Using sound to enhance a virtual retail experience

Digital retail, by its nature, means many of the senses we use to assess how much we like something can’t come into play. Being able to touch an item of clothing, for instance, instantly tells us a lot about how comfortable, soft, or premium it is.

Until the invention of smell-o-vision, the only senses we can stimulate digitally are sight, and sound.

So, can we use sound to trigger a sense of touch? Research has shown that “imagining touching something sparks the same part of the brain as actually touching it”.

We added real material sounds to a virtual reality clothing experience, where a screen shows you trying on different jackets. As participants in our study stood in front of the screen, they not only saw themselves wearing the different jackets, they also heard the material as they moved.

When the sound was present:

People spent 40% longer trying on jackets.

When asked how much they would pay, answers were an average 35% higher.

The sound of touch triggered the same emotions as actual touch. Helping people evaluate and rate the products better.