Home » Business » Digital Transformation » What Changes Will VR bring to Business over the Next Five Years?
After twenty years spent emerging into the mainstream, the coming half decade looks set to be a defining period for virtual reality.
Now cutting-edge technology is gathering real speed, and this has blown open the potential of VR to shape the commercial landscape and drive future enterprise.
While ecommerce profits have been steadily increasing since the turn of the 21st century, research finds that 85 per cent of consumers still actually prefer to walk around in real shops. Building on this, 71 per cent of consumers would rather buy from an Amazon store instead of through the website.
Other annoyances suffered by online shoppers include waiting for deliveries to arrive and the lack of professional advice on products. Meanwhile, the retailers have to grin and bear the financial sting caused by free returns policies, while gratis shipping really squeezes SMEs that struggle to compete at the best of times; between 12 and 20 per cent of small ecommerce company revenues go towards handling and shipping orders.
VR could really go a long way to solving some of these issues, if methods like those pioneered by IKEA are followed through to their logical conclusion. In 2013, the Swedish home furnishings giant enabled shoppers to fill out their rooms using an augmented reality app. Items were selected from a catalogue and then placed in the users’ homes so that they could get a precise idea of how things would look in real life.
The methodology has been taken one step further by Australian department store, Myer, who launched the world’s first VR department store, in partnership with eBay. After putting on a headset, customers are given full information and 360 degree views of all products available.
With full-rotation viewing now implemented on Facebook and YouTube videos, users can now get closer than ever before to products and services that businesses offer.
On the enterprise side of the coin, this opens a whole new world of opportunity for marketers and brands in terms of how the business and the consumer will be able to interact in future.
The success of online retailers is measured by how well and accurately they can communicate a product as it works and feels in the flesh. Short of inventing a teleport machine, VR will take this dynamic to a new level, affording an immersive, attractive and highly impactful demonstration of targeted products.
Always on the sharp edge of marketing, McDonald’s Sweden released Google Cardboard last year, enabling customers to refashion their Happy Meal box into a pair of goggles for use with a simple VR game, which bannered the promotion’s launch. Leaning further forward, commentators anticipate VR to revolutionise how we interact on the web.
Dell is one of the global brands leading the way with big VR investment so that it can flourish in the business environment.
Through careful application, Dell will be bringing VR creation to the masses, and has shown its hand already through a number of workstations engineered for VR content creation.
Liam Quinn, CTO, Dell Technologies says: “We’ve been talking with many of our customers and partners in this field who have amazing ideas and are more eager than ever for comprehensive technical solutions that are both powerful and accessible.
“We’ve been focused on delivering intelligent and immersive computing experiences for years. Now, there’s a wider market for it, the implications of which are far reaching and yet to be seen.”
Business will undoubtedly take on VR initiatives to greater extents through the coming year, but the culture will continue to be driven by the gaming industry.
The power users in society will provide the best definitions of VR’s uses, and brands that can tap into the trends the gaming market opens up stand to gain most.
At the hot end of development, hype will be considerable around the virtual world, so it must be the concern of businesses to integrate that adventurous possibility into day-to-day functionality to establish a core framework of VR that consumers can get truly excited about.