Boosting sales with virtual reality

Investing into virtual reality as part of a marketing strategy is rather costly. However, new research suggests the investment could be paying off in brand affinity and increased purchases.

Boosting sales with virtual reality

Greenlight VR made a survey involving 1,300 adults to find out that 71 percent of consumers feel that through the glasses of VR brands seem "forward-thinking and modern." And the story is not merely about appearance, it can effect brands' bottom lines too: 53 percent of respondents said they'd be more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR than from one that doesn't.

Numerous brands from multiple indutries have been trying out virtual reality. Last year, The North Face used a virtual dog-sledding experience to help sell winter coats in South Korea. This spring, during South by Southwest, McDonald's developed an HTC Vive experience that let users paint their own Happy Meal boxes.

"We're seeing specific VR activities have unique emotional footprints, offering fascinating insights for those who are considering their VR strategies," said Steve Marshall, svp of research and consulting for Greenlight VR. "For example, among our sample, watching a live broadcast event in virtual reality generates significantly higher ratings of positive emotions such as 'happy' and 'energetic' when compared with playing a VR video game."

And the direct utilization doesn’t necessarily have to have an effect on customer appreciation. Even those who have never experienced VR had good things to say about the development, with 91 percent reporting positive feelings after watching an informational video about it. Among those who haven't tried VR, 65 percent were interested, 32 percent were surprised at what it could do, 25 percent felt "happy" and 58 percent reported being "amazed."

The VR industry could be in the midst of its first $1 billion year, according to a report from Deloitte Global, with around $700 million coming from hardware sales and the rest coming from content.

"Greenlight VR has been researching consumer sentiment toward virtual reality since 2014, and this is our most conclusive study yet, tying together attitudes and intended action with branded experience exposure," wrote Greenlight VR CEO Clifton Dawson. "If the recent success of Pokemon Go isn't enough, this data provides concrete evidence to marketers who are currently designing for the new experience economy."