Coming to a dentist in one of the US dental clinics, the patient first thing … puts on virtual reality glasses to calm down. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? But it was this marketing move that allowed the clinic to increase the demand for dental services threefold. In addition, doctors note that after walking in the virtual garden or observing the sea surf, clients’ stress tolerance has increased, which has led to time savings for the doctors.
According to data from 2018 from analysts Citi GPS, investment in virtual reality reached almost 7 billion US dollars. At the same time, the entertainment sphere is still leading, while VR-technologies for marketing take second place. Millions of dollars today, companies are ready to invest in technologies that promote the development of the brand, attract new customers and make it possible to stand out against the competition.
Technology, in addition to the standard set of marketing tools, companies today use to unusually demonstrate the company’s products and services, to train employees to work with customers and objections, to establish internal communication processes, as well as in direct sales.
Virtual Reality for Business: Already Actual?
Today, business is still wary of technology-based and fairly expensive solutions, but infectious examples of competitors associated with increased sales or increased market awareness are pushing companies to show increasing interest in VR / AR. In most cases, augmented reality technologies are used more often in marketing than VR technologies. This is due to the availability of AR: which solvent buyer of goods or services today does not have the simplest smartphone for playing AR content? And yet this way of presenting information is accessible, fascinating and very interesting.
VR technologies have not yet managed to conquer the B2C market, but there is a tendency for this: VR developers today place great hopes on Chinese consumers. Users showed great interest in high-tech innovations back in 2016, when Alibaba’s e-commerce platform broke all sales records, allowing its users to virtually visit major stores like Macy’s in New York. The company sold 150 thousand sets of virtual reality headsets (like Google Cardboard) worth 1 yuan. Since then, the demand for VR helmets for personal use has been growing rapidly and some experts believe that VR glasses will replace smartphones by the end of 2010. So, according to Bloomberg, the Chinese B2C VR market will grow to $ 8.5 billion by 2020.
Today, for marketing purposes, VR companies usually spend on-site: in sales offices, in bank branches, or at company stands in forums and conferences. Usually large companies use VR technologies in marketing for virtual tours and presentations of goods and services. Presenting an office, conducting a tour of remote production, attracting potential partners, telling customers about new products and services of the company, as well as clearly demonstrating the advantages of a facility under construction – all this allows VR. At the same time, involvement when watching VR is ten times higher than the level of interest when watching a regular video. Thus, the memory of new information due to the use of immersive technology can reach 75%, and when viewing a regular commercial, a person remembers no more than 20% of the new information. This property of human exposure has learned to use companies offering their customers complex services and equipment, new products for the market, or companies whose services and goods cannot be touched and viewed here and now due to a number of conditions.
Russian companies are already using VR to attract customers
Alfa-Bank tells its customers about the principle of operation of the complex blockchain technology in VR: such information is easily perceived due to its visibility, and is well assimilated due to immersion.
Dispel the doubts of the buyer and answer the most frequently asked questions can be particularly difficult for developers and developers who can not show the real estate investors to their new apartment, to demonstrate the layout and quality of finishing because sales often begin at the design stage of LCD or at the stage of excavation.
“And will there be enough space for us in this apartment, what can be put into the kitchen of this area or what will be visible from my window?” – questions that concern potential home buyers and often remain unanswered because of the inability to show an apartment. In such cases, construction companies and developers resort to using the possibilities of virtual reality in sales offices and establish trusting relationships with the client. The opportunity to open the door of your new apartment, look into all the rooms, look out the window and visualize the assumptions about planning, as a rule, inspires a person with confidence in the developer and brings them closer to the decision to purchase. This statement is based on scientific research. According to a VRARA survey, in Russia, 45.2% of 100% of homebuyers noted that a virtual walk definitely helped make a decision about buying an apartment and make a choice in favor of a company that introduced VR technology.
VR-tour of the newly built apartments Modum Lab created for potential buyers GK “Pioneer”. This approach allowed the company to increase sales at the stage of excavation and clearly demonstrate to potential home buyers all the advantages of a small area.
