The marketing landscape has been changing in different aspects over the last few years. The internet and social media have played significant roles in this transformation. Now, businesses can reach out to potential customers anywhere worldwide and sell products or services to them.
AR and VR, which were considered mere fantasy decades ago, are also influencing and changing marketing forever. More brands are incorporating these technologies into their marketing strategies to open new ways of reaching their prospects.
Today, customers are keen to interact with brands that embrace technology. As VR and AR become more mainstream, you could fall behind your competition if you do not use them. This article looks into what VR and AR mean for the marketing world in 2021 and beyond.
Here are some of the things that VR and AR change marketing in 2021.
1. Improve Employee Engagement and Training
AR and VR have apparent benefits for companies that want to train their marketing teams remotely. The incorporation of these technologies has provided budding marketers with a hands-on learning experience. It has presented trainers with a pool of opportunities, making learning more effective.
Training in a simulated environment helps put marketing teams into a virtual mindset, which makes learning more effective. Besides, AR and VR have increased learners’ retention rates in training because learners can practice objectives and tasks in real-time.
In short, developing marketing soft skills and expertise has become easier than ever before. AR and VR are helping marketing teams improve overall knowledge with interactive, highly customizable content. In the end, companies recruit skilled employees who can take brand marketing to the next level.
2. Expanding the Customer Experience
As mentioned earlier, customer expectations are changing over time. Now, people are looking for more immersive technologies, and both VR and AR fit this description. Any company that wants to up its marketing game and increase ROI needs to consider infusing this tech in its strategy.
Many marketing teams are ditching traditional 2D technologies to meet consumer demands. They are focusing on creating 3D environments which are more sophisticated. Thanks to the increased VR/AR hardware and software availability, creating these environments is now easier.
Customers can now grab a virtual reality headset and enter virtual marketing spaces created by companies. The best thing is that headsets and other AR/VR accessories are easily accessible worldwide. These immersive technologies are revolutionizing customers’ interaction with brands. They help businesses create powerful, thoughtful, and meaningful experiences.
Customer post-purchase experiences have also improved thanks to augmented reality marketing. A practical example is how customers can unlock Nespresso’s AR descaling instructions with the touch of a button. This is one way that technology is simplifying long processes and improving UX.
In the end, the immersive experience customers experience ends up as conversions for the businesses. With technology advancing at an exponential rate, AR and VR are must-haves for companies. Not to be confused, AR brings the convenience of tapping into mobile devices while VR makes the entire experience immersive.
3. Increase In-Home AR Preview Functions
The e-commerce landscape will also change significantly with AR and VR. This is especially because online selling has become a common trend in today’s business environment. People can buy almost every product you can think of online, but this comes with its own set of risks.
One of the biggest risks is buying the wrong item. Well, e-commerce does not let a customer physically handle a product before they make a purchase decision. For instance, after purchasing a coffee table online, you may end up realizing that it does not look good with the rest of the décor in your room.
Placement preview functions that are possible through AR have provided a solution to this problem. You can use AR technology to place the coffee table you want to buy in your living room, albeit virtually. This can help you decide whether it looks good or not.
A glimpse of how items look when placed in their environment helps market them. Customers can confidently purchase items if they feel that they will meet their needs. AR technology enables companies in the e-commerce industry to increase sales with in-home preview functions.
You can expect to see more placement preview functions in the rest of 2021 and the future. Not many people have time to travel and view items. Sometimes, it may not be financially feasible.
AR has a futuristic solution that will make e-commerce easier. Customers will be sure about the products they buy, and that will increase satisfaction and boost marketing.
4. Building a New Market on Social Networks
As mentioned earlier, VR and AR have significantly impacted the customer’s shopping experience. Everything from how businesses present products to customers to how they drive them down the sales funnel has changed. Speaking of product presentation, brands can use AR and VR to show off products.
Of course, this works in line with social networks that have also become vital marketing tools. VR and AR change the traditional social media marketing technique. Live events enabled by AR and VR or social networks like Facebook have enhanced marketing.
Live events on social media platforms have become more immersive with AR and VR. This technology completely takes over your senses and fills your vision field. This makes you feel part of the event and increases your interest in the product or service being presented at the event.
For businesses, this means an increased conversion rate in the end. The social media market created by AR and VR is different from what social media has had to offer in the past. For instance, Facebook reports that the number of users who watch live videos is thrice as much as those who watch other types of video media. That’s the difference that AR and VR bring on social networks.
5. Creation of an Impulse Buy Environment
VR and AR also can influence impulse buying. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, AR and VR have played significant roles in helping retailers improve their sales. AR applications aim at driving users down the sales funnel quickly.
The key enabler of this trend is the proliferation of smartphone devices. AR and VR are truly the technology of the future. Consumers rely on the internet for information and mobile devices play a key role in this by providing augmented reality applications.
AR and VR take advantage of this overreliance on social media to market products. AR, for instance, can change a users’ perspective of a specific product. There is a perceived enjoyment and ease of use when interacting with AR applications, increasing chances of impulsive buying.
Companies that sell clothes, for instance, use AR and VR to create impulse buying environments. They allow customers to try on clothes through their AR applications. These applications also enable the users to view the clothes from different angles. Customers then make their purchase decision and buy instantly.
6. Virtual Tours to Supplant Physical Tours
One of the industries whose marketing AR and VR will change significantly is the real estate industry. Physical tours became impossible once the pandemic struck the entire world. The real estate industry felt the impact as it meant people could not travel to see their possible homes, reducing business for sellers.
AR and VR tech is already changing this by making virtual tours possible. Real estate developers have AR and gear VR apps that customers can use to interact with them. They are also leveraging the power of VR to bring the homes closer to potential buyers at the comfort of their current homes.
VR for virtual real estate tours is a great experience. This technology, as mentioned earlier, is highly immersive and makes the buyer feel like they are at the site physically. Currently, VR for the real estate industry is mainly about 360-degree videos that give buyers realistic pictures of homes.
In the future, 3D reproduction of property interiors will be standard. 3D versions will give potential buyers clearer and more immersive experiences. Real estate businesses are now focusing on using VR more extensively to find customers for the properties they put up on sale.
There is no doubt that real estate marketing is in for a better future. Property sellers are using technology more to increase sales during these uncertain times. With AR and VR, the pandemic is no longer a barrier. Virtual tours could also remain after the world gets back to normal.
The Future Looks Good
The use of VR and AR in marketing is not all in the future. This technology is already providing marketers with a whole new world of new marketing opportunities. It has changed how brands connect with customers, tell their stories, and generate sales from prospects.
In the future, AR and VR systems will be much more accessible than today. Research shows that the global AR and VR products have been sold 8.9 million units by the end of 2018. Experts expect this number to grow to 65.9 million by the end of 2022. This clearly identifies that VR and AR have a lot of uses for the future.