The field of Virtual Reality is going through many exciting innovations and changes. Although it is yet to be a household technology, it has already made inroads into the mainstream and commercial. That it is indeed the next wave that will influence our daily lives is vouched by the fact that Facebook bought Oculus VR in a US$2 billion deal. Virtual Reality apps is also changing how businesses operate and following are the ways it is poised to influence small businesses:
VR will change the way brands interact with customers
Virtual reality is exciting to customers because it engages more of their senses, captures their mind and triggers emotions that can never be aroused by inanimate 2D visuals. In short ,it is the dream tool of any marketer.
Brands like Marriott and JC Penny have already given their guests and customers the thrill of a virtual tour of far off destinations. The important point to be noted here is that not all of these VR campaigns were driven by sales as the end. Rather, these businesses saw VR as an opportunity to engage with the customers and change the way their customers look and them. They wanted to send a message to their customers that says. “we work with cutting edge technologies to give you a unique experience”
There is a lot of scope for small businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with customers in innovative ways with VR. Imagine a food startup which shares preparation of your meal in a virtual reality. Isn’t it an appetizing and connected way to order a meal?
Cost Savings due to Virtual Reality Apps
Although Internet has negated geographical boundaries as a serious barrier for businesses, virtual reality apps will do their bit in getting us tangibly closer. Virtual reality can save a lot of time and money in travelling to places. It is already being used in realty and tourism sector. Being able to look for a new office space without stepping out of your office can save a lot of time and effort.
As technology advances, entrepreneurs can interact with all the stakeholders like vendors, investors and customers in a more personal way and saving cost all the while. Recruiting activity will benefit greatly as virtual reality will allow reading body cues and expressions of candidates from across the globe.
Quicker Product Development for Start Ups
A lot of cost can be saved in product development and testing, thanks to virtual reality. There is no need to build a costly prototype of your product for testing. Just introduce your customers to one in a virtual reality and make quick changes (or even real time in some cases!). Check out research work done by consumer Research Company Haystack using VR tools with their target audience.
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Lesser cost in Brick and Mortar
Virtual reality will also mean that most of the businesses can display their products and services in a virtual world. This will drastically cut down on the need to have a retail space and maintain inventory costs associated with the brick and mortar model.
Advantage to New Age Start ups
Companies that are starting up with VR in their DNA will have great advantages over a bigger competitor who does not have VR integrated into their business because they did not see it coming, a couple of years ago. For example: imagine an e-commerce app that does not have a virtual reality experience versus a newer one that is giving their customers an option to see how a dress fits and looks on them. The costs of starting everything from the scratch for the older app are big and so are the first mover’s advantage to a newer app offering virtual reality experience.