Relevance & Research Question:
The benefits of using VR prototypes for higher-cost categories in innovation and design projects are well known – logistics, greater modification flexibility, lower cost, virtual in-store and competitive choice scenarios.
With VR technology becoming more sophisticated and user-friendly, how can market research further benefit from it?
We will present a case study on a new fridge-freezer concept with Electrolux and a leading VR specialist company.
Methods & Data:
54 VR explorations across three countries - Germany, Italy, Sweden - accompanied by a total of 9 in-depth focus groups.
Across all age groups the VR part worked very well, both as a stand-alone and in combination with focus groups. Following outputs were key benefits:
Usability: Detailed feedback was gathered – particularly in comparison to fragile 3-D renderings.
Immersive: With prototypes seeming so real, we received more spontaneous and little post-rationalizing feedback.
Curiosity: A thrilling tech factor led to higher engagement.
Involvement: Fridges – a potentially lower interest category – enjoyed higher levels of excitement.
Playfulness: Tasks were treated more like games.
Flexibility & Speed: 3D renderings could be changed from one fieldwork session to the next.
Democracy: VR created equal conditions for prototype and comparison device.
Realistic Environment: Simulating a realistic shop floor atmosphere including competitive products was made possible.
Focus Groups + VR:
Higher participant focus due to the VR experience– everyone was highly engaged.
Higher attention to detail due to the amount of time spent with the prototypes during the VR experience!
There was nevertheless a strong creative dynamic present in the F2F groups.
Research moderation expertise is needed to manage “digital excitement” –managing overexcitement that leads them to jumping from one design aspect to the next.
The VR approach was more cost-efficient, more environmentally friendly, offered higher flexibility and in the end enabled deeper and more valuable insights – particularly with regards to usability!
Benefits of VR continued after the research: designers were more open to implementing the design changes as they felt less "emotionally attached" to the stimulus (compared to physical models). Our results were thus received more openly and applied without hesitation.