Updated: Dec 10, 2020
There has been a paradigm shift in the conversation around VR technology from being a gamers gizmo to a valuable toolkit for researchers across enterprises to understand consumer behaviour. In this blog, we will provide an overview of some of the traditional research methods that might have become inconsequential and how VR is innovating marketing research and redefining confidence for consumer research behaviour.
Traditional Research Methodologies aren't enough
Although traditional research methodologies are being used by organizations to maintain a competitive edge over the competition, analyze trends, and save money, time, and effort in developing new products, they lack interpretivism, believing that it is important to analyze society by studying individuals. They haven't developed along with the advancement of technologies.
While traditional marketing research techniques such as Surveys, Focus Groups, In-depth Interviews, and Questionnaires are requisite to understand consumer's psychographic and behavioural landscape, it is also imperative to shift focus from the data collection to data analysis to make the research process simpler and effective. Let's deep dive into the existing conventional methods of research.
Conducting a survey is undemanding and an effective way to collect data from a huge population. Additionally, it isn't the content-driven, and distribution takes a couple of minutes. However, accumulating data from the survey responses can be time consuming and tiring. Moreover, surveys aren't intuitive and engaging, which might result in survey fatigue; where the respondent may get tired and bored submitting the details half-heartedly.
As the name suggests, it is focused on research conducted between a limited set of people. As everybody is allowed to speak, it can turn out to be informative and chaotic at the same time. One of the biggest drawbacks of this kind of research is that it lacks personalization. Data derived from such an experiment might be incongruent as participants might say something and do the opposite in real life.
Interviews might seem flexible and adaptable in the beginning to provide insight into the organization's services or products. Still, it may turn out to be costly and give rise to possible biases. Considering people from different demographics might have different needs, it can become difficult to organize and manage such a diverse group.
Virtual Reality – An alternative to traditional research methods
It's an exciting time for research, with cutting-edge technologies like Virtual Reality bringing an unconventional approach to creating interactive and immersive experiences. One of the biggest benefits of VR is that it allows researchers/marketers to create real-life scenarios without building them in real life. Let's take an example of a brick and mortar store to understand further how VR can revolutionize traditional research methodologies in retail.
Data Collection to Data Analytics
Unlike traditional data collection methods across retail stores that have relied on focus groups, in-store observation, and questionnaires, which can lead to respondent fatigue and inaccurate data, VR provides fully immersive research in a controlled environment. When combined with other measurements such as Eye-Tracking, Biosensors, and EEG technology, it provides deeper insight into the user's behaviour, movement, gaze, attention, and heart-rate. Based on the consumers' behaviour in a virtual retail environment, it is possible to track what catches the user's attention and what doesn't. Such immersive virtualization helps researchers gain various types of stimuli to enhance the consumer experience.
Predicting Consumer's Future Buying Decisions
One of the biggest issues that researchers have faced is that people aren't good at explaining their past behaviour; consumers don't know why they buy products which makes traditional research methodologies seem a bit outdated. This is where Virtual Reality, combined with functional data analytics, offers a great possibility to Neuromarketers, who can predict which product design and marketing communication will attract consumer's minds.
Cost-Effective and Efficient
Rather than building a new store or hiring new employees to capture consumer's reactions towards a new concept, Virtual Reality allows brands/retailers to create multiple digital environments. Using a cloud-based VR platform, consumer behaviour can be evaluated, and the concepts can be tweaked, which saves the organization time and effort.
It is difficult to neglect the potential that Virtual Reality brings in research. On the other hand, we can't leave out the traditional research methodologies that have been instrumental in providing insight into the brands/retailers for decades. It is imperative to explore the synergies between cutting-edge tools like VR and conventional research techniques that can bolster and strengthen the research process for the betterment of consumer experience.
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