The marketing field has been a big beneficiary of technology. Gone are the days of depending on analog media for visibility. Now, the digital space has taken over, and we are seeing significant advancements.
Augmented and virtual reality are such technologies that are reshaping digital marketing today. We will show you how.
AR and VR Shaping Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is undergoing a transformation with the use of AR and VR. The years 2020 and 2021 have led to a shift in consumer behavior. The disruption of Corona forced people to move to online platforms. They use it for work, education, and e-commerce transactions.
Companies have had to keep up with the emerging demand to stay afloat. They must find ways to connect with customers where they are. Since most are in the digital space, it makes sense to go there.
But how can they give the customer a complete experience remotely? Enter virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). So how are such technologies reshaping digital marketing today?
We will show you how, but first, let us understand the two technologies.
Augmented Versus Virtual Reality; Understanding the Difference
Many people confuse augmented and virtual reality But, they are two different technologies. You will see why when you understand how they work.
Virtual reality replaces the real world with a virtual one. It requires total immersion by blocking out the physical world. By using special goggles or special headsets, the users enter a different world. Imagine exploring the amazon forest right from the comfort of your living room.
Augmented reality superimposes digital elements onto the physical world. It uses computer-generated digital elements to create a new reality. IKEA has an AR app that allows customers to decorate using their furniture. You pick the items you want and place them in a room, depending on how you want them to look.
How AR and VR are Transforming Digital Marketing?
Now that we have explored the two technologies let’s dive into their impact on digital marketing.
1. AR and VR Allow for Remote Engagement with Customers
Many people are preferring to shop online to stay safe. It is an excellent choice in this time of the Covid 19 pandemic. Yet, companies must continue to showcase their services and products. Fortunately, they have solutions with AR and VR.
The automobile industry is also taking advantage of AR and VR. Customers have the opportunity to visit virtual reality showrooms.
They can even test drive the vehicles virtually. Some of the companies that already have this include Porsche, Audi, and Toyota.
The same applies to other areas like the entertainment and music industry. John Legend, for example, had the free America campaign virtual concert. It attracted more than 500,000 participants. Now here is the interesting part, he used an avatar for the performances.
2. Immersive Storytelling with AR and VR
Storytelling provides a powerful way to connect with customers. It helps find a way to bring stories to life for better engagement. AR and VR technologies can provide this functionality.
Take the example of The National Geographic AR app. It takes the audience on a virtual journey to showcase the experience of climbing a mountain. Not only does the company communicate the experience through storytelling, but the AR user feels he is part of the climb.
3. Product Exploration and Customization
Customers can explore products without touching the physical one. We have already highlighted the case of the automobile industry.
Others like the fashion and beauty industry are also taking advantage of AR and VR. Makeup companies, for example, allow customers to try on digital makeup.
A good example is the Google cosmetics try-on AR app. The company has partnered with makeup brands like MAC Cosmetics, L’Oreal, and Estee Lauder. Customers can try different lipsticks, foundations, and so much more.
This helps with making the final decision on which one to buy. Realtors are offering a virtual tour of properties.
Another example is the IKEA AR app. Customers can pick pieces of furniture and place them within a room. You can explore a wide range of pieces from the catalog before deciding on your final pick.
Starbucks is taking the VR experience to a new level. They have an app that allows customers to visit coffee farms virtually. Imagine sipping on your favorite Kenyan coffee as you tour the coffee-growing highlands. Talk about giving customers confidence in the authenticity of your products.
4. Bringing Convenience to Customers
Shopping for things like clothes or shoes can be difficult for some people. The process of having to try on the outfits can be bothersome. But now, virtual fitting rooms are changing all that.
Companies like Timberland and Lacoste are already utilizing the technology. AR apps allow customers to try on shoes or clothes virtually. The customer can also examine the items in more detail.
They also have the option of taking pictures for sharing on social media platforms if they so wish. Companies can launch new products and have customers try them out. All these can happen even before they hit the physical store.
5. Local Search Engine Optimization
Local SEO is vital for making your business more visible within your locality. That is why you must list your business on relevant platforms. Such include Yelp, Google my business, Bing, and the local directories.
Customers now have the option of using their smartphones to find your business with AR. You already see the application on Google Maps with the Live View option. It helps you navigate to your destination with AR overlays. Yelp has, since 2009, been having the AR app.
AR and VR are playing a critical role in digital marketing. Astute marketers must take advantage of technology to reach customers wherever they are. As more people are migrating to online platforms, the opportunities to market to them are also increasing.
Finding a way to connect and offer the best experience to potential customers is critical. We can expect such technologies to be adopted by more and more companies in the future.