Future of Retail VR
An interactive experience about how new technologies could revolutionise the retail experience.
How might the emerging technologies of today influence the way we live our lives tomorrow? This is the question that underpins the Future of Retail VR experience created by S1T2 and Adobe.
Step inside and consider how technologies like virtual reality might enhance and extend the retail experience, combining the physicality of regular stores with the convenience of online shopping.
A Future Home
The Future of Retail VR experience begins in the same way that most shopping journeys do: with an open fridge. The environment around this fridge - the apartment of the future - marked our first opportunity to bring to life what we think the future might look like.
The result was a small, bright apartment that gave modern architectural stylings a futuristic twist. Slanted ceilings, exposed brick and polished concrete all work to give the open-plan living space a modern, liveable feel. Meanwhile, subtle elements such as strip lighting and projections, just starting to make an appearance in today's units, give the space a feeling of authentic futurism.
Supermarket in the Sky
Accessed through a portal in the apartment's fridge, the Future of Retail supermarket imagines what virtual reality might bring to grocery shopping. With the personalisation of online shopping and the physicality of a regular store, this environment represents a way to enhance, rather than eliminate, the physical experience of shopping.
In designing this virtual supermarket environment, our aim was to create a shopping experience that at once reflected on and was removed from reality. White walls and steel beams provide a simple yet modern atmosphere while large open windows look out onto a vast landscape. All in all a tranquil world in which to choose your fruit and veg.
While shopping, players are also given the chance to experience one possibility for how virtual reality could redefine supermarket advertising. Accessed by a swirling portal, the Mango Farm invites shoppers to step into a calming replica of where their real life produce comes from.
By encouraging customers to personally discover the story behind their food, and even pick a fruit or two, the Mango Farm takes advantage of the immersive and interactive potential of virtual reality to create both a memorable experience and a powerful advertisement. Indeed, this promotion could be seen as a natural successor to the farmer profiles and geographic charts of today's supermarkets.
Another important part of the Future of Retail experience was the use of real-time recommendations. Given the prevalence of personalised guidance, facilitated by artificial intelligence, in online shopping today, its clear this technology is bound to play a crucial role in the shopping of the future.
In our version of future shopping, customised guidance processes are brought to life within the shopping centre itself. As they shop, players will find that the preferences they established upon entering the supermarket are combined seamlessly with the ingredients they've already selected to produce personalised recipe recommendations on the simple yet effective holographic screens.
One of the main benefits of online shopping is how data collection and artificial intelligence allow for a personalised, customisable retail experience. The Future of Retail capitalises on these systems while using virtual reality to visualise and embed them into a more physical shopping experience.
The design challenge here was to create informational interfaces that were both futuristic and believable. By pairing opaque holographic screens with simple visual representations of information the experience presents a friendly, approachable version of the future where data is both easy to read and readily integrated into the overall landscape.
A Glimpse of Tomorrow
Debuted at the 2018 Adobe Symposium, the Future of Retail gave audiences an interesting and interactive glimpse into a not-so-distant future where technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence play an even bigger role in our day to day lives.
Experienced by hundreds of conference goers over the two-day event, the experience inspired countless conversations about how technology and retail interact, both now and into the future.
'The Future of Retail' was created by S1T2 in partnership with Adobe Australia and New Zealand.
The experience would not have been possible without the help of HTC Vive.