What is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and even more important, what is the difference between them? Virtual Reality is entirely immersive where the user wears a headset and enters a “world” where virtual objects will surround them on a screen. The user sees new information but isn’t fully engaged in an alternate reality. For example, Augmented Reality displays images, text, and information on devices, like Pokémon Go.
VR isn’t used just for games, though. It has become a vital tool for the medical industry and the military, too. Surgeons utilize VR to plan their actions in a complicated operation. The military uses VR for training soldiers for combat situations.
So, what does this mean to a small business? Investing in this useful technology that is evolving fast in this post-pandemic world because if we weren’t digital-minded consumers before, we are now! AR/VR is a way to expand your customer base AND effectively train your employees.
Why is this essential? Because the global market is dominated by AR and VR products, there is no indication that it will change anytime soon. In fact, by 2024, experts in the industry are expecting the global market to reach an annual growth rate of over 150%.
During the mandatory quarantine caused by COVID-19, static websites became more evident as more of us lived our lives online. AR, VR, or a mixture of the two are an easy fix when in-store, in-shop experiences can be done through a virtual version, allowing a small business with a unique, regional experience to be available anywhere for the first time.
Is Going For Broke Necessary?
No! AR/VR doesn’t require a huge budget. You can be creative in enhancing your business’s operations and customer’s experience in a few different “try it before you buy it” ways:
Enhance your business cards with an embedded AR functionality that your networking contacts can scan and interact with added components. This can include digital features that are as simple as the CEO talking about the business, or you can go more complex with a mini-game or tout your full product lines with an interactive view, like a realtor giving a 3D tour of a house, a car salesperson talking through the features of a car as they are displayed, or even a fashion or hairstylist showing different looks and styles for you personally. And this can all be done from the comfort of home.
Remote Recruiting, Safety Training, and More
AR and VR aren’t just tools for small businesses, though! VR has proven to be successful in recruiting and safety training, too. With VR headsets, employees can interact with a virtual copy of the work environment to get that hands-on experience without risking their safety or the equipment. And with recruiting, VR has allowed hiring managers to expand the pool of candidates and prospective employees outside their set locations by providing an immersive experience and tour of the facilities and offices for a first-hand view of the culture and work environment.
This technology allows candidates to visualize working in that specific environment and how their role will fit within the company without being physically present. In both aspects, this technology is money-saving for a small business.
For Retailers and Others
With the virtual shopping this technology brings, retailers will see fewer returns. When VR is used in-store, a shopper can scan a product and have instant information on an item. Most customers are excited about AR’s novelty in stores, which will improve any brand’s reputation.
For business, albeit the in-person experience isn’t the same if an employee desires a “sidebar” conversation with the presenter, the aspect of fewer travel expenses is enticing for a company. This minimizes time away from their family by eliminating week(s) of required on-site training for employees.