AR/VR Meet Neuroscience and Revolutionize Retail Design

Getting to the heart of how consumers shop is now a reality

What if there were no barriers to your brand design?
What if you could experiment freely with no risk?
What if?

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves when we approached neuromarketing research firm True Impact to collaborate on a first-of-its-kind approach combining neuroscience with augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) that will revolutionize retail and packaging design.

“Our intention was to merge these technologies to produce consistent and reliable data that we can translate into actionable strategies for our clients,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Shikatani Lacroix President. “With the advancements in Mixed Realities experience, we have at our disposal new visualization tools that can combine to allow for better insights that have never before been possible.”

We design realistic retail environments using 3D technology, which may include a 3d animation, that are visualized on AR and VR devices to allow clients to experience the retail concepts before physical prototypes are built.

To validate the effectiveness of these concepts, we partnered with True Impact to accurately measure a consumer’s emotional response to the AR and VR environments using neuroscience technology.

neuroscience web interface

The result is a groundbreaking approach that marries Microsoft HoloLens and Samsung VR headgear with Electroencephalogram (EEG) neuroscience equipment to decipher consumer preference through emotion. The ability to measure the true emotional response to how a retail environment or package makes a consumer feel correlates to the effectiveness of the retail or package design ­– potentially saving companies millions of dollars on unproven prototypes.

“Our innovative approach presents new possibilities for understanding people’s emotions and preferences in retail environments,” said Diana Lucaci, Founder and CEO of True Impact.“What’s really exciting for me about these two technologies is the possibilities that they open up – the ability to create spaces and create shopping experiences and environments that are human-friendly, they’re designed with people’s welfare in mind, and ultimately add value to people’s lives.”

neuroscience VR bank kiosks

After testing a retail bank concept in VR and AR, the initial research findings revealed impressive insights. Measuring cognitive effort, short-term engagement and heart rate, it was observed that the heart rate correlated well with movement in VR as if the test subject was actually walking around the retail space. This indicates that the brain adopted the experience as reality.

In our AR findings it was discovered that a clean line of sight is key to helping a customer achieve their objectives, and discontinuity in a space should be bridged by a repeating design. In our VR test environment we observed that feature design elements spike interest and engagement, environments with many design elements increase cognitive effort, and engagement length increases in high contrast areas. The tests also measured positive reactions to various architectural and décor elements, which indicated that the space was engaging.

“We focus on innovative ways to create immersive experiences that help brands emotionally connect with consumers,” said Daniel Terenzio, Immersive Solutions, Digital Creative Experience at Shikatani Lacroix. “Our new VR and AR application using neuroscience technology will allow us to visualize, measure and then successfully execute those experiences.”

Would you use AR and VR to peek inside your customers’ heads? How would that impact your retail design? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to receive the latest Shikatani Lacroix insights in your inbox.