Intu trials VR Christmas shopping experience

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Shopping centre operators Intu has just introduced a virtual reality family-friendly multi-player fgame, taking shopping experiences to another level this festive season. 

Intu is piloting the experience at Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham, where shoppers can step from a winter log cabin in the shopping centre to a virtual reality winter wonderland where they can decorate a Christmas tree and share their creations online.

The pilot will be operating until December 21 as Intu looks to roll-out virtual reality experiences across its 15 centres in the UK next year. 

The pilot in Nottingham will also examine the impact of VR leisure experiences on dwell time, customer loyalty and the shopping experience alongside other leisure activities in shopping centres such as a trip to the cinema or dining out.

“This kind of social and interactive experience could become as commonplace for shoppers as stopping for a coffee with friends,” said Karen Harris, the managing director of Intu’s digital innovation team.


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“It is providing a real moment of surprise and delight for customers in Nottingham which is likely to increase dwell time in the centre over Christmas and propensity to revisit to the benefit of our retailers.

“Virtual reality and its uses within the modern world has attracted a huge amount of public interest so as part of Intu’s digital strategy we wanted to test its benefits within a real shopping environment and learn from our findings.” 

The Christmas VR experience at Victoria Centre uses HTC Vive, a first-of-its-kind virtual reality system that features 360° absolute motion tracking and two wireless controllers.

The VR experience is just one in a series of trials Intu has run this year as part of its digital strategy, having worked with the National Autistic Society in the summer to host a virtual reality experience that gave shoppers the perspective of an autistic child.

It is also piloting an augmented reality experience at its Santa’s grotto in Intu Trafford Centre.

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