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Immersive virtual reality technology in a three-dimensional virtual simulated store: Investigating telepresence and usability

Schnack, Alexander, Wright, Malcolm J., Holdershaw, Judith L.
Food research international 2019 v.117 pp. 40-49
computer simulation, computers, controllers, food marketing, mice
This study explores whether using immersive virtual reality technology (iVR) in a virtual simulated store (VSS) enhances perceived telepresence and usability compared to conventional desktop technology. Two experiments were carried out in a between-groups methodological design that involved a total of 111 participants who completed a simulated shopping trip. In the first experiment a conventional desktop computer setup was used to create the VSS using mouse and keyboard for navigation. The second experiment used iVR11Immersive virtual reality. technology including a head-mounted display, body-tracking sensors, and hand-held motion-tracked controllers, which enabled navigation via body movement in a walk-around iVR environment. Participants purchased grocery items within each VSS22Virtual simulated store. environment, and post-hoc measures of perceived telepresence and usability ratings were compared. Results showed that participants in the iVR group experienced stronger feelings of immersion and perceived naturalness of interactions with the store environment compared to the desktop group. Both factors potentially lead to enhanced perceived telepresence. However, the visual realism of virtual products and the grasping interface for iVR control of product inspection could be further enhanced by advances in iVR technology. This study has implications for food marketing research as the use of immersive iVR can potentially lead to more naturalistic shopping behaviour in VSSs.