kb-network    Ideas 26 Jan 2018

Will virtual reality eventually mark the end of brick and mortar showrooms?

VR technology can be immersive, interactive and informative for both customers and designers alike, but it’s not always a small investment. To make life more difficult, there can be a massive difference in features and benefits between brands and software packages, making it tricky to work out what may work best for each business.

At its best, this technology can fill the imagination gap, giving both designers and consumers an innovative way of stepping into a new dimension. But the level of quality can vary wildly with different speeds of render, graphics power and headset specifications all conspiring to turn the decision-making process into a minefield.

In the past year alone, virtual reality technology has moved on quickly. Packages now exist that allow customers to move around their space by walking in real life, with sensors on the headset allowing them to reach out and open doors and drawers with their own hands.

The difference in features between various virtual reality packages can be stark. For example, software as simple as a 360-degree photograph can be badged up as virtual reality? These offerings fall some way short of fully immersive renders. Virtual reality packages are at their most effective as a sales tool when they are fully immersive. Headsets give sales teams an advantage in that they completely isolate their customers from the real world, helping to suspend disbelief and ultimately increase the chance of making a sale.

The top packages on the market, such as Virtual Worlds’ 4D Theatre and 4D Showroom, can, in fact, have much the same impact as a test drive in a car – with the fast render times and high-quality, immersive environments selling the benefits of a new kitchen or bathroom by allowing the customer to go in and experience it for themselves.

And while older, clunkier headsets have been known to cause motion sickness, improved render times on newer software has combated this, making them an excellent sales tool for all ages – even those that have never used a virtual reality package before.

Nathan Maclean, Managing Director at Virtual Worlds, said: “As a business committed to breaking boundaries in KBB software technology, we are constantly looking to the future of CAD technology in order to further support retailers and revolutionise the industry. We are well aware that in this industry, the quality of our offering is key.

“Our core goal is being able to deliver a market-leading platform to further equip retailers with the tools to increase footfall, shorten the buying cycle and increase revenue along with providing their customers with an unparalleled experience.

“Not only does this improve sales conversion rates, but also helps to increase the value of orders – helping to boost KBB businesses.”

Virtual Worlds | virtualworlds.co.uk