As a result of the testing O2 stores using Virtual Reality, we were able to:

The main objectives of the research were to:

  1. Guide O2 on how to create a more eye-catching point-of-sale for a product in store
  2. Test various store concepts in isolation, particularly for awareness and clarity
  3. Prove that a Virtual Reality approach generates meaningful insights in quantitative research
  4. Address declining response rates in quantitative research

Thank you for a great experience. I really enjoyed it. It was cool to do something so new. I look forward to the next survey”

Virtual Reality panelist

The challenge

O2 were sure that a key in-store product could perform better in terms of sales and awareness among customers.

But they had a problem. Limited space and a crowded in-store environment made it next to impossible to test in-store layouts by showing respondents flat images and mocking up the physical retail environment. It was far too costly, time-consuming and problematic to test at scale.

What we did

Populus worked in conjunction with Populus Data Solutions (part of Populus Group) and Gorilla In The Room (our Virtual Reality technology partner) to design an intuitive mobile survey solution. This integrated a virtual reality 360-video into the survey itself. Respondents were sent Google Cardboard headsets and then invited to take part in the survey using their smartphone. A sample of 400 was split into 5 monadic cells. Each cell was exposed to a different virtual environment of the O2 store, where the store assets were digitally altered using CGI.

The virtual reality experience was created with the use of filmed footage from one of the O2 stores trialling the product. The store was filmed using a 360 degree camera in a fixed position, ensuring that the only variation between different executions were the representations of the bay. This approach ensured that factors with the store layout such as the other point of sale and messaging surrounding the product bay and the wider store environment were consistent and did not bias the results in any way.  When respondents put the virtual reality headset on, the standard O2 radio station was playing, adding to the realistic atmosphere and immersive experience.

The result

A panel of fully immersed respondents, which gave O2 clear direction on the best performing concepts and store set-up

The research shows that Virtual Reality is practical within quantitative research and can produce meaningful data. We were particularly pleased by the respondents’ highly positive reaction to Virtual Reality stimulus.

Find out more about Populus Data Solutions’ VR Panel here.

Find out more about Gorilla In The Room VR and AR solutions here.