COMPANY X is an established blueberry grower located in the beautiful state of Oregon. He just received private equity funding to expand his blueberry business globally. Company X has never done business on a global scale and is keen to learn global best practices from its blueberry supplier, a global leader in providing the best blueberry genetics, plants and technical support in the industry to blueberry growers around the world. whole world. Company X knows that growing conditions in blueberry regions outside of the United States, such as Peru or Spain, differ significantly from conditions in Oregon. The owner of Company X comes back and reflects, “How can I quickly visit our supplier’s global nurseries, see how their blueberry plants grow in different countries and in different climates, and find out what kind of producer support they provide in different blueberry regions of the country. world?”
Company X is worried that this is a huge company and calls their blueberry supplier for advice. Company X is delighted to discover the supplier’s innovative new program called LABVAR (“Learn more about blueberries in virtual and augmented reality”). This new program requires Company X staff to put on virtual reality / augmented reality (VR / AR) headsets to virtually visit supplier facilities and other customers’ blueberry fields. VR / AR also allows Company X to visualize various options to create a new blueberry farm from scratch, including planting the actual field, with, for example, proper spacing between blueberry plants. The LABVAR program is also linked to the supplier’s digital customer community, where blueberry growers and subject matter experts exchange ideas and help each other solve each other’s challenges. The president of Company X is thrilled and tells his management team, “Wow, our supplier is amazing. We will be able to develop globally! “
Does this sound like science fiction? Not at all. VR / AR is set to become one of the most disruptive technologies over the next decade. Global VR / AR spending is expected to accelerate after the COVID-19 pandemic, from $ 12 billion in 2020 to $ 75 billion in 2024 to $ 1.5 trillion in 2030. Among the opinion leaders of many industries, applying VR / AR to sales and marketing is the norm today.
USE CASE FOR VR / AR
There are many applications in retail:
- The Ikea’s Place app takes advantage of AR by allowing customers to digitally place furniture in their homes to ensure that the furniture is the right size, design, and functionality.
- Home Depot’s Project Color app takes advantage of AR and allows buyers to see what a paint color will look like in their home; it takes into account the lighting, physical objects and shadows in a room.
- Jack Daniels incorporates virtual reality into its product offering whereby customers get virtual tours of the distillery, allowing them to take a close look at the whiskey making process.
- Warby Parker’s Virtual Try-On AR app, Sephora’s Virtual Artist AR tool, and Gucci AR app allow customers to virtually try out their products (eyewear, cosmetics and shoes, respectively).
The technology also finds uses in finance:
- Citibank’s AR app enables financial traders to make financial decisions by viewing real-time financial data, including stock index trends.
- The Fidelity Labs VR app makes it easy and secure for clients to manage their equity portfolios.
- Capital One’s Auto Navigator app makes buying a new car easy; users virtually visit a car dealership or point to any car on the street for pricing and other financial information.
- BNP Paribas Real Estate’s VR app allows real estate investors to meet brokers and take a virtual tour of a property anywhere in the world.
And VR / AR is a natural fit for the travel industry:
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) encourages users to don a VR headset to enter ANA’s futuristic holodeck on the front of their 777 aircraft.
- Virgin Holiday harnesses virtual reality for potential guests to experience their magnificent resort in Mexico digitally.
(To read the full use case for each of these examples, go to the VR / XR / AR Resource Center for Business and Business.)
WHY VR / AR IS STARTING NOW
There are four reasons for the explosion of VR / AR sales and marketing applications:
- Digital transformation. VR / AR applications take digital transformation to the next level.
- Digital customers. VR / AR applications help create the memorable experiences customers expect.
- Innovative leadership. Executives who focus on cutting edge technology wow their customers, like the president of Company X. (“Our supplier is amazing!”)
- Financial impact. VR / AR applications drive new customer sales and reduce customer support costs.
Now is the time to create and / or implement your AR / VR strategy. Start by asking these questions: Where could VR / AR have the greatest impact in my organization – customer acquisition, customer retention, or customer growth? How will my colleagues and I learn more about the “art of the possible” in VR / AR? What resources, internal or external, will we need to make VR / AR a reality in our business? How will AR / VR applications integrate with our existing customer-facing technologies, such as our digital customer community or our CRM system?
And here are three things I ask you to remember:
- The main reason that customers will continue to do business with your business is because you make it easier for you to do business with your business. VR / AR is a game-changer and a key element in achieving this goal.
- VR / AR is already a major tool for sales and marketing; its future use and impact will continue to soar.
- Stay healthy and eat your blueberries!
Barton Goldenberg ([email protected]) is President of ISM (www.ismguide.com). Since 1985, ISM has established itself as a leading strategic advisor to organizations seeking to create and execute world-class client strategies. He is a thought leader and in high demand as a keynote speaker (www.bartongoldenberg.com) and is the author of four books, including his latest, The definitive guide to social CRM. To continue the dialogue, call Barton at 301-656-8448.