Hearing “Virtual Reality” instantly brings back memories of those ’80s and ’90s sci-fi movies and video games that made people wish it was the year 2049. While we’re still a ways off from then, Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are not. In fact, businesses are already putting AR/VR to use.
In addition to being a powerful tool for business, VR/AR has also become mainstream. With the introduction of consumer-friendly headsets, VR/AR-ready devices are becoming more readily available. AR and VR aren’t just some new futuristic technology, they’re here now and ready to take over.
How can you use VR/AR in a way that makes sense for your business? Here are just a few of the many ways.
Enhancing Entertainment Experiences
Just about any process that can be carried out in the physical world can be simulated in VR. This means you can use VR for experiential events, training purposes, promoting tourism, or just about any other situation.
Virtual simulations have been used in training applications by doctors and surgeons, pilots and train engineers, and in virtual classrooms. VR can bridge the gap between present and future environments by using more portable and affordable equipment.
Snapchat has played an essential role in spreading access to AR to brands and consumers. Users can experiment with their appearances by applying filters or even creating their own. Additionally, advertisers can now create their own AR ad to promote on Snapchat. This creates an entirely new level of advertising, where car companies can allow users to view a 3D version of their car in their own environment or open a new box of shoes from under the Christmas tree.
Duration of Stay
Pokémon Go was such a social media phenomenon when the app first came out that many physical businesses witnessed a surge in sales. If you aren’t familiar with how Pokémon Go works, it’s described as “an augmented reality mobile game developed for iOS and Android devices.” Within the game, there are “PokéStops” which are virtual spots in physical locations. Most PokéStops are stationed at public gathering places like parks and public art, as well as restaurants and corner stores. Players go these stops to collect items but could also make purchases at the physical location while initially stopping for the virtual experience.
This is just one of many examples to help customers stay at your business, it doesn’t have to be a video game.
Try Before You Buy
Now that just about everyone shops online, most consumers would probably like to experience a product before they purchase it. For companies that manufacture and sell products, VR helps to promote these products in an entirely new way.
Whether a customer wants to try out a new car or try on a new outfit, they can do so with VR. Rather than visit a physical showroom, they can try these things from the comfort of their own home. For example, according to the Lowe’s website, “In select U.S. markets, Lowe’s Home Improvement customers can design their perfect bathroom or kitchen and then, using VR, walk into the finished space and experience it — as a test drive.” Travel agencies can let customers experience a vacation in several locations before booking their dream holiday.
VR for Marketing and Sales
When it comes to complex products and solutions, immersive experiences can help to better understand rather than conventional experiences, like presentations. A recent report by Sirius Decisions said that B2B salespeople’s top challenge is, “their inability to communicate value differentiation.” Closing business can be better achieved by giving customers access to immersive platforms to learn about the product or solution.
For example, “at Cisco Live in June 2017, Dell EMC used a VR application for its enterprise prospects and customers. The application, created by Kaon Interactive, a provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands addressed a complex concept – how data centers are becoming more and more integrated to support the growth requirements of highly scalable applications and data repositories. This application uses VR to immerse the user inside the data center and look at how data flows using the cloud. End-user customers and prospects visualized their own IT transformation with converged and hyper-converged solutions, and thereby resulted in a deeper understanding of the company’s differentiated value propositions.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that virtual reality and augmented reality are here to stay. With the endless amount of applications, businesses and consumers are getting used to these technologies.
As time goes on, VR and AR technologies will only get better and companies will have more opportunities to thrive in the virtual and augmented world. These immersive applications can transform the connection between business and consumer, delivering ever-evolving engagement and experiences.
Have you experienced AR or VR marketing messages? Did they influence your purchase decisions? What was the most compelling AR or VR experience you’ve had?