How Virtual Prototyping Went from Necessity to a Key Advantage
The pandemic helped bring the “future of retail marketing” to the here and now
The past 12+ months have created challenges and obstacles for businesses across the world but, no doubt, opportunities as well. At Niven, we learned quickly that a new model borne of necessity could keep our clients’ businesses thriving—virtual prototyping.
In the past, we relied heavily on client visits to show new concepts and designs because, naturally, it was a hands-on experience. But when travel came to a halt, we started thinking of ways to keep the experience alive. At Niven, the creativity of our retail display designs and the extreme high-quality of our builds set us apart. How do we convey both, virtually?
High-quality tech for a high-quality customer experience
The first step was to acquire state-of-the-art cameras, lighting and equipment to take our in-house studio to the next level. While there’s no replicating an in-person experience, high-quality imagery can reveal details even the naked eye can miss. When it came time to meet virtually and show our clients the work, our team worked together to construct a controlled narrative and cadence to avoid the common pitfalls of virtual meetings. Providing dozens of shots of every angle and weaving together a curated narrative of our work proved to be an intimate experience of its own. But that’s not the only advantage we found in virtual prototyping.
Execution efficiencies level-up product impact
Virtual prototyping is a great way to move projects ahead, faster. Without the extra time dedicated to travel we can make adjustments on the fly, immediately, following any client feedback. Our presentations are often taking place in the studio—so as soon as we leave the call, we can get to work and get a new prototype ready for review faster than ever before. Quick turnaround, combined with tools like our saturation mapping, results in getting products in-market faster and more efficiently, with greater impact.
Virtual settings can lead to more honest feedback
Another, unexpected benefit of virtual prototyping has been a new level of transparency and feedback. Not everyone is naturally comfortable with pressurized, in-person presentations. Going virtual means that some people will freely speak their minds who might not have before. The result is that we often receive more well-rounded feedback and insights that might have taken days after the meeting to materialize, if at all. We’ve found this results in happier clients and stronger designs.
No doubt, we will return to in-person presentations—after all, touch and feel can be vital to a successful display, and spending time physically with our clients strengthens the bond and often comes with unexpected benefits, like the side conversations that result in a quick brainstorm. However, virtual prototyping has proven to be a tremendous benefit to our clients and will continue to be a big part of the Niven experience going forward.
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