But let’s not beat around the bush: shopping in the post-coronavirus ‘new normal’ is going to feel very different. With social distancing set to be in place for the foreseeable future, industries from retail to property, hospitality and travel have been forced to rethink their marketing model.
This is especially the case for big-ticket purchases that are often associated with a lengthy customer journey. How can you sell a property or a sofa to a customer if it’s trickier for them to see it in-person?
Use VR and AR to bring your brand to life
Here’s where virtual reality and augmented reality technologies can really prove their value. By using VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) in your marketing strategy, you can give customers an up-close-and-personal sense of your products or services in a way that’s safe and convenient for them.
As lockdown came into effect across the world, brands had to quickly rethink how to showcase their products to customers. Take the example of sports brand Asics. Three new shoes had been in the works for over a year, and were set to be unveiled at a glitzy, big-budget media launch in Japan, timed to coincide with the Tokyo Marathon. However, as countries around Asia went into lockdown, closely followed by Europe, then nations across the world, Asic’s marketing team had to think on their feet to get the new shoes in front of customers.
Enter VR. Content was quickly developed that showcased the shoes in a high-tech lab, with users prompted to complete a series of games to highlight each shoe’s unique features. VR headsets were sent to journalists across the world, many of whom were now stuck at home and eager for creative content from brands. Through a combination of gamification and cutting-edge VR technology, delivered in a flash, Asics was able to reinvent the product launch
The digital layer
With almost all consumers being in lockdown for months, the ability to put smartphones and tablets down has become non-existent. Looking through these digital windows, everyone has been gazing at the world that was and the world as it’s becoming – this is the ‘digital layer’.
The consumer’s view of the world is now completely augmented with this digital layer in a way that most thought would take another five years to have such an effect. It’s happened in three months.
This new layer offers brands a great opportunity to be a part of the consumer’s life like never before, delivering digital content to them and attracting eyeballs, wherever they are in their purchase journey.
Embrace the new normal
This post-coronavirus world is an opportunity for retailers to totally rethink how we interact with customers, putting their convenience (and of course, safety) at the heart of their shopping experience.
The coming months could see the emergence of stores dedicated to contactless shopping. Shoppers could browse the store – either physically or through VR – tag the items they want, then collect their order at the door on the way out, using virtual payment methods. Not only does this option potentially save time for shop floor staff, it reduces human-to-human contact during the purchase journey, thereby protecting the safety of your customers and colleagues.
Think outside the headset
VR is an ideal tool for innovative marketers looking to engage with their customers in this new normal, but your creative thinking doesn’t have to stop there. Could this post-coronavirus world actually provide an opportunity for your brand to radically rethink your marketing strategy, using fresh thinking to connect with your customers in totally different ways?
Customer journeys will likely look pretty different in this world of the ‘new normal’. How can you engage them beyond the traditional purchase journey, instead creating content that gets them excited and inspired, well before they feel ready to make a purchase?
Whether it’s setting up a VR showroom for your property developments, gamifying your product launches or sending customers low-cost print materials teamed with an AR app so that they can engage with products in their own home for a whole new interior design layout featuring your furniture, get creative with your marketing to bring your brand right in front of your customers’ eyes.
Did you know that we’ve worked with a number of brands on AR and VR technology? Get in touch with us on 0191 375 9150 to find out how we can bring creative marketing strategies to your business.