5 Ways VR Can Create Surprisingly Personal Customer Experiences

5 Ways VR Can Create Surprisingly Personal Customer Experiences

What would you come up with if tasked with creating presentation tech that helped keep a typical audience engaged for, say, 30 minutes or one hour longer than conventionally possible? While this is entirely doable, it may seem virtually impossible from a traditional marketer's perspective, and it's easy to see why. The modern tech-savvy consumer would rather do something interesting than passively sit through an extended audio/visual presentation. This observation is forcing marketers to ditch PowerPoint or at least complement it with futuristic technology like virtual reality, which helps deepen and extend customer engagement and interest in the brand experience.

VR is delivering the immersive power that marketers need to "plunge" potential customers deep into digital life-like experiences of their products. As such, you should consider making VR a priority if you're responsible for building the next generation of forward-looking tech solutions that your organisation needs to bring the personal customer journey to life and to compete effectively.

Let's take a look at five ways companies are using the revolutionary technology to impact the customer experience positively:

Performing "Daredevil" Safety Training or Tests Without Risking Injury

Traditionally, many companies that make workplace safety equipment encounter difficulty demonstrating the reliability or application of their products. While PowerPoint can help customers see that they're safe working at height while wearing protective gear, it can't get them to "feel" or experience the product and its usefulness. In some cases, personnel operating from risky elevated platforms have to learn on the job how to use fall protection equipment. These scenarios are undesirable to both the equipment manufacturer and the customer.

VR flips the paradigm by letting companies showcase how their workplace safety products function without exposing customers to danger. A recent case in point is MSA, a U.S-based fall protection dealer. The company has a VR system that immerses a user through the safety process. It demonstrates how to strap up, and it lets the customer "walk around" on a building's roof and even "experience" a fall from up there, without having to go up there physically!

A single VR moment can safely bring a potential safety gear customer "face to face" with a hazardous workplace situation. The personal CX the tech delivers enables a prospect to relate to the benefit of using the proposed product, and that impacts their purchase decision.

Tapping into Customer Emotions to Inspire Action

As your organisation's VR developer, the people in sales and marketing are counting on you to provide a tool they can use to establish a strong emotional connection between company products and individual customers. Experienced marketers understand that buyer emotions come before action. Fortunately, if there's only one thing that virtual reality did way better than other customer engagement techniques, that'd be playing to emotion!

VR lends itself to marketing techniques, such as content and customer engagements, that stimulate parts of the brain responsible for human feelings and emotional responses. Marriott Hotels pulled it off by providing VR headsets in their NYC hotel rooms, letting guests experience virtual tours to other local and overseas destinations. The life-like travel experiences helped create a brand narrative that customers connected to emotionally, with 51% of them expressing a desire to stay at the hotel more often.

Before developing emotion-stirring VR content, it helps to figure out what your audience's pain points, concerns, or interests are. Based on thorough customer research, come up with situational simulations that can trigger the intended sentiment. Provide a VR experience with a relatable brand narrative, and include a happy ending that ties to your personal customer's concerns.

Taking Your Online Shop to Your Customer's Physical Home

Online shoppers appreciate the convenience of ordering items in minutes from their home or office. They may not miss the hassle of pushing carts along groceries or electronics aisles, but they miss out on the perks of walking around a supermarket or shopping mall while sampling different types of products. Thankfully, VR can bring the "physical" store environment to an online shopper's living room.

With the technology, you can get a typical shopper to immerse in a virtual stroll around your e-commerce site, enabling them to "try out" items without leaving their home. A customer could enter a virtual dressing room, try a pair of shoes or jeans on, and see how the sizing fits them before ordering!

As for an online household furniture store, a potential buyer could walk around a full-scale, make-believe, 3D living room, for example, where they could sample different furniture arrangements, angles, or layouts until they find the perfect fit for their home. They could tinker with the colour, construction material, or size of the furniture in a highly personalised virtual shopping experience.

VR gives you the means to offer shoppers the best of brick and mortar and online customer experiences.

Gamification Adds Fun to the Customer Experience

All shopping and no play makes for dull customer experiences, and nothing fixes the problem better than gamification with augmented reality and VR. This digital marketing technique involves immersing customers in three-dimensional, life-size, and brand-themed gaming experiences, where they get to play while sampling and taking a detailed look at scaled 3D product models.  Companies can use VR gamification to showcase their brands to prospects in a playful and fun way while supplying technical information or specifications by visual means.

It's something similar to what Nike did with VR to inspire customers to sample their Epic React shoes. They created a gaming experience that involved a customer trying out the new shoe in-store and running on a treadmill in a virtual universe. It combined real-world and virtual aspects of gamification to deliver unique customer interactions. It's a perfect, engaging way to launch a new product!

Incorporating AI into VR to Personalise the Customer Experience

VR gives businesses the power to differentiate their products and appeal to more customers amid stiff competition by customising the CX. However, companies seeking to offer highly personalised shopping experiences using VR must also leverage robotic techniques to figure out their customers' preferences and needs in real time.

For example, a real estate agent may provide a mobile app with a smart chatbot that a prospective homebuyer may interact with to search and locate properties with specific features in a preferred neighbourhood. From the comfort of their home, the potential buyer may then put on a VR headset connected to their smartphone to "tour" a listing of interest.

Likewise, you may integrate VR with geospatial information systems to personalise the CX  in the best way possible relative to the customer's current location. This way, you let the buyer explore virtually, locate, or navigate to services or outlets near them.

Wrapping it Up

VR would be the right revolutionary tech solution to build for your company to help deliver customer experiences that are much more captivating and engaging than possible with traditional presentation software like PowerPoint. The technology has numerous real-world applications already, including conducting risk-free safety training, virtual tours that let prospective buyers sample products and connect emotionally with brands, and full-scale 3D virtual stores that allow online shoppers to walk around and try clothing on without leaving their home. Also, companies are using AI-powered VR to customise the CX based on the customer's personal needs, preferences, and even real-time location. Your organisation can leverage the technology to deliver profoundly engaging and lasting customer experiences!

Would you like to learn more about leveraging revolutionary technology like VR to advance business interests? Download our eBook, "The Ultimate Guide to Digital Transformation."

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