Author: Aleksey Andreychenko
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People believe virtual reality belongs only to the entertainment industry and centers only on games. No longer. More and more, large companies all over the world use VR marketing. Apart from the obvious motive to keep pace with trending technologies, virtual reality app development for businesses provides competitive advantages to brands: full immersion into content, making a memorable impact, a deeper emotional contact, and more.
Marketing professionals have long been aware of the powerful impact VR-based promotions can have. Many world-renown brands have already adopted Virtual Reality in Marketing to reach their business goals.
Businesses have not yet fully adopted to the idea of running VR marketing campaigns. However, global brands successfully use this strategy for attracting customers, advertising, and branding. Among them are Chicago Baptiste & Bottle Restaurant, TopShop fashion show, and others. Read more case studies in this article.
What are best practices using VR in Marketing?
Companies using Virtual Reality for marketing confirm that integrating VR technologies with their digital strategy increases product awareness. And with product awareness, sales increase.
For example: Marriott Hotels, the internationally well-known provider of hotel services, is a frontrunner in encouraging technological changes in the travel and tourism industry. The world-famous hotel created a special 4D tourism experience together with Framestore VR Studio and Relevant. They “teleport” their customers to different Marriott Hotels located all around the world.
TOMS Shoes emphasizes its “make the world a better place” approach with its branding message. The company mixes both virtual reality and marketing to spread its message. This is how TOMS does it: when visiting TOMS Shoes US stores, people can use a special “VR” chair to virtually see the company’s donation activities in Central America with every new sale.
Observing 2019 Virtual Reality Marketing Trends in Different Industries:
VR marketing in real estate
As with many industries, real estate has overwhelmingly changed due to technological advancement. Searching endless lists of properties for sale or rent hoping to find something relevant is a time-consuming, tedious endeavor. VR real estate mobile apps help shorten search time. Today, customers can leverage mobile apps and virtual reality to take a virtual tour of home listings and decide whether they want to visit the premises or just keep searching.
The value of virtual reality helps real-estate professionals grow their businesses by delivering top-class services to their clients. Since most customers first look for properties on the Web, it’s particularly important to get a grip on VR technologies quickly.
Learn some virtual reality in marketing examples that can help to strengthen your business:
Matterport’s CoreVR App
Matterport’s CoreVR app enables real-estate agents to create virtual tours and facilitates reaching out to potential clients with promo videos using VR technologies (virtual or 360°). It also lets users take interactive visits to specific properties. You can access an in-app library with 150+ VR spaces or download 3D info from the official Mattersport website. There are numerous categories; real estate is just one of them. Specialists worldwide can become creators and publish their VR content.
Stambol VR App
Stambol VR App provides users with photo-realistic visualizations of building exteriors and interiors. Real-estate sellers, agents, and architects can use it as a worthwhile tool for increasing sales and customer loyalty. A VR marketing experience helps buyers see houses inside and out even before they are built. Virtual models look realistic. They can be seen from different sides. While trying out the app, users navigate models in three dimensions.
Open House VR App
Open House VR showcases 3D tours of homes for sale. Open House is convenient both for estate agents and buyers, since it does not require WiFi when taking VR tours. Interested parties can see properties in 360-degree mode. One drawback of the app: there is no possibility to walk through virtual environments. You must stand in one place and ‘jump’ from room to room.
Blue Bay Curaçao VR Real Estate App
Blue Bay Curaçao VR Real Estate focuses on golf & beach resort businesses. It shows potential customers all the facilities they can enjoy while booking apartments in the hotel. These include 3D models of seaside, recreation area, and golf course, hotel vistas with buildings, room interiors and views from hotel windows. Using this Virtual Reality marketing solution, people can get acquainted with a place as if they have actually visited it. Real estate agents, travel agents and tourist business owners: they can all use virtual reality.
VR marketing in retail
Big retailers have taken advantage of the great opportunity VR provides for their businesses. Retailers create huge virtual showrooms with similar—or less—space than their brick-and-mortar stores. Visualization of shelf assortment and ease of finding and comparing different products make VR an indispensable tool for purchasing.
