Why would anyone limit the possibilities of virtual reality? Now that VR technology has become a viable solution for a wide audience, there are companies that are asking for a way to restrict usage of these devices.

Kiosk mode is a ‘secret’ within the virtual reality industry that companies such as Oculus rather not mention. Fortunately some smart software and a little bit of technical know-how opens the door for retailers to use a VR headset in a completely new way. Let’s explore why Kiosk Mode is such a great tool for retail.

More possibilities by adding limitations

Kiosk mode is not new, it’s often used to turn a standard PC or laptop into an interactive display that customers can use without additional assistance. It’s a way to set boundaries, for instance a restaurant menu that allows customers to make a selection without the assistance of a waiter. In VR this feature is great because it can be difficult to guide someone through the software while wearing a headset.

Companies like Oculus and HTC seem to focus on the end user, and forget the retail market. By hacking the software you can use Kiosk mode on a VR headset such as the Oculus Go, although it takes some technical expertise for a proper setup. Competitor Pico offers Kiosk mode as a standard feature, although it still requires some additional set-up.

But why use Kiosk mode for VR apps? Here are three advantages for the retail sector:

Self serve stations for VR

Allowing the customer to scan items, choose products from a menu or use a self-checkout saves precious time and money. Not only that, you provide your customers with more agency.

The customer feels in charge which makes it much easier to sell a product or service. Just place an attractive kiosk mode for 360 video in a store equipped with VR headsets (and a security system) and let customers explore the selection by themselves. After the presentation has completed the salesperson can step in and work their magic.

Watch high definition video offline

It’s easy to watch any video in streaming format nowadays. Both WiFi, 4G en 5G offer plenty of speed for an uninterrupted 4K HD viewing experience. At least in theory, in a crowded store or another venue where the wireless connection is not completely reliable, streaming video is not always the best solution.

For a Kiosk presentation it’s better to save the content to the device beforehand, this eliminates buffering glitches or additional wireless transfer costs. Modern VR headsets can display 4K resolution for a crystal clear presentation.

Limit the choices

A store can be overwhelming, there are just too many impressions to take in all information at once. This could result in lost sales, customers are unable to make a purchase decision due to an overload of stimulation. The VR space offers a controlled environment where audio and video is presented to each and every individual. By limiting the options while still providing the user with some interactive options you can guide each individual customer to a successful conversion.