ARe you excited about VR?
E-commerce was the first stage of giving everyone the chance to personalise and enhance their shopping experience, not just the ones willing to pay for it. To keep on encouraging customers to leave their homes to shop, brands have introduced ‘in-store luxuries’ to the high street with bars, spas, glitter makeovers (gotta love Missguided) and beauty booths. All to give customers an enjoyable, ‘all-about-you’ experience they can’t replace at home. Including these experiences increase footfall and retention, whilst making the customer feel ‘special’ or getting them excited. Along with increasing opportunity for sales this makes the brand/customer relationship personal, improves brand (and store) reputation and gives customers an experience to talk about.
To keep on ‘wowing’ and attracting customers, brands always need to innovate their experiences – and what better way than with tech! The obsession with digital technology is still very, very clear (72% of 25-34 year olds want to use in-store virtual or augmented reality, but admitted they don’t really know why or what for). So, as AR and VR are relatively ‘fresh’ in the customers eye, brands can jump onboard with the excitement whilst tactfully building a relationship with customers, encouraging positive brand resonance and increasing footfall.
Ads Reality, now acquired by GAME, have used AR to not only make the shopping experience immersive, but to bring the products to life. Characters almost become tangible as they are ‘set lose’ around the store, shop windows invite you to battle against them and playing cards turn into 3D visuals, activated simply by a smartphone.
Although AR and VR currently bring bounds of entertainment and excitement, TOMS prove the opportunity for enhanced brand storytelling – a crucial part of branding. TOMS’ takes on a very humanitarian approach: each pair of shoes sold provide help for another person across the world with water, food and clothing. Here, the use of VR gives customers visual proof of the brands work, taking them on the ‘journey’ their charity aid goes through to deliver these goods to communities. For each customer, they get to go home with that ‘I’ve done something good today’ feeling; for TOMS, they are able to enhance brand perceptions of authenticity through a creative, immersive channel.
VR, AR and 360-video have offered brands the creative freedom to express values and marketing messages, engage consumers and transform the shopping experience. As marketing becomes increasingly experience-based, VR and AR bring opportunity to merge together the creativity of digital with ‘real world’ activations, stunts or interactive stalls. All of which is incredibly shareable, I mean, how many snapchats have you seen of people with a dancing hotdog or pictures next to Pikachu?