Virtual reality shopping simulation for the modern marketer

Date of publication: September 1, 1995

Abstract:

Virtual reality of some kind would seem to be a natural tool for market research. It has the potential to help the marketing decision maker in that it can allow him to model what people do rather than rely simply on what people say they will do. The marketing decision maker is surrounded by experts advising him on what to do; the design expert who tells him new packaging will refresh his brand, the agency expert who tells him new advertising will increase brand share, the pricing expert who tells him that if he drops his price it will result in increased sales and increased profits overall and the marketing research expert whose job is to convince him as to the best course of action. With all of these experts often with different agendas, sometimes offering conflicting advice, it is no wonder he has a healthy scepticism. We now have new tools at our disposal. It is up to us to be proactive, to change, to try new technology. If we want the marketing decision maker to use research fully we need to convince him that we have the means to get at the truth. And if at first we don’t succeed then we should try, try, try again. In the ideal world, Marketing will trust all research results implicitly and have full confidence in anything that we propose. To achieve that goal we must have amongst other things the right tools. Researchers within a marketing organisation cannot rely only on suppliers to provide those tools. We have to understand the needs, then if the tools are not available, develop them ourselves and find a supplier who can work with them. Then and only then will market researchers on the client side gain the confidence of marketing decision makers leading one hopes to the ultimate goal of increasing profits for our companies.

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