The potential of virtual reality in market research
Virtual reality is mainly associated with the world of entertainment and video games. But it finds its application in a multitude of fields.
In particular, it arouses considerable interest among market research institutes that are developing and perfecting the integration of this tool
Some institutes already propose it in their methodology and have demonstrated its reliability and predictive potential by comparing the results obtained with and without the use of virtual reality. In order to make possible the comparison of the two approaches, an identical protocol has been set up so that the only difference is the environment.
On the other hand, so that respondents are not disturbed by the virtual reality headset, a calibration is implemented so that they acclimatize to 360° vision.
Virtual reality allows to get a little closer to reality by recreating consumer situations, places or atmospheres that can awaken the senses of respondents
The latter are thus immersed in more real conditions than those of a simple test room. In this context, responses that are directly related to the studied subject would lead to more operational results, optimized in terms of quality and reliability.
The experiments show that respondents in total immersion, more connected to the product category, are more concentrated. They provide more discriminating and precise answers. While in traditional test conditions, the language used is more generic.
The condition for fully exploiting the benefits of this tool is technical and based on virtual environment modeling. The latter must be consistent with the product category and make sense in the minds of respondents so that they experience it directly, that they are immersed in the real conditions of use of the product.
Research does not seem to know any limits to optimize the relevance of studies
The objective being to reproduce reality in the smallest detail, down to the emotional context. In order to analyze behavioural data and to be able to measure emotions, considered essential in purchasing behaviour.
We will retain:
– the virtual reality methodology of the market research institute Stratégir: for fragances screening.
– the start-up Kinese: by reproducing prototypes and stores in 3D it develops solutions for concept tests. Also offered on mobile phones, so that respondents do not have to travel since they discover their virtual environment by turning on themselves and transmit their evaluation via a chatbot.
– the start-up The Lab in the bag in collaboration with the market research institute Repères: has developed cabins to reproduce atmospheres such as those of discos or beaches. The 5 senses are then used since sounds, smells, temperatures are simulated for a total teleportation effect.
– the Datakalab start-up; uses neuroscience tools such as connected bracelets, facial cameras, voice analysis. To measure heart rate, body temperature, detect facial movements, to qualify emotions and their intensity.
However, at this stage, attempts to interpret emotions through these different data cannot be sufficient. It requires a declarative complement from respondents, to better understand all these data.
En tout état de cause, ces nouvelles méthodes bousculent les études marketing classiques
In any case, these methods upset traditional market research studies
Marketing studies will inevitably have to be reconsidered and integrate the emotional aspect to gain in relevance and reliability.
Ultimately, research institutes will be able to quantify, analyze, decode and verbalize emotions. The research data will then enable brands to better understand purchasing behaviour and develop more targeted communications.
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