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January 30, 2024 - 6 minutes

AR/VR in Business: Enhancing Customer Experience and Marketing

Get the latest on AR/VR in business! 

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Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two emerging technologies that are transforming the scope of consumer engagement and experience. These tools are quickly improving to enhance businesses’ ability to connect with their customers and create emotionally captivating and memorable experiences, expanding the realm of marketing and allowing companies to transcend the boundaries of traditional retail to immersive advertising campaigns that captivate and resonate with consumers

In this article, we hope to give you all the latest on the frontier of AR/VR in business, a terrain that promises to revolutionize the realm of marketing and customer experience. 

What is AR/VR?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two immersive technologies that alter or enhance our perception of the real world. While they are similar in scope, they serve distinct purposes and offer different user experiences. 

Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality overlays digital information, like images, videos, or 3D models, onto real-world environments, enhancing our perception of the physical world by adding digital elements. We’ve seen it work wonders with smartphone apps like Pokémon GO, where information is overlaid on a camera view. Similarly, AR-guided navigation systems have become increasingly popular, displaying directions on a live camera feed. AR’s key characteristics include: 

  • Real-time interaction: AR integrates digital content in real-time, allowing users to interact with both the physical and virtual aspects simultaneously. 

  • Device dependence: AR experiences often rely on devices like smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, or heads-up displays (HUDs). 

Virtual reality (VR)

Virtual reality creates a fully immersive, artificial environment that entirely replaces the real world. Users are immersed in a computer-generated reality, often through the use of VR headsets. We’ve seen VR utilized today in the form of VR gaming experiences where users are fully immersed in a digital world. Other popular uses include virtual simulations for career training purposes, such as flight simulators. In all, the key characteristics of VR include: 

  • Complete immersion: VR completely isolates users from the physical world, transporting them to a simulated environment where they can interact with their new surroundings. 

  • Headset dependency: VR experiences typically require specialized hardware such as VR headsets, which include displays, motion sensors, and sometimes hand controllers. 

Both technologies provide immersive experiences, albeit with varying levels of immersion. AR enhances the real world, while VR creates a completely new one. Each leverages a combination of hardware and software to deliver their experiences including sensors, displays, and computing power. And finally, we’re seeing these technologies utilized in numerous sectors, from gaming, to healthcare, education, marketing, and more. 

AR/VR for Business

Now that you’ve got the basics down of AR and VR, it’s clear that leveraging the technology for tour business may make all the difference for your company. It’s a field that’s quickly growing, but the possibilities for marketing, customer experience, gamification opportunities, and professional development are endless

AR and VR are reshaping the ways businesses operate and connect with their employees, stakeholders, and customers. Let’s see exactly how. 

AR/VR business meetings

  1. Immersive collaboration: AR/VR technologies redefine the concept of remote meetings by offering immersive collaboration spaces. Team members can interact in virtual environments, fostering a sense of presence and enhancing communication. 

  2. Global connectivity: AR/VR business meetings bridge geographical gaps, enabling teams from different locations to converge in a shared virtual space. This not only reduces the constraints of physical presence, but also promotes efficient and effective collaboration. 

  3. Interactive presentations: traditional presentations are transformed into interactive experiences. ARVR allows for three-dimensional data visualization, dynamic product demonstrations, and engaging content sharing. These technologies can make presentations more impactful and memorable. 

AR/VR games for business

  1. Gamified training: many businesses are incorporating AR/VR games into their training programs, offering employees engaging and interactive learning experiences. Gamification enhances skill acquisition and knowledge retention. 

  2. Team building: VR games designed for team-building exercises facilitate a fun and collaborative environment. These experiences often require teamwork, problem-solving, and strategic thinking, fostering stronger interpersonal relationships among team members. 

AR/VR headset for business

  1. Training and simulation: AR/VR headsets are employed for training purposes, allowing employees to engage in realistic simulations in order to learn through simulated hands-on experience. This is particularly valuable in industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and aviation, where hands-on training is crucial. 

  2. Customizable AR/VR solutions: businesses can customize VR headsets to integrate company branding, specific software applications, and tailored user interfaces. This allows for a more cohesive and branded VR experience in alignment with business objectives. 

