Virtual reality (VR) isn’t just a wonderful way to play a videogame or experience an exotic locale – it can be great way to boost your marketing efforts. You may not put VR and marketing together immediately, but, they are in fact, a great combination. Why is this? VR and augmented reality (AR) apps are becoming cheaper to create and more widely available to consumers through products like Google Cardboard.
VR had gone through a lot of growth in the last few years. VR hardware and software is getting cheaper to develop and consumers are more willing to participate in the technology than ever before. By some estimates, the VR market could be worth the equivalent of $40 Billion (USD) by 2020. There’s already tremendous growth this year, with Statista projecting that the market’s worth will double that of last year’s $6 Billion figure.
It’s arguable that the emergence of related technologies, such as AR, and mixed reality (MR), have furthered the VR market’s growth. Apps like Pokémon GO have allowed consumers, who may not necessarily be early adopters of technology, a sneak peek of what immersive technology can do. Now, more than ever, software engineers, VR developers, and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to tap into this market.
How can you use technologies like VR to attract more customers? You don’t need to be a software development firm in order to use VR to your advantage. In fact, you don’t need to be very tech literate at all. You simply need to be open to using the technology, willing to study case studies of successful implementation, and ready to experiment. Let’s first look at some of the innovative uses of VR, outside of entertainment. Some of the best examples of innovative uses of VR can be seen in storytelling and journalism. The example of VR app created and curated by The New York Times is probably the best example of attracting new readers through exploring new technologies like VR.
The New York Times debuted its VR platform, NYTVR, to tell its stories in entirely new ways. The result is a far more engaging news story that elicits visceral reactions from viewers. Instead of simply reading an excerpt about Ethiopia’s shifting landscape, The National’s newest tour, or reading about the journey of a deaf music scholar, you can experience it yourself through their VR app. This was an ingenious way to reinvigorate their brand, redefine how we interact with news stories, and revolutionize how journalism is understood.
You don’t have to redefine the boundaries of journalism to attract new customers with VR apps, however. You can follow the example of companies like IKEA, Wayfair, and Sephora. These companies made AR apps that allowed customers to interact with their products in wholly new ways. With the IKEA and Wayfair apps, customers are able to place furniture in their own spaces. Similarly, with the Sephora app, users can test out makeup products virtually through the use of AR. In all of these apps, customers are able to connect and interact with these companies in entirely new ways.
Even if your company doesn’t have the budget to create its own AR or VR app, you may want to consider integrating these technologies when interacting with customers. If you are a design company, for example, you might want to use a popular AR app like Surreal, which allows you to place 3D objects in designated spaces, when interacting with potential customers.
Experimenting with VR, while expensive, could help you attract more customers to your company. While it may seem intimidating at first, it’s important to keep in mind that your marketing campaigns really can be enhanced through the use of VR. Be open to using the technology, study success stories of companies integrating VR and AR, like IKEA, Sephora, and even news organizations like The New York Times. With a bit of research, experimentation, and a great deal of determination, you could integrate VR into your business as well.