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Realism in Consumer Behavior - How Researchers can benefit from VR/AR?

Patrick Renvoise, a renowned author of "Neuromarketing: Understanding the "buy Button" in Your Customer's Brain" in his 2013 Ted Talk mentioned that in traditional marketing, researchers ask customers what do they want? On the basis of their responses, companies design a product and build marketing strategies to sell it. However, he asserts, that such a traditional approach has one major problem and that is customers, don't know what they want. To solve this problem, he says that it is important for researchers to incline to new methodologies that can help them to analyze psychological changes within the consumer's body when they are subjected to marketing stimuli.

This is where cutting-edge tools like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can come into place to bolster the existing research methodologies by helping researchers to measure realistic neurological activities such as customer's preferences, motivation and engagement. In this blog, we will elucidate how immersive technologies can be an effective and efficient tool for researchers and marketers to obtain authentic results.

Collecting and Visualizing Data of the Subconscious Mind


How many times have you gone to the supermarket with a set-list in mind only to make impulse purchases you totally didn't need? When researchers get a group of people to test a new product using traditional techniques such as observations, surveys and in-depth interviews, they get sketchy responses as people may not express their honest opinion and have flawed recall; what they say may be different from what they are thinking. To understand the real drivers of decision making, we have to use new-age tools like eye-tracking enabled VR/AR technology combined with Biofeedback devices that can help researchers to decipher subconscious/emotional preferences of the consumers that are driving their desires at the first place. For example, using an EEG device along with eye-tracking enabled AR glasses, it is possible for researchers to measure emotions, feelings, involuntary body movements, heart rate, intuitions and other implicit responses. In this way, researchers can better set pricing, improve ads, branding, and packaging.

Driving Down the Operational Cost


Virtual Reality driven research has the potential to bring down the operational cost. For example, using XR technologies to analyze customers' attitudes and behaviour, companies can predict what consumers may like in the near future. This can save them from allocating funds to produce a product that will not be sold in the marketplace. Additionally, marketers can create powerful marketing campaigns that they are sure will create a lasting impression on consumers. On the other hand, researchers can replicate the real world and create a virtual scenario where users can be evaluated and analyzed. This can save the organization thousands of dollars on creating an infrastructure to conduct consumer research.

Advance Testing Strategy to enhance Efficiency


Researchers making an assumption on customers' wants and needs can result in great financial losses. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct research in advance to collect and analyze customers reaction towards a new product or campaign. For example, a food brand coming up with a new product line can use VR to place its products on a virtual shelf layout and find out how consumers are reacting to its features, design and placement as compared to other brands. This way organizations can achieve maximum productivity with minimum wastage of resources. A VR enabled product testing approach can help brands predict consumer acceptance of a new product, this way they can engage with their target group flawlessly and build customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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