These are just a few of the many evolving ways that AR and VR are integrating into business operations. These tools offer companies innovative solutions for communication, training, and collaboration and are continuously evolving. That said, businesses should embrace AR and VR in order to better position themselves to enhance productivity, foster creativity, and deliver unparalleled experiences to consumers and employees. 

AR/VR Enhancing Customer Experience and Marketing

Beyond simply employee training and improved presentations, AR and VR can be utilized to completely transform customer experience. The emerging trends of AR and VR for enhanced consumer experience are unlike anything we’ve seen before. These immersive technologies offer unique opportunities for engagement, interaction, and brand differentiation. 

Enhancing customer experience 

  • Virtual product try-ons: AR allows customers to virtually try on products before making a purchase. This is especially prevalent in the fashion and beauty industries allowing customers to virtually try products. Similarly, the technology took the internet by storm in 2020 when consumers learned that they could bring Home Depot’s giant skeleton into their home with AR. The possibilities for envisioning the product before purchasing it has proved exciting for consumers across the globe. 

  • AR-guided shopping: AR applications can guide customers through a physical store, providing additional information about the products, promotions, and even personalized recommendations based on their preferences. 

  • Virtual showrooms: VR can create virtual showrooms or environments where customers can explore and interact with products in a 3D space. This is particularly useful for industries like real estate or automotive, allowing customers to virtually experience a property or a car. 

  • Interactive product packaging: AR can be used to enhance product packaging by providing additional interactive content when scanned with a mobile device. This adds a layer of engagement or and storytelling to the product. 

  • Remote assistance: AR enables remote assistance for customer support. Customers can use their smartphones or AR glasses to get real-time guidance from experts, facilitating troubleshooting or assembly processes. 

Improving Marketing Efforts  

  • Immersive marketing campaigns: AR and VR provide a unique canvas for creative advertising campaigns. Brands can create interactive and immersive experiences that capture the attention of consumers, making the marketing message more memorable. 

  • Virtual events and experiences: VR is increasingly used for virtual events, conferences, and product launches. This allows businesses to reach a global audience without the need for physical presence, providing a cost-effective and engaging way to connect with customers. 

  • AR gamification: gamifying marketing campaigns with AR elements can boost engagement. For example, scavenger hunts, interactive games, or filters on social media platforms can create a buzz around a brand or product. Check out a couple exciting AR games and marketing campaigns from last year! 

  • 360-degree virtual tours: VR-powered 360-degree virtual tours offer a unique way for businesses to showcase their facilities, hotels, or destinations. This immersive experience can significantly influence customer decisions on whether or not to book a hotel or experience. 

  • Data analytics and personalization: AR and VR technologies generate valuable data on customer interactions. This data can be used to analyze customer behavior and preferences, allowing businesses to tailor their marketing strategies more effectively. 

In all, AR and VR technologies are transforming the way that businesses engage with customers and conduct marketing. As these technologies continue to evolve, businesses that embrace them can gain a competitive edge by providing more immersive and personalized experiences to their consumers. 

Jobs in AR/VR: Developments in UX Design

The demand for professionals in AR/VR, especially those with expertise in UX design, is expected to grow as these technologies become more mainstream. For folks looking to be successful in the field of AR and VR, they must be committed to continuous learning and stay up-to-date on the latest tools and design principles. There are a number of roles for folks interested in AR/VR with a focus on UX design: 

  1. UX/UI designer for immersive experiences: professionals in this role specialize in creating user interfaces and interactions tailored for AR/VR environments. They must consider factors such as spatial design, 3D interfaces, and user interactions within the virtual space.

  2. Interaction designer: interaction designers in AR/VR focus on designing how users engage with the virtual environment. This includes defining gestures, movements, and interactions that feel natural and intuitive within the context of immersive experiences. 

  3. User researcher for AR/VR: folks in this role gather insights into user behavior, preferences, and challenges within AR/VR environments. They conduct studies to understand how users navigate and interactive virtual interfaces, informing design decisions. 

In conclusion, there are many ways for folks to work in the evolving field of AR and VR. If you’re interested in getting a stronger grasp on AR and VR technologies, then you’re in a great place. 

Ironhack offers courses pertaining to UX/UI design, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, all areas that will help you master AR and VR technologies. Take the leap in 2024 and get ready to transform your organization’s marketing practices and consumer experiences. 

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