By Brian Marumazvitsva

At the present moment consumers are thirsting for prominent augmented and virtual reality players for service launch, marketers can take the lead in accentuating acceptance in business.

In Africa, it is a fact that most consumers and marketers are yet to experience the ecosphere of virtual reality (VR). If that is your state of affairs don’t worry it’s not too late, the phenomenal VR & AR wave has landed and are you up for the disruption?  

To begin with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are terms which will be used incessantly in transfiguration of business .We shall unpack each term briefly as follows:

Virtual reality is any form of experience that basically immerses the user in another dimension paving the way for emotional intensity and presents a new strata of user experience. This high-tech maturity creates a chasm for virtual reality marketing’s skewed to advertisers. In a nutshell the digital realms consists of a hybrid of real and virtual experiences. 

VR marketing empowers brand managers to position their brand image in proximity to the eyes of consumers and shapes business models that stimulate immersive experience which connects consumers and products in a novel manner.

Augmented reality refers to essentially placing content into true to life world through the use of devices for example a phone with inbuilt camera, for instance success of global-hit game, Pokémon Go.

Mixed reality is a mishmash of real content and digital content that occasionally comprise of multi- video bedding one on top of the other. In this example, the virtual and real things intermingle with each other.

VR Headset user experience

The technology behind augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has been very telling in the gaming sphere in the last few years. The disruption has resulted in eruption of business models with distinct capabilities which transcend the milestones from web and mobile devices. Suffice to say AR and VR is armored to conquer in business. The introduction of avant-garde features which enhance customer emotional engagement culminates into effective digital marketing strategies quasi inbound and out bound tactics. 

Cardboard or meal box VR Headset  

VR and AR are making marketing campaigns successful for pre-emptive mover firms as they in leverage technologies intriguing customers to buy more as they seek affiliation to companies adopting the technology. The customers brand recall is high and resonates well with businesses executing these campaigns for example McDonald’s has shrewdly created a meal box, which customers can fold to create a cardboard VR headset. This can be augmented with downloading the virtual reality app on their device and slide the phone into the cardboard headset as above and delight in the virtual reality world.  The global giants comprising of Google, Samsung, and Facebook have also strategized their marketing campaigns using VR.

To this end the Immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, are going to play a life changing role in enriching the learning experience as customers are increasingly becoming  complicated and seeking engaging personal experiences. Marketers cannot therefore, turn a blind eye on the need for heightened interactivity and progressively personalized communications wow customers.  Thus, virtual reality is significantly the most booming marketing tools here present. In this day a website or an e-business model with virtual reality marketing is poised to bring people together.

Why should you care about VR?

In a milestone record of years back, The New York Times started a virtual storytelling campaign that involved the use of delivered Google Cardboard glasses to their subscribers for them to watch a VR film. The result culminated into a superb digital marketing experience which garnered an emotional intensity for the viewers that buttressed brand loyalty through connecting a story past experience without reading.

According to Digi-Capital, “VR technology industry is estimated that by 2022 it would have reached approximately $33.90 billion the other hand by 2020, the predicted sales of VR headsets to reach 82 million. The estimated number of VR users by 2018 is 171 million. 62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a VR experience. 71% of consumers perceive a brand that uses virtual reality as forward-thinking”.

Through VR the content becomes more tangible, engagement and customer intimacy increases. Innovative brands are already leveraging this technology for instance North Face shoe manufacturer rendering its shoppers a chance to hike through Yosemite National Park. This unique immersive experience created an engaging feeling through actually exploring creating an impetus to purchase the shoes. 

However, despite all this hype VR is still beyond the reach of many people because of the cost of VR hardware. This is so because popular headsets like the Samsung Gear and Google’s DayDream View will set you back at least US$80 free on board for the headset alone before courier costs. This limits to adoption of the $9 Google Cardboard is a reasonably priced way to get into Virtual Reality (VR).

VR to check out a house to buy or rent in Zimbabwe

Virtual touring allows you to go through a simulated reality around the house and choose where to go and when with the aid of a VR (Virtual Reality) headset. This does not only give you a better appreciation of the property remotely but it also saves on time and money for instance Pam Golding advertises some of its property on the Property book  platform which is VR enabled for virtual touring some of their property. However, a preponderance of opportunities lie in the sectors of tourism, retail and vehicle show rooms among others  

In conclusion, Virtual reality (VR) marketing is still unfolding. Therefore, it is pertinent to retain the finger on the trends pulse oximeter to optimise VR brands and advertisers reach on immersed customers though engagement with the product or service.