3 Reasons Why Extended Reality (XR) and Immersive Experiences are the Future of Business
Today’s consumers are in the driver’s seat, and marketers must find new ways to leverage innovative technology to succeed. Extended Reality (XR) content—Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and other forms—delivers the high level of engagement and brand impact companies need to remain competitive.
Immersive experiences meet the needs of today’s elusive consumers
Years ago, big companies could bombard consumers with advertising across a limited number of media outlets (TV, radio, print) and own a tremendous amount of brand mindshare.
Today, with media fragmented across a seemingly infinite number of devices, channels, websites, and apps, the consumer is an elusive one. To put this into perspective, 20 years ago (2001), Survivor was the highest-rated TV show that year, with more than 30 million weekly viewers. The country has grown by 50 million people since then, and the top-rated show this year (Sunday Night Football) is just half that with less than 16.5 million weekly viewers.
Your customer is no longer just watching TV and engaging in a few other types of content. They frequently check social media, watch YouTube and streaming services, play video games on consoles and within apps, listen to ad-free music across devices, and watch TV with limited ads, no ads, or simply skip ads wherever possible.
Marketers have been fighting this media fragmentation with highly targeted digital advertising. Still, new regulations in consumer data privacy are beginning to limit how they can follow people with ads.
Add on the post-pandemic surge in online shopping, and brands don’t just have a complex problem. They have an intricate problem that is getting even more critical to solving.
Three Reasons Why Immersive Experiences Are the Future of Business
In today’s digital-first world, immersive experiences are a new requirement for online selling to drive the actual metrics that matter to your business.
The following are three clear reasons why:
Why XR is the Future of Business #1 – It Caters to the New Needs of Astute Consumers
Shoppers don’t want to be told that your product or services are the best. They don’t believe you. They want to do their due diligence and make their own purchase decision. While purchase research has always been part of the customer journey, in the past it was reserved for the biggest purchases of their lives; cars, houses, life insurance, etc. But, todays’ savvy shoppers research even the smallest of their purchases and they are more careful and discerning than ever.
81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing, which means that the best way for brands to sell is to stop just pushing ads at their people and start trying to find ways to engage shoppers while they perform their own purchase research.
Check out this XR experience: Coach’s AR pop-up store with Disney that was built by Arlene:
The magical (and shoppable) world unfolds in a museum-like setting – visitors digitally meander through five distinct rooms filled with handbags and other pieces from the new collection, interactive elements, animated surprises and more, then complete their journey in the gift shop. The space is entirely driven by augmented reality (AR). “This pop-up is three brands coming together to bring joy,” says Giovanni Zaccariello, Coach’s VP of Global Visual Experience, who nods to the pandemic as the reason behind the pivot from creating a physical pop-up shop to going digital. “This is a catalyst for change,” he says. “All of these learnings are going to translate into many other projects.”
Why XR is the Future of Business #2 – XR is Already Part of Consumers’ Lives
Pokemon Go and Snap lens/filters are just a few examples of how ubiquitous this technology has become. It’s no longer fringe or emerging technology. Extended Reality is everywhere right now, and the potential is enormous with 3.4 billion phones already on the planet with advanced AR capabilities.
It is projected that by 2025, nearly 75% of the world—almost all smartphone users—will be frequent Augmented Reality users. That’s not very far away. Brands can’t wait to get involved, and they must get started immediately to build best-practice programs and become proficient in this growing space.
From the IBM Institute for Business Value article, How Extended Reality will reshape commerce:
“Already, nearly a third of consumers (32 percent) use AR apps, most frequently for gaming and social media. However, analysts such as IDC expect healthy growth in consumer AR/VR spending to deliver a five-year CAGR of just over 52 percent.”
Check out this Augmented Reality exhibition Arlene built for NYC Pride, called “The First Rainbow”
Using their smartphones, visitors of the park scan the QR code to access the WebAR experience in their mobile browser. They then place a virtual heritage sign that marks the historic nature of the park as the birthplace of Pride in the park. Behind the marker is a vibrant particle rainbow celebrating Pride. Visitors can then take photos against the beautiful park background or by the Gay Liberation Monument. They can share their photos on their social media accounts with the hashtag #FirstRainbowNYC along with the link to the WebAR experience.
75% of customers now expect retailers to offer at least an augmented reality experience to help them find more product information or learn about products.
Why XR is the Future of Business #3 – It Works!
Consider these Extended Reality statistics:
- There are already 100 million people shopping with AR online and in-stores, with 95% of them saying they expect to use the same amount or more AR when shopping next year.
- Conversion rates increase by as much as 90% for customers engaging with AR, compared to clients without an immersive experience
- 61% said they would choose to shop with stores that have AR over those without it
- 56% of shoppers agree that AR gives them more confidence about product quality
- One brand reported that people who engaged with the tool were 11X more likely to purchase and spent 2.7X more time in the app
The fantastic thing about Extended Reality is its limitless potential. Not only is there AR and VR, but also 360° product views, virtual tours, and so many more creative uses.
Check out this virtual lobby + augmented reality project build by Arlene for V Digital Services which they use to showcase their services at conferences or trade shows.
With more business events going virtual during the pandemic, Arlene’s virtual lobby for V Digital Services offers many of the same features that an in-person event would offer guests
Get Started with Arlene’s XR Platform
Stop relying on expensive specialists that require time-consuming hand-holding and will charge you for every meeting, change, and request. Now your brand or agency can build immersive, professional experiences on your own—at a fraction of the time and cost.
Arlene’s template-driven approach requires no coding, and you will be up and running with your in-house XR program in days. Arlene empowers your creative teams to build professional immersive experiences with a comprehensive feature set.