Case MUJI: Using VR in retail to achieve a deeper customer connection
Japanese retail company MUJI have harnessed virtual reality to achieve a deeper connection with their in-store customers, and the Varjo Aero enables crystal-clear communication of their core values.
Professional-grade VR in retail
Perched atop a shopping center directly in the center of urban Helsinki, it can be hard to imagine MUJI’s European flagship store as a calm space.
However, with warm wood paneling covering the walls and floors, constantly running essential oil diffusers, and a clean minimal aesthetic – very much at home in its Nordic location – MUJI expertly instills a peaceful atmosphere in-store.
Turning to nature
In November of 2021, MUJI decided to double down on efforts to communicate serenity to their customers by launching a virtual reality experience centered on nature.
As part of a physical in-store installation, customers can try on a Varjo Aero virtual reality headset while sitting on one of the store’s signature pine wood beds.
Created in collaboration with Finnish creative agency 20/20, the VR experience instantly transports participants to the heart of Finnish nature.
Filmed with a 360° camera, users open their eyes to an idyllic lakeside vista captured in the Nuuksio National Park located a short distance Northwest of Helsinki city.
As the daylight shifts, a group of people emerge from the surrounding trees and step into the lake, just far away enough to avoid breaking the thick sense of tranquility but close enough to share their enjoyment of the stunning nature.
Varjo Aero’s wide color gamut and vivid mini-LED displays convey the deep greens of the foliage, and the warm tones of the campfire lit by the visitors, in a way that VR hardware simply has not been able to achieve before.
MUJI’s name is derived from ‘Mujirushi Ryohin’, which can be translated as ‘no-brand quality goods.’ This philosophy forms the backbone of MUJI’s policy to deliver sustainable and affordable quality through simplicity.
The innovative VR experience gives customers a new understanding of the simple nature of the pinewood bed on which they are sitting. All whilst communicating the invaluable sense of calm that simple, sustainable, high-quality products can introduce into a customer’s hectic life.
“Through virtual reality we would like to get closer to our customers. We believe it will create a new form of relationship.”
Miho Takagi - Managing Director at Muji Finland
Adding immersion to the customer experience
Managing director of MUJI Finland, Miho Takagi, arrived in Finland in June 2020 and quickly made it her mission to convey the benefits, beyond the affordability, of MUJI to local customers.
“Currently virtual reality is often being considered for use in e-commerce in the marketing areas, but MUJI doesn’t think that way. We think of how we can get closer to our customers and offer them a journey through Muji’s philosophical world”
– Miho Takagi, Managing Director, MUJI Finland
The future of virtual reality in physical retail
The Varjo Aero implementation in the MUJI store was an exclusive early-access installation, but the headset is now available for order to both businesses and individuals alike.
“As Varjo Aero becomes commercially available, we are thrilled to see the journeys that brands will take their customers on, and the stories they will share, with a device that makes mass deployment of professional-grade VR a reality.”
– Jussi Mäkinen, Chief Brand Officer, Varjo
Watch the accompanying film to hear the interview conducted with Miho Takagi on Muji’s pioneering retail VR experience and view extracts from the 360 footage.
To learn more about the Varjo Aero, and how it provides a generational leap in visual fidelity for virtual reality experiences, head this way.
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