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Virtual Reality Forges Ahead into Retail (Part 6 of 6)

Previously, we discussed emerging virtual reality (VR) applications in the industries of education, health care, real estate, and travel. Today we wrap up our series on virtual reality with a look at VR technologies used in the retail industries.

woman-1418844__180What’s in it for Shoppers?

Technology is now a part of daily life. From smart phones to tablets and even to GoPros, we use technology to complete many routine tasks. Therefore, today’s shoppers expect, and in some cases demand, the use of technology when they shop. VR is poised to be the next frontier for retail outlets. In April 2016, Samsung’s Gear VR boasted over 1 million active users, and Tractica predicts almost 200 million VR headsets will be sold by 2020. With such a large potential audience, there is a lot of opportunity for companies ready to adopt VR.

Just like the other industries we discussed, the driving factors behind retail using of VR is affordability. All the shopper requires is a smart phone and a headset. Most people now have smart phones, and headsets are now affordable for businesses to acquire.

VR can benefit shoppers by:

— giving them more information to make a decision about purchases
— simplify the design and planning process for home and garden purchases or for complete outfit purchases
— allow immediate feedback from friends who may be shopping with them

business-888146__180What’s in it for Retailers?

— provide an economical testing market. It will be cheaper for retailers to test a shopping environment virtually, rather than building a physical space.
— Create a totally immersive brand experience.
— Showcase their products in more meaningful ways.
— May decrease the amount of returns or exchanges.

Examples of VR Retail Experiences

Although we are very much in the early days of VR retail adaptation, a few companies are testing the waters of VR shopping.

Westfield Malls in the UK, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop, and River Island have all used VR to provide in-store virtual experiences of their latest fashion collections. Shoppers can then shop the collection.
Lexus and Volvo have used VR for virtual test drives.
Lowe’s installed the Holoroom in 19 of their stores. It is an immersive space where shoppers can design their bathroom or kitchen.
Ikea is also piloting a virtual kitchen experience.
Tom’s offered an in-store virtual trip to Peru as part of their One-for-One campaign.
McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden gave away “Happy Goggles” with virtual snow skiing experience.
— UK retailer John Lewis used VR headsets as part of a Christmas promotion last year.
Ikebukuro, a Japanese retailer, features a virtual dressing room in their stores.
Adidas is piloting 2 VR options. The first is the Body Kinectizer which scans your body and allows you to find the right store-984393__180size and see how a garment will look on you. Cyber Fit is their virtual dressing room.
eBay introduced a VR app and virtual dressing room in Australia.
Avenue Imperial is a business that creates virtual shopping experiences for retailers. As we saw with real estate, a whole new industry is emerging to design and develop VR shopping experiences.

The website eMarketer recommends retailers, “start thinking about and preparing for virtual reality….sooner rather than later.” VR will be involved in the future of retail. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.

The Common Deimage-30nominator

Both the affordability of VR accessories such as headsets and the rapid proliferation of VR apps and content, is behind the explosion in VR usage. With increased usage and improved technology come more opportunities for virtual realities in every phase of our lives, including healthcare, travel, leisure and education, as well as in marketing and sales opportunities. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.

Geek Tech Branding can help you obtain the materials to adapt VR technology in your business. We offer a large variety of headsets at every price point. They have seen a 400% increase in sales of custom printed virtual reality headsets in the past 6 months alone and trending upwards from there in the past 6 weeks.

How will your organization utilize the power and impact of virtual reality in the next few years?

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About the author:

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Applications for the Travel Industry (Part 5 of 6)

Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in the Travel and Resort Industry

In our previous posts, we explored the use of VR in education, health care, and real estate. Today, we turn our attention to the travel industry.

Imagine you are traveling overseas for the first time. You’ll encounter new airports, new cities, different languages. You’re excited, but also a little nervous. But what if you could make a “trial run”? Navigate the airport, walk the city streets, step inside your hotel room? You might feel more confident when you begin you trip.

This is not as far-fetcpexels-photo-123318-largehed as it sounds. The travel industry is beginning to adapt Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help travelers plan and prepare their trips of a lifetime.
A World of Opportunity

Until recently, the travel industry has been slow to adopt VR technology, which means there is a huge opportunity right now for early adapters. Relatively new technologies such as the Oculus Rift, GoPro, and drones make VR a viable and attractive options for anyone in the travel industry.

Use of VR technology in travel is not meant to replace physical travel with virtual travel. Rather, the goal is to market travel opportunities and entice consumers to travel more or to enhance their travel experience.

flying-people-sitting-public-transportation-mediumTravel Uses for VR

Experts see two major areas for the application of VR in the travel industry. One is travel inspiration. This demonstrates possible trips and excursions available to the traveler. Secondly, VR provides a demonstration of travel options such as hotel rooms, conference and exhibit space, dining, views, settings and amenities, and other options.

