Building the perfect supermarket or shopping center can be quite the challenge.

Many teams from different disciplines (ranging from architects to data crunchers to construction workers) are involved in the process, and communication between these groups is crucial to pinpointing the best possible layout for the building and its inner workings.

Now, virtual reality is bringing this process to the future. Retailers can quickly understand how to design and construct these buildings faster than ever before thanks to realistic VR simulations, and the best layout for end-users can be designed far in advance.

The simple truth is that VR is no longer just about entertainment. It’s going to change everything we know about constructing the greatest sales environments ever built — stores and supermarkets. Let’s find out how.

Enhancing Design and Construction of Stores and Supermarkets


The AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry is always looking to the future.

That’s why a recent survey performed by ARC Document Solutions on emerging technologies revealed that 65.3 percent of respondents said virtual reality would be the next big tech trend in the AEC industry.

When work is in progress on a construction site, it can be nearly impossible to walk clients through and provide them with an idea of the finished product. So, architects have had to rely on pencil and paper, physical models, and more recently, simple digital tools to convey progress.

But now, architects and construction teams alike have access to software that allows them to make 3D models to be viewed in the VR environment. All a retailer needs to do is pull on a Gear VR or Oculus Rift headset to see what their supermarket or store will be like upon completion.

Because VR allows for real-time changes to design, a retailer can navigate any building project and alter (or even create) custom models of shelving, promotional displays, and store layouts. Users can better understand the distances between future customers and their surroundings.

Instead of making costly, time-consuming changes once construction is underway, VR allows for errors and design problems to be detected and corrected before construction ever begins. That way, stores can be optimized for their target customers.

For instance, VR can help a grocer understand the best place to put frozen goods in relation to dairy products. A department store manager can pinpoint the best distance between electronics and automotive. An inventory manager can determine how to create the most efficient shipping and receiving area.

VR allows anyone to step inside of a full-scale 3D virtual environment and interact with the design just like they would in the real world. This means owners, stakeholders, employees, and end-users will have a better understanding of the space and what it will look like when it’s finished.

Perfecting the Relationship Between Customer and Environment


Ever since the idea of the market first came into existence, sellers have tried all sorts of ways to increase their sales and plan the perfect storefront.  

Now, with VR, they can finally get it just right.

A new report by shopping center operator Westfield found that 41 percent of UK shoppers are interested in using VR headsets to experience products or services. A third of those surveyed would like stores to appeal to their senses of sound, smell, taste, sight, and touch.

The report also showed that it is now increasingly important to manipulate these aspects of physical stores to differentiate them from online shopping environments.

Because VR allows stores to collect large amounts of data on consumer behavior, brands will be able to incorporate the choices of consumers in the VR environment into the physical world.

“We’re so heavily connected to all of our digital devices on a daily basis that we’re seeing a real shift in consumers towards wanting and demanding a much stronger sensory experience within a physical environment,” said Myf Ryan, CMO at Westfield UK and Europe. “It’s about creating an immersive and escapist type of environment that physical retail can own in a way digital never can.”

VR provides retailers with new ideas they can implement for better shopping experiences for their customers. It’s easy to see how these improved storefronts could lead to more efficiency and higher sales overall.

New Objectives for VR in Shopping Centers and Supermarkets

  • Retailers can determine the best shopping basket size by measuring physics-based models of items in the supermarkets in relation to shopping baskets.
  • Retailers can master the perfect layout for aisles and navigation by taking virtual tours to help them understand the shopping experience of future customers.
  • Shoppers can use VR to know ahead of time what kinds of experiences they will have with products before ever making their purchases.
  • Real-time location tracking of items with radio-frequency identification (RFID) enables brands to see the rates at which products are selling in different store locations. Retailers can then adjust stock distribution in real time to better meet the needs of their shop’s particular customer base.

The Future of Shopping Center Construction

Technology doesn’t just advance in one place at a time. Every aspect of our world is moving forward as one.

So as VR becomes available to all areas of industry, we’re sure to see buildings rising faster and sales growing higher than ever before. Shopping centers and supermarkets will see these benefits in the coming years in ways we can barely imagine today.

If you want to learn more about how VR can help the design and construction process of your store, contact RenderThat today.