H&R Block was highlighted this week in a report on CNBC for their unique use of Oculus Rift headsets to test virtual mock-ups of potential retail office environments for several city expansions.
H&R Block sees about 13 million people a year in its retail offices and is hoping that instead of building a physical representation of a new office to test in a focus group, creating a virtual reality retail office will help save the company money and optimize research efforts.
The video segment shows a room in Los Angeles last week where a few women put on an Oculus headset and experience what this new office might look like. The women who are part of this paid research group were greeted by a couple of employees who helped them through a mock tax preparation session. After the VR research session completed, participants are then taken to a separate room to answer questions about how the experience and new office changes felt to them.
Although this latest virtual reality experience from H&R Block is for market research purposes only, it would be interesting to see what physical changes may come of it or whether the user experience can be elevated into a virtual customer support tool in the future.
The project was created for H&R Block by Lieberman Research Worldwide, which is charging in the “low six figures,” according to the segment. This could be a dramatic decrease in costs when the company was once spending close to $100,000 for a headset, tracking cameras, and software to create a VR experience before Oculus’ existence.
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