Businesses are increasingly finding use cases for Virtual and Augmented Reality and adopting the devices more into their day to day operations.
With customers and potential clients becoming better informed and more resilient to traditional selling techniques. Sales and marketing teams are using headsets as a perfect medium to enhance the sales and customer experience. Virtual worlds now offer the opportunity to engage in fun and unique experiences designed to provide the finishing touch to any sales pitch.
For instance, VR allows prospective buyers to take virtual tours of a house or apartment – instead of just looking at the floor plan. Sotheby's International Realty has been using VR to host open houses to sell luxury homes. Other realty companies, such as Halstead and Douglas Elliman have also rolled out their own versions of tours.
Meanwhile, a salesperson can instantly implement changes to an item they're selling. In select U.S. markets, Lowe's Home Improvement customers can design their perfect bathroom or kitchen and then, using VR, walk into the finished space and experience it — as a test drive. Powered by AR/VR application company Marxent's Visual Commerce application, Lowe's Holoroom customers work with a trained sales associate to make selections from thousands of SKUs — from paint and flooring to plumbing fixtures and appliances. Products are added to the design as virtual 3D objects. Once satisfied, the customer puts on a virtual reality headset to experience the space they've designed and make any needed refinements.
Automakers have also been using VR technologies to attract buyers, improve their time at dealerships and form a stronger emotional attachment to a product they helped create.
The Audi VR experience uses proprietary software and visualization technology from ZeroLight, a technology company based in Great Britain. Using a VR headset at the dealership, customers can configure their new Audi and experience their dream cars virtually, in real time. And, they have the opportunity to explore every detail of the vehicle as they choose options and accessories in the virtual setting of their choice — a lunar landscape, a tunnel, or the National Library in Paris.
Forbes reported that at the pilot location in London, the Audi VR experience increased new car sales by 60 percent to 70 percent, with 75 percent of sales to first time buyers and customers buying cars at 120 percent of the vehicle pricing because of an increased rate of optional feature purchases.
Incredibly, 50 percent of customers in the first year of London dealership's Audi VR experience pilot ordered vehicles without a physical test drive, basing their purchase decision upon their virtual experience. Audi offers the VR experience in select European markets and reportedly plans to offer it worldwide.
Within the construction industry, Virtual Reality has a host of benefits. VR platforms such as those provided by Iris VR enable architects to walk clients through their designs before they have been built, supplying vital opportunities for feedback and alteration.
The ability to explore construction plans in 1:1 scale through VR also bridges the gap between the real world and a designer’s imagination – letting them visualise the full scale effect of their designs. Virtual Reality portfolios have also evolved as a way for architects to showcase their work to prospective clients.
New technology makes it easy to turn paper plans into 3D computer models, and then into immersive VR simulations. Exploring building designs through VR helps potential clients to better understand an architect’s work.