By 2020, the virtual reality market is estimated to be worth $30 million, according to Rutgers University Online Master in Business Administration program.
For those wondering if virtual reality can be used for marketing purposes, the question is not if virtual reality will be able to be used to market, but how it can be used to market products and services. Based on the same Rutgers’ research, seven in 10 consumers decide what brand they’ll purchase while they’re shopping – not before they go to the store. Virtual reality can mimic a proposed store outlet, thereby providing a cost effective opportunity for a business to plan its marketing strategy
Investment and Market Research with Virtual Reality
Whether it’s a new hire or investing in commercial real estate, they both have their costs. Virtual reality can give candidates and employers a better chance to simulate work conditions to see if the candidate is a good fit for the position, such as driving a tractor trailer or a cruise ship. Similarly, before buying a building in a certain neighborhood or using a particular layout, virtual reality has the potential to let different users determine what types of products, aisle layout and even color schemes are the best fit for shoppers.
Potential Uses for Selling to Consumers
Depending on the type of company, virtual reality has many applications – from presenting a new store to helping a patient or client know where to find an office for their first visit. Whether it’s a new retail chain or one that’s already in the area, a newly remolded store’s layout can be seen in 3-D, along with new products or in-store displays. This can give a more authentic experience than a video or virtual tour on a website.
Using Virtual Reality to Sell to Businesses
Another way virtual reality can be used includes businesses selling their products or services to other companies. Safety compliance firms that consult with retail or manufacturing companies can show potential clients how virtual reality can educate new and existing employees on safety procedures, which could result in a reduced number of worker compensation or personal injury claims.
In the legal profession, virtual reality can also be used to depict crime scenes in 3-D versus the traditional two-dimensional depiction on paper or computer. Being able to observe a criminal case with a 360-degree view of people and moving objects, such as a knife or bullet traversing the air, offers a holistic perspective for jurors to make a decision from the viewpoint of the victim, defendant or witnesses.
Virtual reality is a solo activity, so it’s unlike social media that can be shared with a click of the mouse. Therefore using as a sole means of marketing eliminates the opportunity for existing or potential customers to share the virtual content with friends and family. Since this platform is so new – and comes with the additional cost of creating original content – it remains to be seen whether virtual reality marketing will become more mainstream or just be a passing trend.
Virtual reality holds a lot of promise for businesses to use as a marketing tool for their own services or products, but its success will ultimately depend on mass adoption and its ability to synchronize with other mobile and computing technology.