Over 8 million 2020 graduates joined together from home for a livestream commencement speech headlined by former President and Mrs. Obama. Over 12 million players logged in to Fortnite to join Travis Scott on a beach where he performed his new single, “Astronomical.” In Denmark, 500 tickets sold out in minutes when a drive-in concert featuring Mads Langer was announced with just six days’ notice.
Despite current restrictions, people still crave engaging experiences. Although those experiences look different today than they did four months ago, experiential is an adaptable medium. Social distancing measures and curbside commerce are being implemented in physical spaces, and virtual experiences are becoming standard. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of VR, AR, and livestream experiences in culture and commerce.
In 2020, retailers are expected to spend $1.5 billion on developing VR and AR technologies dedicated toward immersive commerce and shoppertainment. A technology that was once seen as niche and non-essential is now indispensable. Several brands and retailers are getting creative with how they use this technology to surprise and delight consumers via immersive experiences:
- Luxury retailer Prada enabled shoppers the opportunity to look into stores to view their 2020 collection from home through VR on several popular platforms.
- In response to the increase in home improvement purchases, Etsy introduced an augmented reality tool to help users visualize art, photos, and prints in their homes.
- Stella Artois delivered beer and popcorn while projecting exclusive movies on building walls in Mexico. They locked in exclusive streaming rights with a popular cinema brand, so shoppers received a watch code with their Stella purchase. Attendees were able to interact via a livestream on their mobile phones.
So what does this mean to other brands and retailers? They should consider implementing AR, VR, and livestream experiences. With 40% of people willing to pay more for a product if they are able to experience it first through augmented reality, it is an essential medium for future proofing brand and retail planning. These virtual experiences have the power to create better shopping and entertainment for consumers while simultaneously reducing operating costs for retailers.
Submitted by: Brooke Hollander, Senior Strategist, Integer Los Angeles
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