Virtual Reality in Marketing – Why and how to use it

by Maximilian Claessens
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Virtual Reality in Marketing - Why and how to use it

Virtual Reality refers to a simulated experience using a three-dimensional computer generated system that immerses the user by emulating a realistic situation. Users will need to wear specialized hardware in the form of goggles, headphones, or gloves that allows them to interact and manipulate the objects in the virtual world. The simulation of the senses such as touch, hearing, smell, and vision transforms the user into the artificial world so that it is almost believed to be real. Applying virtual reality in marketing allows to leverage this simulation of the senses.

The developments in such technology mean that many brands are now introducing virtual reality to their marketing strategies to fulfill the demands of their customers. Keeping up with all of these advancements allows these brands to deliver the best experience that will surpass their customer’s expectations.

Below, we have created a virtual reality guide to inform you of the ways in which this technology can be used as part of a successful marketing strategy.

What Is The Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

As they sound similar, it is often easy to get confused between virtual reality and augmented reality, however, the concept of each differs slightly, and understanding the characteristics of each makes it easier to distinguish between them. While virtual reality is a fully immersive experience that makes users believe they have been transported to a different environment, augmented reality does not replace your vision, but instead adds to it. It does this by adding digital elements to your view and combining digital and physical world elements. It can easily be accessed on most technological devices such as phones, tablets, or headsets. In the following, we will focus on the applications of virtual reality in marketing.

Using Virtual Reality In Marketing

Incorporating virtual reality into their marketing strategy allows brands to provide a digital experience in placement of a physical experience and the use of this technology recognizes a change in the dynamic between brands and consumers. One of the most prominent reasons why this technology is used in marketing is because it allows consumers to try a product before purchasing it. There are several examples of brands that have done this to allow customers to try on their products and decide whether they like them before making the purchase. Aside from this, there will often be options that allow customers to personalize different elements of the product until they arrive at an outcome that they like. Nowadays shopping habits involve much more online purchasing and the use of this technology offers a unique, but memorable experience. The use of virtual reality also instills an interest from the customers towards the brand and because of this, they are more likely to become invested in the developments of their products. It also adds much more depth to the shopping experience as they are presented with more than just images and displays. Introducing virtual reality to their marketing strategy allows brands to form much more meaningful relationships with their customer base while keeping up with changing shopping trends.

Examples Of Virtual Reality Applications In Marketing

  • Audi Showrooms – Audi has enhanced their customers’ journey by offering an immersive VR experience. Customers who visit one of the dealerships’ showrooms can virtually see the inside of the car and take it for a test drive. This provides customers with a realistic view of the cars while also allowing them to envision any customizations that they wish to make.
  • Travel Industry – Virtual reality is often used for travel and aviation marketing. In fact, some years ago, Thomas Cook launched a campaign entitled ‘’Try Before You Fly’’ and as expected, this enabled customers to virtually experience what their holiday would be like. When used for aviation purposes, it allows the customers to experience traveling in different class cabins that they may not otherwise be able to experience traveling in.
  • Samsung and NASA – In 2018 Samsung launched the ‘’A Moon For All Mankind’’ Campaign in collaboration with NASA. When wearing the VR headset customers were transported to a moon-like setting which emulated the feeling of lunar gravity. In doing so, they hoped to inspire future generations.
  • Topshop – Topshop also used virtual reality as part of their marketing strategy to target a more expanse audience during London Fashion Week. As part of the campaign, a handful of competition winners were able to witness the events of London Fashion Week through VR headsets from one of the brand’s well-known stores.

How To Implement A Successful Virtual Reality Marketing Strategy

Virtual reality provides users with a more emotionally intense experience than traditional media formats, or a standard visit to a physical store. Ideally, your marketing strategy should be innovative and unique for it to have the desired impact upon the audience.

It is important to remember that virtual reality is the platform that delivers your brand’s message to your audience and it should therefore incorporate your brand values. It is also important to consider your audience and how this technology is going to benefit them. Understanding your customer’s shopping habits will allow you to deliver the best VR experience to accommodate this. Virtual reality is often used to target the younger generations as these advancements in technology continue to develop. Your virtual reality marketing strategy should also tell a story as this will make your customers feel as though they have been on a journey through the experience. A high-quality, interactive strategy is going to have a much greater impact on your target audience.

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