VR tourism is useful for real travel
VR properties to answer frequently asked questions, intrigue, surprise and “move” to new places are also effectively used in the tourist segment: hotels, tour operators, museums, air carriers offer their customers to go on an exciting journey in virtual reality, after which there is a desire to see everything this diversity with my own eyes.
A hotel in the UAE offers potential customers to evaluate the degree of comfort and hospitality without the need for a real visit or reading hundreds of reviews. Looking at a video in a 360-video format on a computer, without leaving the apartment, a person can feel like a guest of a luxurious room, can lie on a huge bed or even swim in a virtual pool.
VR will tell about the global problem
Non-profit, charitable and public organizations are also actively using the possibilities of virtual reality, because attracting people’s attention to the problem and encouraging them to act, for example, in distant Africa, you can only really hurt people’s feelings. 360-video clips are a great way to influence the feelings of the audience and show what happens in the first person.
One successful example is video 360, whose goal was to raise funds for needy Syrian refugees. The narration is conducted on behalf of a 12-year-old girl, due to which the viewer gets the opportunity to look at the camp through the eyes of a child and projects what is happening to him.
This video helped the UN to raise $ 3.8 billion, which had never happened before. According to the UN, 1/6 from all viewers who watched the video donated funds after viewing (against the usual 1/12). The average donation amount also increased by 18%.
Examples of successful application of VR technology are also sufficient. And here is one of them.
Key Technology at one of the thematic exhibitions, the developer of food processing systems and their packaging, attracted new partners from the B2B sector thanks to a virtual demonstration of their food packaging technology.
A strong impact on the feelings and control of emotions due to complete immersion in the situation and space is a property of VR, which opens up completely new opportunities for companies to communicate with customers and influence them.
Augmented Reality in Business
Despite the presence of many successful examples of the use of VR for marketing purposes, most companies operating in the B2C sector today choose AR. Augmented reality, unlike virtual reality, only complements space with a virtual layer. In this case, the user does not break away from the real world, but sees additional data on his portable electronic device or in AR glasses.
At the same time, the technology available today to everyone introduces the buyer to the characteristics of the goods, allows to consider important details in a three-dimensional format, and also – entertains and attracts attention.
This format of impact on the target audience today is chosen by hundreds of companies around the world. Perhaps one of the most famous and useful for buyers of applications with AR was the IKEA application, which complements the real apartment with new virtual interior items.
By means of three-dimensional animation in augmented reality, Gazpromneft-SM customers get a visual representation of the characteristics of motor oil.
The fundamental concept of digital marketing in all large successful companies offering customers any products or services today is customer-centric. Without this condition, the company will not be able to maintain the interest of the target audience, to compete and expand. That is why it is important to choose an approach that is both useful and exciting, memorable, interesting and digital to work with a modern audience. All these conditions today meet the technology of virtual and augmented reality.
Experts confirm the effectiveness of VR
Researchers from the National University of Taiwan. Sun Yatsen believes that virtual reality is today the most relevant tool for working with generation Y, because it corresponds to the spirit of the times and covers the need of people to use technological solutions.
At the same time, virtual reality technology today is still not an independent tool and for the benefit of the company it will most likely work only in conjunction with a standard set of marketing tricks: targeted and outdoor advertising, SMM, TV advertising, ads, etc. In addition, Before making a decision on the introduction of VR technologies, a company should clearly define its objectives, which can be achieved through the introduction of a product, study examples of working with the tool among competitors in the market.
At the moment, digital marketing continues to grow rapidly and is in increasing demand among large and medium-sized businesses, as well as among clients of companies. Virtual reality technologies are not only able to seriously transform the usual presentation of marketing, but they are doing it right now, before our eyes, and very successfully. Surprise, wow-effect from the use of technology, awaken the curiosity of users and the desire to try a thing or service in real life. Vivid emotions cause the need to repeat the positive experience and motivate the client to purchase the desired product. After all, the statement “first try, and only then pay” is the same simple truth for all of us, such as “measure seven times, cut once”.
The material was prepared exclusively for VRcue by Modum Lab and the developers of Teslasuit.