Virtual Reality for your website

Gary Parker
November 1, 2018
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According to industry experts, virtual reality (VR) will be a  $30 billion market by 2020. And while the technology is already part of the marketing strategy for global brands like IKEA, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola there are ways to take advantage of this trend and use VR for your small business right now.

Tip 1. Make a 360 video.

360 videos capture everything around the operator, allowing those watching to feel a full interaction. If you’re watching this kind of video from your smartphone, you can move your device and the picture in the video will move as well, just like you were there. If you use a VR Headset, you can move the image while you’re moving your head - like in real life. If you’re watching from the laptop or computer, the video can be moved by simply dragging it via touchpad or mouse.

Because the 360 experience is still pretty new, these videos usually get more attention than regular videos and some companies are already using 360 videos for branding purposes, making immersive interviews, test drives, tours and other kinds of content that can be viewed via computer, phone or VR headset.

Making a professional 360 video is not as simple as using your smart phone and to do it properly you will need a special camera and editing software. Or, if you’re not into shooting and editing yourself, you can hire a company to do it for you.

Tip 2. Google Cardboard.

Google Cardboard is the most popular and affordable VR headset you can buy online.

Some companies have started to produce their own cardboards with a branded logo, and you can as well. If you create a 360 video, you can double the brand experience through branded cardboard viewing.

Even if you don't create videos, you can still reach a tech-savvy audience by branding headsets. The New York Times took it a step further by giving cardboards away. Prices for branded Google Cardboards vary depending on material, colours and the quantity of the order but usually range anywhere between $1 and $10 per 1,000 pieces. Search for “branded Google cardboards” to find manufacturers.

Tip 3. Turn your packaging into VR glasses.

You can also create your own cardboard headset out of your packaging like McDonald’s did. For its thirtieth birthday, the company launched “Happy Goggles”, a Happy Meal box that transformed into VR cardboard glasses. The project was launched in Sweden and received great acclaim.

Coca-Cola did the same with packaging for Coke that transformed into VR glasses. For the NBA playoffs, Budweiser developed a special branded packaging based on VR headset. This meant their customers received both beer and VR headsets to watch VR content at the same time.

Tip 4. Create a VR game.

Games have been broadly used by small and big businesses to support brand and customer engagement. Some restaurants and cafes provide branded arcades, where clients can earn points they can use to redeem discounts. Disney and other entertainment companies created games related to cartoons, movies and popular characters.

You too can create a game in VR. It can be a simple arcade with your branding, like McDonald’s did by launching a VR Game called Slope Stars that allows you to have a skiing experience and earn points. Or it can be an advanced game directly dedicated to your brand like IKEA has done. The IKEA VR experience lets you walk around the IKEA Kitchen where you can open doors and explore the space. IKEA even added the ability to cook their world famous meatballs in the VR kitchen.

Tip 5. Use a VR app.

VR apps are available for customers to use right now. Car manufacturers create a VR experience in their showrooms where customers can walk around, look at cars and even take a test drive. To support the movie, “The Walk”, Sony Pictures released an app where you could experience the feeling of walking a tightrope stretched in between Word Trade Centre towers.

VR may be relatively immature, but it’s already opening opportunities for new and existing businesses. And even though current technologies are still a step or two away from breaking into mass market, now is a great time to start paying attention to the world of VR so you can master the tools, and build brand loyalty before your competition does.