Virtual reality (VR) provides a computer-generated 3D environment that surrounds a user and responds to that individual's actions in a natural way, usually through immersive head-mounted displays and head tracking. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment. Some higher end versions of VR equipment have hand controllers in which the user can manipulate objects or perform a series of actions within the VR environment.
Within research there are many applications for virtual reality technology and this will continue to evolve.
For now, we see three broad uses for VR in market research which are Observations, Product or Concept Testing and Reporting (bringing insights to life).
As a research application it can be used in the following areas:
- Shopper experience evaluation (testing store layouts, concepts)
- Advertising and promotion concept testing (in-store & out of home)
- Product concept testing (evaluating existing designs)
- Product concept development (creating new designs & features)
- Observing natural behaviours (via 360 video cameras)
- VR + Neuroscience (engage & measure the brain's response to stimuli as well as eye tracking and facial muscle coding).