Virtual Reality has a lot of potential uses. It has already been adopted in healthcare, and gaming will almost certainly help push consumer VR headsets forward. It can also be used in manufacturing and design, and Forbes boldly declared that Virtual Reality will save retail. Virtual Reality remains in its infancy, but it has certainly piqued the interest of consumers, business owners, and marketers alike.
Modern fashion retail stores were among the first types of retail outlet to adopt the technology. Headset wearing clients could take front row for catwalk displays, walk through virtual shops, and the technology even has the potential to enable users to virtually try on different outfits to see how they look. Quickly change the colour, the style, and the design of an outfit without having to take dozens of outfits into the fitting rooms.
Almost any type of business could find some meaningful way to incorporate Virtual or Augmented Reality into their business. Holiday companies will be able to provide virtual tours of hotels and locations, while car companies would be able to offer a total experience of the interior of the car, as well as features that enable customers to choose the additional features and extra trim options that they require.
Home Improvement And Other Business Uses
After the fashion industry, the home improvement is arguably the next industry that would truly benefit from offering VR experiences. Users could completely remodel a rendering of their own home, incorporating new design ideas in order to create a new look.
- The customer benefits because they will be able to determine whether certain colours, specific elements, and even total redesigns would look and behave how they want them.
- Designers would benefit because VR enables them to look for potential problems or aspects of the design that need changing.
- The business owner would benefit by being able to reduce costs while potentially improving conversion and revenue rates.
What’s Needed To offer VR And AR
Offering VR to your clients could generate positive results for a business, but business owners can’t simply buy a VR headset and start offering virtual tours. If you are a 3D designer or a developer, then you can buy existing stock 3D images from sites like Best3DModel.com and then use these models to create the immersive, nascent experience that will be required in order to market to your clients.
In order to offer a basic experience, you need 360-degree panoramic footage, software that combines the different components of the virtual reality content, and the end user requires a virtual reality headset. The Google Cardboard viewer may cost less than $20 but it offers a relatively limited experience and is only compatible for use with Android mobile devices and apps created on the Android platform. No matter how affordable the headset is, you should expect to have to provide a headset for use by your visitors too.
Fortunately, there are a number of VR headsets that you can invest in.
- The Cardboard from Google is by far the more affordable, but if you are investing in a single headset or a small number to offer to your visitors and clients, then you should look at more expensive and feature-rich alternatives.
- The Gear VR is a consumer device recently launched by Samsung, is available for approximately $200 and utilises touch controls on the headset in order to control the device.
- The Vive is another consumer option, this time from HTC, but it is partially developed by Valve and is geared primarily towards the Steam gaming platform.
If you are a designer yourself, and you are looking to start your first foray into VR design, then you will need appropriate software. Fortunately, many options for the beginner are free.
- Unreal Engine, Unity, and Cryengine are free or essentially free real time engines.
- Modelling software like Blender and Sculptris are also free.
- Gimp and paint.net offer free image manipulation.
- For sound, you can create files using Audacity
- For free coding you can either use Notepad++ or Visual Studio Community.
Alternatively, you can use professional 3D artists to create the models while developers can create full VR experiences for you.
The Future Of Retail And Business
Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences should be viewed as more than a mere gimmick. An immersive experience is more likely to pull potential clients in, and they will be more engaged with your products and services, as well as with your business as a whole. With that said, the use of this kind of technology is more likely to appeal to a younger and more tech savvy crowd. If you run a clothes shop, are the only one in your area to offer VR shopping, and promote the service well, you can expect to see a growing crowd of affluent, young, and engaged clients coming to try and the technology and to potentially buy your goods.