Using Virtual Reality in Retail Contexts (10-28-20)

Cowan and colleagues investigated the use of virtual reality while selling something.  Their work determined that “360-VR may help to communicate the brand story online, but the impact of this storytelling can be lost in store aisles due to cognitive competition. . . . 360-VR used online (versus in-store) favors consumers with lower product knowledge. Since consumers with lower product knowledge typically shop in supermarkets or discount stores rather than at specialty boutiques . . . there is opportunity to integrate personalized, digital experiences at each touchpoint for these types of retailers. . . .  when retailers are highly specialized, they should use videos and pictures to avoid competition of their online media with existing consumer knowledge. However, when retailers are more generalized, with a less knowledgeable clientele, 360-VR online will be more effective. . . . if retailers sell specialty products or have highly knowledgeable consumers, and would prefer to use 360-VR, they should include haptic cues online, in addition to 360-VR.”

Kirsten Cowan, Nathalie Spielmann, Esther Horn, and Clovis Griffart.  2021.  “Perception is Reality . . . How Digital Retail Environments Influence Brand Perceptions Through Presence.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 123, pp. 86-96,