The virtual production team at (add)venturs hard at work.

Virtual production: The future of retail marketing and more

From content creation to store design and product placement, virtual production (VP) is redefining how retailers approach more than their marketing strategies. This highly innovative technology is helping retail executives and their teams tackle business challenges in creative new ways.

Using in-camera visual effects (ICVFX), precision camera tracking and Epic Games Unreal Engine software, we’re able to combine immersive, photorealistic environments with real world elements. The lines between virtual reality and reality converge, creating a seamless visual experience.

So how is the (add)ventures team helping retailers maximize their growth and revenue potential with a film technology typically reserved for Hollywood studio blockbusters? As one of the first VP studios in New England, we’ll share a few of our favorites so far. But knowing that the generative world of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are moving at a pace only rivaled by computer power, we’re confident that this is just the beginning.

3 ways virtual production benefits retail marketing

  • Creating the utopian retail environment
  • Rendering virtual stores for space planning
  • Generating photorealistic products

Creating the utopian retail environment

Beyond disrupting “business as usual” when filming on location in a retail store, there are countless variables that threaten shoot schedules and budgets. From outlet placement to safety protocols, lighting, logistics, merchandising hurdles and more, there will inevitably be details that must be dealt with on location or in post production.

For retailers and film crews, this has been a widely accepted industry standard and occupational hazard – until now. With VP, we’re able to create the utopian retail environment to showcase the store in the best possible light, both literally and figuratively.

Creativity, context, planning and storytelling drive the VP pre-production phase and fuel efficiency. So on shoot day, we’re already aligned and ready to capture exactly what we’ve envisioned, effortlessly.

If a client were to use the same utopian store that was already created, it’s economy of scale. Because the utopian retail environment would already be in our VP library, it makes subsequent film projects more efficient and economical.”

Visualizing virtual stores for space planning

VP relies on a virtual-art department to create the renderings that showcase the realistic environment. If a space doesn't exist, it can be built from scratch to provide retailers with visual walkthroughs of the store experience. The technology makes it possible to create and shoot table tops, exteriors, interiors and almost anything in the environment.

VP is a great tool to use when a retailer is trying to create a new footprint for their products or when their store is not yet constructed. It’s easy to create environments and bring the space to life even if it doesn’t exist in the physical world.

Beyond aesthetics, it allows for an immersive and strategic approach to the customer experience. This gives retailers more flexibility to better inform construction choices, product placement and fixture needs when making merchandising and floor plan decisions.

With many retailers creating immersive, hybrid virtual shopping experiences, in the near future, VP’s capabilities will evolve to provide virtual walkthrough experiences that will allow retailers and even customers to login to the virtual store environment from anywhere and take a walk around.

Generating photorealistic product placement

One of the more focused VP capabilities that retailers can benefit from is the ability to use photogrammetry for products. By scanning a specific product and creating a 3D replica of it in our VP library, it’s possible to enhance the lighting and product texture to create photorealistic visualizations for virtual product placement.

Retailers can streamline their marketing efforts by creating tailored virtual experiences for their target audiences, at a reduced cost, with less reliance on physical inventory and traditional photography. Enhancing product representation overall on all platforms will tell a more cohesive brand story. And better product representation should ideally translate to increased sales conversions.

But, the best benefit? Creating attention-grabbing video content that features products in realistic and immersive environments is not only possible with VP, but the creative possibilities are endless. Sure, we can put a product on a shelf in a store environment without leaving our studio, but we can also feature it on the moon without our own space station.