Immersive Retail 


John Lewis





The Challenge

The evolution of digital technology and e-commerce has allowed consumers not only to make transactions from the comfort of their homes but also to browse, examine and in some cases modify the goods they are interested in. One of the major drawbacks of the digital retail experience however is the loss of the benefits associated with the "in-store experience" where users can get a far greater sense of the product's look and feel, detailed features, scale and its general physical context.

More expensive and larger items such as furnishings, flooring and wall hangings therefore usually require the consumer to travel to a physical shop to assess potential purchases. In these instances product purchases are infrequent, highly considered and returns are expensive to process

Virtual and Augmented Reality however have great potential to bridge the gap between the online and in-store experience and can help users make more informed decisions about which products are the most appropriate for them through the detailed visualization & contextualization of those items.

The enhanced shopping experience for larger, more expensive items, could therefore take place in the home using such technology, or be used in store to help the customer to better visualise large store items in the context of their homes. Such enhanced interaction could take place at the micro-level of individual product detail through to the product's placement in a particular space.

The aim of this challenge therefore is to create a Virtual or Augmented Reality platform, tool or service which enriches the consumer e-retail experience, inspires creative choices and helps reduce the amount of returns and customer error in their decision making.

A successful solution should:

  • Allow users to interact with items in an immersive environment which captures the advantages of the in-store experience and combines it with the power of digital technology
  • Stimulate consumers' imaginations and give them more detailed information than was previously possible
  • Have the capability to offer a retail solution which might be applicable in multiple retail contexts

Applicants need not limit themselves to:

  • A particular device or HMD; applicant can develop a solution for the device which best answers the challenge
  • A "home" solutions; applicants could also propose on-site solutions 


The winning applicant will trial their technology with John Lewis, having access to some of their IP, customers and physical spaces. 


Awards: 5 x £35,000

Contest Brief

Guidance for Applicants

Deadline: Noon, Tuesday 21st August