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Where virtual reality fits into retail

Whenever a new technology is released there are almost always two types of enthusiasts; those who just want to use it for ‘cool stuff’, and those who see it as a real revenue potential. While ‘cool stuff’ can be tactical, at Savvy we focus on developing our virtual reality strategies wisely to deliver sustainable results and positive brand experiences for consumers.


So where does VR fit into retail?

Any marketer worth their salt knows that on or offline, retail is a space where unit costs matter. So over the span of a store estate or ecommerce site, every square foot or inch of screen needs to contribute to ROI. Here are just a few of the ways VR can fit into a shopper’s path to purchase.  


  • Driving traffic to store
  • Creating theatre in store
  • Acting as a way finder or hero space for a featured product/range/campaign
  • Increasing dwell time


For instance…

Tommy Hilfiger is a great example of VR best practice. It recently launched a 360 VR film experience of the Fall 2015 Hilfiger Collection runway show. Using a Samsung Gear VR device, the immersive virtual experience creates the impression of sitting live in the front row at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory during show time. As a consumer, what better view of a brand new clothing collection could you get than to see it coming right at you down the runway?


Tommy Hilfiger himself said, “Through virtual reality, we’re now able to bring our one-of-a-kind fashion show to the retail setting. From the incredible set and music to exclusive backstage moments, consumers will be able to watch the clothes move and see the collection in the original show environment—it’s a compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience.’’ Simply put, it’s creating an ‘I want that’ state of mind in store, right at the point of purchase.


It’s important to state the big win here; an instant in time that’s hard to forget and sure to be shared. It’s that Snapchat moment, where either the consumer or their friend records and passes on a branded experience that’s current, unexpected and interesting. As we often find in our Savvy Shopper Panel, UGC (User Generated Content) is hugely influential and trusted by shoppers as a reliable community opinion. (Just this year one of Savvy’s key clients has seen featured product sales rise by over 10% by smartly using curated community content around both product and brand experiences!)


A media format like no other, virtual reality gives retailers the opportunity to rid themselves of the restrictions in store marketing often faces. There are no shelves, stock rooms or even walls or floor spaces to consider – a whole new world can be created inside even the smallest retail environment. If you act fast and be one of the first to fully embrace virtual reality, you have the chance to create something your shoppers will remember you for. 

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