Retailers will need to manage a consumer “expectation gap” to benefit from VR

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
February 25, 2019, 10:26 PM UTC

Transitioning from virtual to actual environments in-store could disappoint shoppers.

Retailers are under pressure to innovate from consumers who now expect satisfying experiences alongside the products and services that they buy. VR is one such innovation but questions remain over how it can be integrated into mainstream retail environments. This study used interviews with consumers familiar with the technology and sector experts to map out the future impacts of VR technology.

Specifically, it looked at VR delivered via head mounted devices (HMDs) on both customer experience and in-store traffic along all stages of the shopper journey, including in-store and before and after visiting. It finds that there is a mismatch between the stage at which the technology is most appealing to consumers (engagement) and the stage at which it is likely to contribute most to in-store traffic (purchase).

This could result in disappointment at a critical point just before purchase as customers have to switch between virtual and actual interactions. To combat this, brands should make it easier for consumers to interact with them through VR both in their shops and away from them. This could be achieved by making HMDs readily available in-store and partnering to reduce the cost of personal devices, as well as producing branded content to be consumed as VR experiences.

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[30 minute read; article may be behind a paywall]