The potential of virtual reality marketing for small business

The potential of virtual reality marketing for small business

Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer the stuff of myth and futurist propaganda, though it’s still a far cry from the visions of Tron. VR has been in development for years, commercialised for the average customer, and now exists as an opportunity for small businesses. Samsung bundled their Galaxy S7’s with their Gear VR headset and Google’s Cardboard is now a mere $15. The virtual world is now more accessible than ever. But what kind of benefits can you expect to reap by investing in this technology? VR has the potential to give your customer a unique and immersive insight into your brand.

The possibilities are endless  

Now that the technology has developed to a point where it is affordable, accessible and high quality, businesses of all sizes are leveraging its potential. VR in its most basic form, is interacting with a 3D image through sight and sound. While that sounds basic the possibilities it presents are limited only by your imagination. Below we look at some innovative ways business are leveraging the technology to drive brand engagement, improve the customer experience and enhance existing marketing efforts.

Indulge in a holiday without leaving your room

Big companies have already put on their headsets and jumped on the virtual bandwagon. Best Western, in collaboration with Google Street View, went all in on VR to allow prospective customers to experience what they’d be paying for, before they booked and arrived. The result? The Best Western Virtual Reality Experience.

The goal for many in the hospitality space is to drive customer engagement and brand awareness to secure more bookings and improve consumer loyalty. Customers are able to view, in three dimensions, hotel rooms, pools, lobbies, gyms and even parking lots to pre-qualify their experiences.

Taking a luxury car for a virtual spin

To get to a virtual motel, you could drive a virtual car, and travel in style. Lexus created their own VR experience in which users are able to fully customise their own Lexus NX luxury compact crossover and then take it for a test drive.

The experience creates a virtual world with no traffic in which you own the new Lexus, free to cruise the streets from the driver seat.

Trekking the Dolomites

If luxury cars aren’t your bag, then you might consider travelling on foot. Hiking boot brand Merrell combined VR with 4D and motion capture technology which left users buckling at the knees. The experience lead users through an immersive journey to the summit of the Italian Dolomites, feeling the wind on your face as you edge past narrow ledges, stumbled over rickety bridges and barely escape landslides.

Merrell’s visceral experience allowed customers to use their products in their most fantastical of intended environments – treacherous terrain.

These companies have substantial resources to create astounding virtual reality experiences. So, though small businesses may be unable to replicate them, they are definitely able to be inspired by them.

Inspiration for the little guy

Wind machines and motion capture devices may not have the ROI small businesses seek. However, VR experiences don’t necessarily require a huge outlay.

All you need is a 360 degree camera

360 degree camera is the only tool required to create your first VR experience. A couple of hundred dollars and you’ll have all the equipment you need. Brainstorm some ideas on the kind of experiences your business offers then turn them from reality to VR.  

Key takeaways

VR can be quite expensive depending on its experiential scope, but it doesn’t have to be. By leveraging your business unique value proposition you’ll be able to create an engaging VR experience for prospective and existing customers alike. VR is still considered by some to only be viable for companies with early adopters in their target market.  The adoption of VR technology into your marketing efforts would set yourself apart from the crowd. And in the off chance that the technology should eventually flop, there will still be a good stream of content for the next 2-5 years. VR is just another medium through which you can reach, serve and communicate with your customers.

If you would like to know more about how to create an excellent customer experience using the latest mobile technology, then check out the Enterprise Mobility 2017 @ CeBIT program today.

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