Future marketers will have a lot of tools for interacting with consumers and getting their brand to stand out in a crowded marketplace. One of these tools, immersive technology, includes the integration of virtual content with consumers’ physical environment to blur the line between the physical and virtual worlds. Marketers need to be aware of how to best engage with consumers, who can access almost limitless information through their digital devices, in the online environment where they regularly search for information, evaluate products, purchase items, and post product reviews. Immersive technology can help reach these consumers in both virtual and physical environments. The three types of immersive technology currently utilized by marketers are augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality allows consumers to interact with digital content that is superimposed in their physical environment. As a result, digital resources are placed throughout the physical world for consumers to interact with in their daily lives. One example of this technology Pokémon Go, is the popular game where individuals catch Pokémon that appear in their physical environment.
IKEA recently launched an augmented reality app that allows consumers to see how IKEA furniture fits and looks in their living space. Having access to this technology is beneficial to both IKEA and consumers. It minimizes the possibility for cognitive dissonance (buyer’s remorse) from purchasing a piece of furniture, assembling it, and finding it does not fit or match the current design of the room. Augmented reality has become so advanced that one application, mTailor has been found to be more accurate in measuring the size of consumers for tailored clothing than an actual in-person tailor. Poushneh and Vasquez-Parraga found augmented reality influenced the experience of consumers using this technology in a retail setting including their perceptions of product quality, satisfaction levels, and willingness to buy. These insights about how augmented reality positively impacts the consumer shopping experience suggest more of this technology will be utilized by brands and consumers in the marketplace moving forward.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality simulates a real-world experience through an interactive virtual environment. There are two types of virtual reality: non-immersive and immersive. Non-immersive virtual reality is displayed through the screen of a device whereas immersive virtual reality involves wearing equipment that allows the consumer to be encompassed by the environment.
Non-Immersive Virtual Reality
Minecraft is a popular videogame where users create their own world through building and editing the surrounding environment. This game can be played individually, or consumers can interact in this world with other consumers online. With more than 238 million copies of the game being sold, it is considered the best-selling video game of all time. Being such a popular game, brands have recently tried to capitalize on the high number of active users regularly participating in this environment. As a result, the parent company of Minecraft has put in barriers to prevent brands from using the platform as a marketing opportunity.
Immersive Virtual Reality
Oculus is a new gaming console that utilizes hand equipment and headgear to immerse consumers in a virtual environment. This gaming console has grown in popularity and consumers feel as though they are actually in the virtual world when playing on Oculus. Recently, Oculus has started testing advertising in their virtual worlds.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Lastly, mixed reality is the place where the virtual and physical worlds coincide. Real and virtual objects are presented together in this environment. One example of this technology is Microsoft’s Hololens, which allows users to wear a headset with lenses that project holograms they can manipulate in their physical environment.
For brands to succeed now and in the future marketers need to be well-versed in emerging trends and digital advancements, such as immersive technology. EKU’s 100% online bachelor of business administration in marketing provides students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to help companies succeed. Students gain valuable experience with cutting-edge communication strategies and digital technology that can be utilized in advertising campaigns as well as turn them into a highly desirable job candidate.
By: Dr. James Robert Blair, Assistant Professor of Marketing
Prepare for the future of digital marketing
Earn your online bachelor’s degree from an accredited university that has been an online education leader for more than 15 years.
Complete the learn more form for more information about earning your Bachelor’s of Business Administration in marketing to give yourself a competitive edge in the job market.
Ayoubi, A. (2017). IKEA launches Augmented Reality Application. Architect. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/ikea-launches-augmented-reality-application_o.
Blair, J. (2019). Book Review: The Fluid Consumer: Next Generation Growth and Branding in the Digital Age. 39(3), 341-345.
Boddy, Z. (2021). Why Minecraft is the greatest game ever made. Windows Central. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://www.windowscentral.com/minecraft-is-the-greatest-game-ever-made.
Correia, T. (2016). The Fluid Consumer: Next Generation Growth and Branding in the Digital Age. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page.
Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. (2009). Affordances and limitations of immersive participatory augmented reality simulations for teaching and learning. Journal of science Education and Technology, 18(1), 7-22.
Grubb, J. (2016). Microsoft bans corporations from using Minecraft as a marketing tool. VentureBeat. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://venturebeat.com/2016/05/31/microsoft-bans-corporations-from-using-minecraft-as-a-marketing-tool/.
Lee, H., Chung, S., & Lee, W. (2013). Presence in virtual golf simulators: the effects of presence on perceived enjoyment, perceived value, and behavioral intention. New Media & Society, 15(6), 930-946.
Milgram, P., & Kishino, F. (1994). A taxonomy of mixed reality visual displays. IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, 77(12), 1321-1329.
Poushneh, A. (2018). Augmented reality in retail: A trade-off between user’s control of access to personal information and augmentation quality. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 41, 169-176.
Poushneh, A., & Vasquez-Parraga, A. (2017a). Customer dissatisfaction and satisfaction with augmented reality in shopping and entertainment. Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction & Complaining Behavior, 30, 97-118.
Poushneh, A., & Vasquez-Parraga, A. (2017b). Discernible impact of augmented reality on retail customer’s experience, satisfaction and willingness to buy. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 34, 229-234.
Rochlen, L., Levine, R., & Tait, A. (2017). First person point of view augmented reality for central line insertion training: A usability and feasibility study. Simulation in healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 12(1), 57.
Soliman, M., Peetz, J., & Davydenko, M. (2017). The impact of immersive technology on nature relatedness and pro-environmental behavior. Journal of Media Psychology. 29(1), 8-17/
Suh, A., & Prophet, J. (2018). The state of immersive technology research: A literature analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 86, 77-90.
Oculus. (2021). Testing in-headset VR ADS. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://www.oculus.com/blog/testing-in-headset-vr-ads/.
Wojciechowski, R., & Cellary, W. (2013). Evaluation of learners’ attitude toward learning in ARIES augmented reality environments. Computers & Education, 68, 570-585.