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James Donnellan, Designer

Visitors to our Retail Design Expo stand witnessed immersive technology at a very personal level. Our stand was designed to be as devoid of screens as possible. We recognised that screen saturation amongst consumers could lead to commitment anxiety. The net result can be a negative impression of the digital offering. But there are ways in which screens can be deployed to a specific effect, e.g. delivering our case studies through virtual reality (VR) style technology.

Experience our Expo VR style tech for yourself

If you would like to view our designs in virtual reality, click through to our YouTube page. You can see the experience and navigate around with your finger or mouse (depending if you’re on mobile or desktop). To enjoy the videos in their full glory, you can use a low-tech piece of kit called ‘Google cardboard’ to view this content as an immersive VR experience. If you’re new to Google cardboard, it costs as little as £10, and when you have one, simply insert your smartphone into it and explore! Here’s the image that Google cardboard converts into 360-degree magic:

Sun & Sand Sports store design 360 degree render

Despite the lack of screens, the Green Room Expo experience was alive with digital technology. The technology was deployed to invite interaction, to encourage engagement, to tempt the senses. Technology included conductive paint, pressure pads, projection mapping, a digitised soundscape, a fully scoped DMX light recipe and a host of analytics. A softer, subtle approach to interaction, presenting opportunities, not restrictions and where the more you engage, the more you discover.

Green Room Retail Design Expo Google Cardboard

How can Google Cardboard be incorporated into the design process?

Practically, the accessibility of the software through inexpensive mediums like Google cardboard has made the use of 3D VR renders a workable part of the design process. Rather than looking at isolated renders, the software can stitch them together into an immersive VR environment for clients to experience. A try before you buy scenario.

The bucket-loads of computer power necessary is also becoming more workable. At Green Room, we’ve used a plug-in to drop text and imagery into the VR environment, which has the potential to allow retailers and visual merchandisers to view their campaigns within a 3D environment before they go live.

The North Face 360 degree store design

How can VR be incorporated into the in-store retail experience?

VR can be used to give context to an instore experience. For example, Virgin Holidays have installed VR style glasses onto a map of the world so that customers can trial a taster experience before they book.

Virgin VR experience

TopShop has also used VR in-store to create a ‘telepresence experience’, transmitting the catwalk show live to enthralled fashionistas sitting in the window of their flagship store on Oxford Street.

Topshop LFW14 virtual reality

How can VR enhance the customer journey?

Some retailers are offering customers shoppable VR style experiences online by mapping their bricks and mortar stores. Ted Baker are promoting this heavily.

Ted Baker 360 shop design

The future?

Could it be the use of avatars of celebrities integrated into VR, guiding you through a personal shopping experience?


Pixel pool logo

We would like to thank our partners PixelPool, who supplied the wireframe renders that we used to create some of our Google Cardboard experiences.