The owner of some of the UK’s leading shopping centres is piloting paid-for VR experiences in three of its best-known retail and leisure destinations before deciding whether to roll them out across the UK.
intu’s Lakeside (Kent), Braehead (Glasgow) and Merry Hill (near Birmingham) centres are offering a £5 VR experience allowing customers to interact with characters and worlds from the Emoji Movie. The content of the experience includes specially recorded lines from the movie’s lead actors including James Corden.
The centre owner will be tracking data to measure the success of the activity and assess shoppers’ propensity to pay for VR leisure experiences and the popularity of movie-related VR content.
intu ran its first complimentary virtual reality leisure pilot at intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham over December where customers were invited to step into a virtual winter wonderland and decorate a Christmas tree. Augmented reality was added to intu’s in-centre app over Easter to bring to life a number of Nick Jr. characters for young families visiting its centres over the school holidays.
Managing director of intu’s digital innovation Karen Harris said: “We are running a number of trials to look at the benefits of virtual reality and augmented reality in a modern shopping centre environment.”
“We think there is enormous potential for these types of leisure experiences to drive up footfall, dwell time and likelihood of revisiting a shopping destination. Data from this trial will be used to understand how we can continue to take this technology forward.”
intu runs 14 shopping centres across the UK with some of its best-known locations including the Trafford Centre, Lakeside and city centre sites in Watford and Newcastle. It also has a growing presence in Spain.