From planning interiors to immersing shoppers in scents, VR is changing the way that retailers activate their spaces

Virtual reality is often considered a strictly at-home experience, and often a very solitary one. But thanks to leaps and bounds in mixed reality technology in recent years, VR isn't confined to living rooms anymore.

The possibilities of virtual reality in store design are myriad, allowing retailers to rethink the way that they educate shoppers and facilitate brand interaction. From planning interiors to immersing shoppers in scents, VR's impact on store design and experience is optimizing the store experience and customer journey generally.

Symphony RetailAI
For retailers hoping to build or renovate a space, artificial intelligence platform Symphony RetailAI created a platform that uses VR to inform store design. The virtual store remodeling solution creates a 3D model of the store’s layout, enabling users to run analytics and evaluate shelf placement to design a new, customer-driven layout, complete with shopper feedback.

Accenture, Qualcomm and Kellogg's
The three brands partnered on a pilot program that uses a VR headset with eye-tracking technology to help retailers optimize merchandising and in-store experience. Consumers are immersed in a full-scale, simulated store, providing retailers with information such as where a headset wearer looks on virtual aisles in order to determine the best way to stock their shelves.

NEC x VAQSO
Using a technology developed by VAQSO, a U.S.-based venture firm that creates VR devices that emit scent, the Japan-based IT company NEC developed a VR system that enables shoppers to smell products in an online store. Users who visit a virtual store with the system will not only see the products as they’re approaching them, but smell their scents as well, replicating the in-store experience.

virtualCoty
Shoppers might be used to testing fragrances for sale, but beauty retailer Coty is combining scents with VR technology for an entirely new in-store experience. Customers put on a headset and sniff one of seven fragrances, which activates an eight-second video complete with sound and 360-degree visuals. After the show, each participant gets a list of personalized fragrance recommendations based on their reactions.


Lead image: Artem Beliaikin

Virtual reality is often considered a strictly at-home experience, and often a very solitary one. But thanks to leaps and bounds in mixed reality technology in recent years, VR isn't confined to living rooms anymore.

The possibilities of virtual reality in store design are myriad, allowing retailers to rethink the way that they educate shoppers and facilitate brand interaction. From planning interiors to immersing shoppers in scents, VR's impact on store design and experience is optimizing the store experience and customer journey generally.