Virtual Reality is reshaping industries and has the power to transform how businesses engage with consumers. VR enables businesses to advertise products, drive foot traffic, and display future experiences. VR is an immersive experience that allows users to experience a simulated environment in such a way that they experience it as if it were real. By 2020, the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (AR) market will be worth $162 billion, and surveys show that 24% of adult U.S. consumerswant to use or purchase a VR headset in 2017.
VR is transforming digital experiences via the intersection of real life information and technology. Businesses are combining all types of digital knowledge – including places, products, and people – with computer software to simulate experiences and increase customer engagement, which can help drive revenue growth.
VR is also disrupting a variety of of industries and is helping businesses increase both foot traffic and sales:
77% of American adults own a smartphone, and many of them are looking for new and fun ways to use their devices. Mobile games like Pokémon Go show the world how VR combines with with geodata to simulate real-life and experiences. Pokémon Go uses geodata from an older game called Ingress, and ] data from Google Maps. Because Pokémon Go utilizes geodata, businesses and organizations can choose to invite gamers to visit their locations, which could drive sales and increase revenue. Since the game requires people to leave their homes and be present in the real world, the virtual reality technology allows pokémon characters to be placed in real-life environments. Users can then virtually interact with these characters. Retailers such as Walmart, Forever 21, and Targethave allowed pokémon to be virtually placed in their stores.
VR makes it possible for consumers to take vacations without leaving their homes. Hotels can create immersive and responsive VR experiences that bring customers anywhere in the world. Hotels can also use VR to help drive sales. ospitality and travel brands are begining to leverage VR sothat customers have the ability to see what vacations can be, which can result in them being more likely to purchase vacation club memberships or pay for travel arrangements. For example, Samsung recently debuted a VR experience at AT&T stores where users could take a virtual Carnival Cruise by using Samsung Gear VR by Oculus, serving as both an interactive experience, as well as an advertisement for the cruise line.
VR is enabling retailers to transform the shopping experience. Projections put VR and AR investment in retail at almost $30 billion by 2020. Shoppers will be able to have virtual shopping experiences via VR headsets. For example, home improvement stores will be able to show customers potential home remodels. Shoppers could try on shirts without being physically present in the store. Campers looking to buy a tent could virtually crawl intoone and experience what it would feel like to sleep in the tent.
VR also has applications for businesses other than sales and revenue. VR enables retailers to replicate real-life environments Businesses can leverage VR to simulate potential store layouts, as well as potential business situations and concepts. For example, VR allows retailers to visualize store layouts and anticipate traffic flow through the store. VR also allows retailers to assess packaging performance and layout.
Major companies are investing in this technology. Facebook plans to invest more than $3 billion into VR over the next decade in order to bring VR to hundreds of millions of people. CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees VR as the future of computing. In March 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, a VR company, and in October 2016, Facebook launched its own Facebook VR tour with the goal to demonstrate the power of VR to people who may not have had the opportunity to experience VR. Each installation gave the public an introduction to VR via the Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus headset. The tour began in Dallas and travelled to 14 different fixed locations and 24 mobile tour stops across the U.S. In April 2017, Facebook announced that some of their apps will be getting updated augmented reality capabilities.
Although the VR market is growing and adoption rates are increasing, there are caveats. 37% of consumers are still hesitant to adopt VR technologies due to a lack of options. The price of VR headsets is incredibly high – $600 for an Oculus Rift or $800 for a Vive – which makes price-conscious consumers less likely to buy.
With the rise of VR and other intelligent services, businesses need to ensure that they're in control of how their business appears everywhere – starting in search and extending to VR. The Yext Knowledge Manager can manage all of their digital knowledge – people, products, places. With accurate and consistent digital knowledge living everywhere online, businesses can adapt to the evolving intelligent services.