That’s one silver lining of the disruption of the past year. It has dramatically expedited investment and development of these technologies that five years ago seemed limited to design professionals and hard-core gamers.
Just as we can use VR today to stroll on Mars from the comfort of our homes, we can use the same technology for more practical purposes. Ipsos has been working with clients to test virtual showrooms, retail planograms, consumer packaging, airport journeys, media engagement and even VR surgeries. And Ipsos constantly works to test and validate these new approaches.
Throughout its development, one of the biggest barriers using VR has been confidentiality. Now, digital security and encryption help to ensure consumer confidentiality, allowing product designers to test multiple product iterations before having to invest in expensive prototypes. This has allowed some automotive manufacturers, for example, to cut product development time in half.
The applications for how we buy products are clear as well. With the proliferation and accessibility of the augmented reality and VR simulation systems, devices like headsets, goggles, glasses and gloves will become ubiquitous in the near future. Original equipment manufacturers will be able to promote products through VR and even preview models via virtual events, which is especially helpful for engaging shoppers who are less inclined to attend in person.
Product owners will be able to view manuals and step-by-step guides on anything from how to personalize infotainment systems or change a tire. Vehicle shoppers will be able to test drive models in any environment, be it snow for SUVs or city streets for a roadster. Shoppers are willing and ready for this, as the chart below shows.
Brands that want to attract and retain these shoppers will need the full range of VR, AR and other tools of the metaverse to engage, inform and delight them. As importantly, brands that want to make leaps in their development prowess will need these skills as well. Otherwise, they could be left in the dust.