When we think of VR we tend to think of it being used for computer games and the entertainment industry. It’s easy to see why with Sony’s Playstation VR Headset selling well over a million units. However, over the next couple of years we’re going to see VR becoming an extension of digital signage as a new and exciting way of attracting footfall into stores.
Including a Virtual Reality element to digital signage significantly increases interactivity and creates a more engaging experience for the consumer – something that will be very popular with retailers who are operating in a very competitive marketplace.
VR in the Retail Environment
VR has been making a pretty big impact on nearly every industry – film, entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare…. We often associate VR with using some kind of peculiar looking headset, not something that we’d expect to go down particularly well in a stylish shop!
But VR is moving to a stage where the headsets aren’t needed any more. Last year at the Infocomm 2017 there was an excellent VR experience on display. NEC had worked together with nine other companies to showcase an immersive VR experience to the crowd. The virtual reality setup simulated 3 different virtual worlds: an ocean with a shark, the surface of Mars and Mount Everest. NEC used curved LCD screens for the video wall and the sound changed depending on whether you were standing inside or outside the VR booth. Certainly impressive and very popular with the crowd!
VR headsets are quite restrictive and more of an individual experience but if we run with the idea of VR combined with digital displays – we open up a whole range of possibilities…. For example, imagine a virtual changing room in a clothes shop that allows people to check out different colours or styles on their own body-shape, this would really engage people in a whole new way.
Experience the Whole Store
Sports manufacturer Under Armour came up with a very unique way of using VR to allow people to view the inside of a new flagship store being built in Chicago while it was still in the construction phase. They created a fully immersive 3-D tour of the building that showed consumers the whole store layout. People were able to view the virtual tour by looking into a periscope on the outside of the building and were queuing up to have a sneak peek. The periscope was actually a modified Oculus Rift – take a look at the short promo video…..
It’ll also be possible to tailor the experience to match up to each person, creating customer specific content. So, for example, you might want to display different content based on how old a person is, if they’re male or female or even display different content based on the way they are looking! Being able to change something so quickly based on these kinds of demographics will be entirely new for retailers and could be a very powerful marketing tool.
VR is in its infancy but even now it’s easy to see the possibilities that are coming down the line for incorporating VR into digital signage.