March 22, 2021 Colin Jacobsen

Utilizing Virtual 360 Experiences for Brands

Coach’s “Escape to Forever” virtual pop-up built by Arlene.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are on fire — and they’re just getting started. While the market is currently worth $15.3 billion, some projections have the industry growing to $188 billion by 2027, a staggering 43.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next six years.

This is exactly why brands should consider investing in virtual experiences. The increasing adoption of VR and AR marketing technologies, such as Zillow’s recent virtual home tour revamp, simply cannot be ignored. The brands that familiarize themselves with and leverage VR and AR for marketing will have a huge edge on the competition in the near future.

A new, fully virtual sales funnel

Remember when e-commerce was in its infancy and people were baffled by it? “Why would I buy a shirt on the internet? You can’t even try it on.” Fast forward two decades and e-commerce is now a $3.53 trillion dollar market led by Amazon. Countless brick-and-mortar stores that were thriving in the early 2000’s have been swept away by the e-commerce wave.

VR and AR experiences are going to be just as transformational — which is exactly why now is the time to enter the market early and experiment enthusiastically. Featuring your products in virtual 360 showrooms, for example, wouldn’t just be a unique branding opportunity, you could also create an entire A-to-Z sales funnel within the virtual experience.

Enterprising brands can create full-stack e-commerce platforms within a virtual framework, integrating existing APIs into these new and exciting user experiences. That means payment integrations, add-to-cart functionality, and personalizations based on order history — all working together seamlessly in VR and AR experiences.

Why not capture these brand new sales channels for your business?

Strong metric tracking and results

Sponsored content in its current form leads to plenty of customer trust issues. In a recent study, 67 percent of participants “felt deceived” when they realized an article or video was, in fact, sponsored content.

No one’s going to buy from you if they don’t trust you.

Virtual 360 experiences don’t have the same stigma, though. While no one wants to be sold to while reading the news, they’ll have no problem with products featured in a virtual, immersive space like a showroom — because it’s not intrusive or disconnected from your current experience.

And that’s exactly why virtual 360 experiences can have very high conversion rates. The virtual showroom referenced above features 3D product previews from Coach, which saw a 23 percent product click-through-rate (CTR), a 16 percent increase in average order value (AOV), and over 300,000 unique views.

Ease of accessibility and implementation

As far as best practices are concerned, VR and AR marketing is still the Wild West. But that doesn’t mean they’re impenetrable for brands willing to learn on the fly.

On the consumer side, these novel experiences are already easily accessible through desktop and mobile browsers without specialized headsets or glasses. Arlene’s mission is to make these experiences accessible to everyone.

Implementing your content and advertisements into VR and AR spaces is much easier than you might think. For simple projects, it’s often just a simple copy-and-paste job, adding existing code into an HTML template.

Repurpose existing physical and digital assets

As the pandemic (hopefully) becomes a distant memory in the near future, more and more exhibits, festivals, galleries, and experiences will open back up. This is a great opportunity to use AR in physical spaces. With some development and strategically placed QR codes, you can create some memorable, meaningful experiences for patrons.

Virtual 360 experiences also support livestream video integrations, audio, 3D/AR previews, deeplinks to social AR filters, and other interactive elements. Not all of these use cases have to include a “digital” element. The MLB already hosts a weekly VR game, and Justin Bieber hosted a virtual concert on New Years. Tickets went for just $25, making it arguably his most accessible paid concert ever.

Partnerships to enter the space

You may be curious, even eager, to explore how your brand could benefit from offering virtual 360 experiences…but you just don’t know where to get started.

We totally get that. We were in the same place ourselves, which is why we created Arlene. We can build complete end-to-end VR/AR experiences unique to your brand. We can also provide templates and CMS frameworks for clients who want to manage VR/AR experiences from their end.

We customize our integration layer to fit with each customer’s backend. That way, you’re not just creating one-off experiences — you’re setting up your brand for long-term success in this new, dynamic scalable marketing channel that will only grow in popularity over time..

Want to learn more? Contact us for more information.

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