launch new concepts faster than ever before while staying on budget. They can develop prototypes using VR simulations in order to visualize how they look in the context of a store, and then further test those concepts rapidly with ShopperMX™ or through custom insights studies in order to learn how real shoppers will react. They can then guide stakeholders and partners through their winning concept by leveraging immersive VR technology to effectively put them directly into the customer’s shoes. (Check out the ShopperMX™ HIVE in action!)

InContext customers are achieving true ROI by leveraging VR solutions to drive organizational change. Working in virtual eliminates costly mock store build-outs, allows you to get to decisions faster, and provides unique insights from both the behavioral and attitudinal customer perspective. It's the secret ingredient that allows brands to remain relevant in the world of Amazon—because it’s no longer a matter of whether to update stale business practices in the retail space. It’s a matter of when.

Patrick Niersbach

Pat is the Senior Director of Marketing at InContext Solutions.

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