For instance, Lowe’s, the home improvement chain, applies a head-mounted VR display for a virtual journey into the world of kitchens and/or baths. This app turns shopping into a pleasure. It also provides a clear picture of how various products would look when put into a room.
The famous Chinese company, Alibaba, makes it easy for its clients to buy products via specific VR headsets.
Immersing into 360° shopping, customers can review available products in the minutest details. They can also view clothes together with accessories shown on virtual models.
Mastercard and Swarovski VR Shopping app
Mastercard and Swarovski launched a shopping app focused on selling decorative crystals (home décor line). The application puts users into a luxurious interior where the items are exhibited on chairs or shelves. Users can browse the items, study them in detail and purchase them using Masterpass without leaving the virtual tour.
VR Whisky Cocktail
Chicago Baptiste & Bottle Restaurant, in collaboration with the Macallan, first launched VR cocktail “The Macallan Rare Journey” in the US. They turned drinking into a performance. Restaurant visitors were first offered a real alcohol drink and watch the Macallan’s production virtually. A barman served the glasses in a decorative box, mixed the cocktail, and talked about distillation and other production details. Then visitors explored the process through an Oculus headset.
TopShop – Catwalk Experience VR
Fashion retailer, TopShop, offered customers a VR visit to London Fashion Week in its central London store. Using VR Oculus devices and 360-degree panoramic video stream, people watched the fashion show along with both celebrities and distinguished guests. As a bonus, users could get photos. When they tried the VR app, photographers took photos of their reactions in real space. This experiment drew huge media and public attention.n served the glasses in a decorative box, mixed the cocktail, and talked about distillation and other production details. Then visitors explored the process through an Oculus headset.
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VR Marketing in Tourism
VR Marketing in Tourism is one of today’s greatest innovations that fits the travel and tourism market to a tee by focusing on feelings, perception, and visual enjoyment of selected destinations. It makes it possible for people to experience travels to far-away destinations without leaving their homes.
Google Earth VR app
Initially, Google Earth was designed to explore places on our planet. Virtual Reality enhanced the app with detailed visualization and helped users become an integral part of the selected scene and to admire breathtaking views of any place in the world from anywhere they choose. Imagine standing on a Tokyo street or flying over the city. Visit the Eiffel Tower or Grand Canyon. Switch between day and night at will and experience the world’s natural wonders right in front of your eyes.
WoofbertVR (also known as Boulevard) is a VR museum tour launched by the Boulevard company. It is free to download. VR travelers feel like they are on a real excursion. They can look around, walk through the location in all directions observe the exposition in detail. A virtual navigator also gives textual information for a better understanding of the history and inherent value of masterpieces and artifacts exhibited. There are also short audio tours. The app lets you visit a few museums and cultural sites in the USA and England—virtually. The founders are negotiating with museums worldwide to enrich their VR collection.
YouVisit VR app
YouVisit app is not just a VR marketing app—it is considered one of the best apps for virtual reality tours ever. The app provides new ways to visit different buildings—homes, hotels, colleges—and even attend popular events. It allows watching how astronauts prepare their space journeys in NASA’s lab. You can also take virtual helicopter rides. To do this, put your cell phone in a Daydream headset.
Future of VR in marketing
According to stats 2019, 78% of Americans are aware of Virtual Reality technology. Awareness has almost doubled since 2015 (a mere 4 years ago) and increases daily. As well as the number of active VR users, the international AR and VR market is forecast to increase to $209.2 billion in 2022. It is predicted VR growth will leave TV in the dust in the 2020s.
The VR marketing experience implies tight interactions between consumers and businesses while remaining a customer-centric activity. Little wonder marketing experts constantly strive to discover new opportunities to incorporate VR solutions in their strategies.
How Does Virtual Reality Affect Marketing?
By 2025, Google anticipates market availability of brain implants. A direct connection between the brain and central nervous system is available now. To date, technologies of direct information transfer to the nerve endings have not yet been developed to a sophisticated-enough level. Plus, they are still extremely expensive. Currently, such technologies are used predominantly in medical or military industries—focusing on being able to consciously operate artificial limbs by means of neural impulses.
However, according to Google research, in less than 10 years, VR will become an integral part of available tools able to project images directly to the retina of the eye. A slight nod or eye movement can act as a click or scroll.