Immersive Technologies for Interactive Store Design

Immersive Technologies for Interactive Store Design

Eleonora Pantano (University of Calabria, Italy & Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch225
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While the current advances in Information and Communication Technologies offer a huge number of innovative system able to enhance the traditional points of sale (Evans, 2011), consumers expect the introduction of more technology-based innovations in the stores especially to save time (Pantano & Viassone, 2012). As a consequence, also retail-oriented firms are forced to innovate to maintain business profitability.

In recent years, retailers have introduced several innovations in the traditional stores with a different level of diffusion and acceptance. In particular, the innovations currently adopted modify the modalities of (i) displaying items, by offering screens that exploit virtual reality techniques for presenting products; (ii) providing information on available items, by offering touch screen displays for achieving customized information on the products; (iii) payment, by offering applications for mobiles that allow consumers to pay the purchases directly from their own mobile (Pantano & Servidio, 2012). Especially the recent improvements in cloud computing and wireless technologies offer new applications and recommendations for consumers who can access everywhere directly from their own mobile phones (i.e. the possibility compare, order and pay items direct from mobiles), as well as the advancements in 3D virtual reality provide a new retail environment for an enriched shopping experience through user-friendly and more realistic consumers’ interfaces (Bennet & Savani, 2011; Bourlakis & Papagiannidis, 2009).

As a consequence, the innovative technologies increase the level of uncertainty and elicit several risks, such as the high risk of market failure, due to the possibility to not reach consumers’ interest and satisfy their expectations (Kohler et al., 2011; Fanelli & Maddalena, 2012; Zhu et al., 2013). To avoid this problem, it is possible to effectively collaborate with clients according to consumer-centered perspective for enhancing the innovation process, by considering consumers as a source of ideas, suggestions, creative proposals and involving them as active participants into the entire design process (Fuller et al., 2011; Frohlich & Sarvas, 2011). Since the positive impact of users’ creative contributions in design process (Olsson, 2004; Wu & Fang, 2010), the user-centered design perspective is emerging as an efficient strategy for fitting better consumers’ requirements and needs, as well as for increasing the likelihood of their acceptance and usage of new products. As a consequence, the increasing attention of market toward consumers instead of products forces firms and organizations to focus more on user-centred design. In the one hand, this approach allows users to feel active part of the design process, with benefits for the final products (Miaskiewicz & Kozar, 2011); in the other it supports firms and organization to better understand and reply to consumers’ expectations (Veryzer & Borja de Mozota, 2005). Hence, the design process starts from the users’ experience.

Although the importance of users-centred design, the problems concerning to what extent consumers are willing to be involved in the process stages still remain (Aarikka-Stenroos & Jaakkola, 2012), as well as the research in developing new products/services with a high acceptance probability is still in progress. As a consequence, how consumers can be involved and motivated in submitting their creative ideas, and how to support the knowledge sharing between consumers and designers for creating new products and services is still a hot topic for the sector (Fuller et al., 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology Management: The management of the technology usage for humans’ benefits, in terms of design, development, optimization, and control of a technological product, process or service, as well as the evaluation and prediction of users’ acceptance and adoption.

Innovation Management: The management of a possible innovation, which can be a product of an organizational innovation. It can be measured in terms of innovation diffusion, main characteristics, impact for the society and Management Innovation index.

Immersive Store: It is a new store concept based on an immersive environment. In particular, it consists of the digital world that totally surrounds the real human, who has the feeling of being part of the virtual world, and of the real user.

Consumer-Centered Perspective: It consists of a vision focused on the improvements of the innovation process, by considering consumers as a source of ideas, suggestions, creative proposals and involving them as active participants into the entire design process.

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