Virtual reality has long been the product of science fiction junkies. It’s a giant leap that video game and movie fans have been dreaming of since they were children. After decades of dreaming virtual reality devices (like the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard) are being sold to the modern consumer. This is a major leap for mankind.
In the last ten years many bigger corporations like Intel, P&G, Goodyear, and Walmart have already begun to successfully integrate virtual reality into their marketing strategies. With the commercialization of virtual reality, the technology will soon become a strategy that small and medium sized businesses can adopt. Here are a few potential uses for virtual reality technology.
Using Virtual Reality for Store Simulations: Product Placement
Shelf management in grocery stores can affect how fast a product flies off the shelf. Brands and stores can influence consumer decisions by ensuring their products are placed in the right location. According to The Economic Times, simply changing the placement of jelly from a waist level shelf to an eye-level shelf increased sales by 12%.
Market research via virtual reality allow companies to create interactive store environments that mimic real stores in order to help businesses determine the shelf lay-out that will increase sales.
For example, British chocolate company Cadbury utilized a virtual store simulation to conduct market research on the most effective product layout to sell their product.
Additionally, a British-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever utilized 3D simulations and eye-tracking tech to determine the best shelf arrangement for Axe body wash. The eye-tracking tech allows researchers to determine what shoppers looked at, how long they looked, and in what order they looked at products on the shelf. Unilever successfully used that research to increase the sales of Axe body wash.
Store Simulations: Product Cost
Product cost is an important aspect of marketing. If the cost is too high, customers might not purchase the product. If it’s too low, the company could be losing out on profit. When you add pricing psychology to the mix (delving into what prices elicit an emotional response) choosing the proper price for a product becomes even more complicated.
Virtual reality has been used in the past to help companies navigate this complicated maelstrom. Nestle, for example, utilized a virtual store to determine what price their ice cream cups needed to be sold at to increase sales. Market research found that customers were more willing to buy the product for $10 than they were when they were priced at $9.90.
Virtual Focus Groups
Focus groups are an important aspect of an advertising and marketing campaign. By collecting a group of the company’s core demographic and determining what they think about the product or the ad, marketing teams can potentially save their time, their reputation, and their money. A good focus group will warn a team when consumers just aren’t responding positively to the product or campaign.
Customer management company Vantedge Group utilizes virtual customer focus groups rather than in-person focus groups. Vantedge Group found that they were not only an effective alternative to traditional meetings, they could also be significantly cheaper.
Virtual Recruitment and Training
The ability to conduct effective marketing campaigns is to some extent dependent on locating and training a strong marketing team. The adoption of virtual reality in the future could help ensure that strong employees are located and then up-trained effectively.
Virtual reality could be an effective means to conduct an interview with a potential employee when distance prevents an in-person interview. The virtual environment would allow job interviewers to more effectively get a sense of how well the individual will fit with the team. With virtual reality, interviewers can more effectively observe and draw conclusions on how fit the potential employee is for the job based on the individual’s body language.
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Virtual reality training can also be a more efficient and cheaper method of employee training. Due to the cost of personal one-on-one training, many companies have switched to creating training videos, pamphlets, or articles. An interactive environment would allow companies to create a one size fits all training material without losing the highly interactive environment created by in-person training sessions. Add to that the fact that some skills are better if you learn by doing makes virtual reality a recipe for training success.
Science, research, and innovation has made virtual reality technology available to the public. Bigger corporations have already proven that the tech can be successfully adopted in a business marketing strategy. As the technology continues to be developed, the opportunity for smaller businesses to utilize this technology will rapidly expand. That day is coming, will your company be ready?