How Can Virtual Reality Help Businesses?
Several tech companies are due to release virtual reality (VR) headsets in 2016. Facebook-owned Oculus, for instance, will launch the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of next year, while HTC and Sony will release The Vive and PlayStation VR, respectively. Microsoft is also set to introduce its HoloLens (which it dubs as an “augmented reality” system), while Samsung has already sold several units of its Gear VR and will likely have more in stock in 2016.
Many of these VR headsets are geared towards those who love playing games as well as those who’d like to experience movies, photos, and other media in a new way. However, the potential of these new devices has left many marketers wondering: can they be used to promote businesses, too?
The answer seems to be “Yes”. In fact, many companies have tried using virtual reality to increase brand recognition and generate buzz about their products and services. So, if you’re a marketer or an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to take advantage of VR and harness its potential to boost conversions, brand awareness, and customer loyalty. Here are some of the ways that you can use virtual reality:
1. Give clients a tour
VR headsets can be highly useful if you’re in the travel industry. Through these devices, you can give prospective customers a tour around a certain destination and make see how it would be like to spend their vacation in this place. You can also use VR to tell them about the activities they can enjoy during their trip, such as mountain climbing, scuba diving, and hiking.
Virtual reality can also be greatly helpful if you’re in real estate. By using VR headsets, you can give home buyers a tour around a property that’s for sale — even if they live miles away and can’t physically visit the house. Through these tours, you’ll help people find the right house for them in a quick and hassle-free way, and you’ll close deals faster.
2. Enhance customers’ shopping experience
Online shopping became a big hit since it offered a kind of convenience that hadn’t been available before. Imagine: you can buy anything you want with just a few clicks, without ever having to leave your home or office!
Experts expect that virtual reality will have the same revolutionary effect. However, it won’t focus on convenience but rather on a storytelling experience that lets shoppers see how clothes, furniture, or homeware look in a real-life setting before they purchase it. One example is luxury home décor boutique The Apartment by The Line, which used VR to set up a virtual pop-up shop and show their pieces to prospective customers.
3. Take product testing to a whole new level
It’s hard for your customers to test a product if they’re on the other side of the globe or if your product is unwieldy and can’t be easily lugged around. Fortunately, you can find a way around this dilemma by using virtual reality. Lexus, for instance, gave this idea a try last year by using the Oculus Rift to let people test-drive its 2015 RC F Sports coupe.
Virtual reality is coming and will likely stay, so marketers and business owners need to embrace this technology and find a way to make the most of it.