Travel Inspiration and Marketing

A few businesses already employ VR to market vacations, destinations, and experiences.

Thomas Cook: The tour operator, with offices in Belgium, Germany, and the UK, developed their “Try Before You Fly” VR program to entice consumers back into their brick and mortar stores. Recently, they filmed VR material in Egypt and mailed brochures along with cardboard goggles to targeted clients.
Marriott: The hotel chain is using VR as part of their “Travel Brilliantly” program. They offer 3 virtual experiences to market their travel destinations. They call these VR Post Cards.
Qantus: The Australian airline provides first class travelers VR experiences of Australia.
Destination BC: Offers VR experiences of various locations in British Columbia.

end-of-the-travel-1449763Travel Demonstration

There are endless possibilities for VR usage in demonstrating travel options and in the booking process.

— airlines and rail travel: demonstration of aircraft cabin or rail cars, seat selection, demonstration of business lounges.
— Hotels: demonstration of rooms, exhibit space, room selection, views, amenities and add-on services.
— Airports and train stations: provide an experience of the whole process including info desks, checkimage-29-in, security, shops, lounges, gates, boarding, transfers.
— Conference and exhibition centers: demonstration of meeting rooms, conference rooms, and exhibition space.

The travel industry is in the early stages of VR adoption, so there is a great deal of opportunity for travel agents and tour operators. Geek Tech Branding can provide you with affordable VR headsets for your organization to give to future guests and travelers. Check out our website for more information. We wrap our series in the next installment with a look at VR applications in the retail industry.

About the authorMonthly Newsletter:

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Usage in Real Estate (Part 4 of 6)

Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in Real Estate

In the first 3 parts of this 6 part series, we discussed the basics of Virtual Reality (VR) and how it is used in education, training, and healthcare. Today we look at applications for VR in the real estate industry.

Imagine your job transfers you overseas. You need to find a new place to live, but you can’t take off a couple weeks to look fovirtual-reality-1237523__180r a house. What would you do? In the future, you might find yourself virtually touring homes in Europe from the office of a real estate agent in the United States. It might seem far-fetched, but this is only one of the many ways VR may impact how we buy homes. From the design process, to marketing, to house hunting….things are about to get virtual.

Virtual House Hunting

Sotheby’s International Reality is one of the first real estate groups to employ Virtual Reality. They currently use Samsung Gear VR to sell luxury homes. Agents can lead a tour remotely with clients all over the world. Home buyers have the convenience of touring several homes via VR to narrow down choices for actual visits.

Currently, this process works best with high-end homes or large developments because the cost of scanning homes for VR is quite expensive. However, experts believe VR tours will trickle down to lower cost homes in 5 years.open-house-1163357__180

Benefits of VR for Real Estate

Virtual tours are not the only beneficial application of VR for the real estate industry. Developers, designers, and architects use VR to design homes, businesses, subdivisions, and retail outlets. Then VR allows them to share their vision with clients in a more meaningful manner. Clients virtually walk through the designed space and experience how it will function for them.

This is especially beneficial when selling units in new developments that are in the initial stages of construction. Agents at the new Luma condominium development in Seattle employed VR to show units to potential buyers. Previously they relied on blueprints to pre-sell units.

In fact, an entirely new type of business is emerging to provide virtual real estate content. Both Studio 216 and Virtual Xperience develop virtual tours of existing homes and planned developments. They even use drones to show buyers the views from their potential condo.

VR also provides a method of staging empty properties and customizing the space to the buyer’s needs. Often buyers have difficulty visualizing how an empty space will function. VR allows agents and developers a way to fully demonstrate how the property will look.

Another keys-1310919application involves what some agents call “problem properties” that need renovation or repairs. Agents, contractors, and interior designers use VR to demonstrate improvements and remodeling.
Real estate agencies use VR to supplement marketing strategies. Agents can lead presentations from any location. VR presentations offer convenience and efficient use of time for both agents and buyers. Offering virtual presentations gives agents an advantage over the competition.
Easier Access

There are a couple of factors driving the implementation of VR in real estate.

Affordable headsets. Cardboard headsets are now available in a wide price range aimage-28nd prices continue to drop for higher quality VR headsets. Most real estate agencies can purchase several dozen headsets for clients to use for under $15 each. Clients can also purchase their own to use at home when searching for properties online with your logo on them. Geek Tech Branding offers a large selection of VR headsets that can be custom printed with your agency’s name or logo.
iOS and Android compatibility. With economical headset choices, clients and agents can utilize their own tablets, phones, and other devices to view properties and developments.

These two developments make VR more accessible to the general public and to smaller agencies. Very soon you’ll begin to notice real estate agencies near you adopting VR technology. In our next installment, we’ll discuss VR applications in the travel industry. See you then!
Monthly Newsletter

About the author:
Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.
Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.