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Today's trends for tomorrow's business
The best sales tool you haven't tried yet

The Best Sales Tool you Haven't Tried Yet

We've been hearing about augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for a while now, but 2017 is poised to be the year that this technology really goes mainstream. In fact, research predicts that worldwide revenues for the AR/VR market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.[1] And we're really just at the start of it: Right now startups like Magic Leap are developing “mixed reality” tech that's reported to defy our expectations of what AR and VR can become.
With all that excitement, smart businesses are starting to use AR and VR to get customers excited about their products, too. Here are a few ways you can take advantage of it.

Environment demos

If you're selling something experienced-based, a standard website can only convey so much. VR is a way to give consumers a better sense of what they'll be purchasing. One major hotelier partnered with a VR studio to create a 4D teleportation experience that shows off its properties. Viewers enter a telephone booth-style box that uses Oculus Rifts, heaters, and wind jets to take users on a virtual trip to Hawaii and London. Another industry eager to develop VR demos is real estate. Homebuyers could tour dozens of homes to narrow down their top picks (and save realtors' time touring homes in the process). What's more, one major home improvement store has a Holoroom that lets customers envision a kitchen or bathroom remodel.
  • The takeaway: If you need to show how your product allows customers to go somewhere or change something in their environment, VR can be a great way to showcase the experience.

Showrooming

If your company's product relies on interaction, a simulation of that interaction in the store can give customers a better feel for it. Take test driving a car: While nothing beats actually taking a car out for a spin, a VR tour can give a buyer access to dozens of different models—way more than a dealer can fit in a showroom. The auto sector has been an early mover in VR, and nearly a dozen auto manufacturers already have their own virtual experiences. But they're not the only ones showrooming their products. For example, one sporting goods manufacturer is using VR to promote a new hiking boot, taking wearers on a virtual hike as they walk over real rocky terrain.
  • The takeaway: Letting customers virtually interact with your product means you don't always have to stock your full product line in-store, which saves you money. It also encourages in-store purchases.

Event marketing

The live events business has a lot to gain from VR sponsorships. Think of it as the next step in pay-per-view events such as boxing matches or major concerts. Companies like NextVR have partnered with pro sports teams for immersive highlight recaps as well as a handful of live-streaming games.
  • The takeaway: If live streaming might be tricky for your business to execute, think about posting an immersive highlight reel of an important event on your website that will attract and engage your customers.

Branded viewers

Google Cardboard VR viewers are generally inexpensive—so if you're already creating a 360-degree video or VR tour, why not brand and distribute a viewer along with it? A wide range of companies have already done it, including a global fast food company that constructed a viewer out of a kids' meal box, as well as a high-fashion brand stamping their famous logo all over their viewer.
  • The takeaway: This one's a no-brainer. A viewer is easy to build, and it's the kind of freebie that most tech-savvy people would keep around.

Ready to start using AR and VR to your advantage?

A variety of mobile apps are available to help create 360-degree videos and images for specific hardware platforms. Don't want to DIY? Virtual reality agencies can produce immersive content for your brand. But if you are creating content using demanding VR applications, make sure you have the right workstation for the job. The new HP Z Workstation configurations are NVIDIA® VR Ready systems, ideal for 3D content creators who want to design visually engaging and immersive virtual reality experiences.
Google and Google Cardboard VR platform are registered trademarks of Google Inc. NVIDIA is either a trademark or a registered trademark of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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