Virtual reality has long since been used as an experiential medium to provide experiences impractical or otherwise infeasible within the limits of real life. Across multiple stages of business sales cycles, both in B2B and B2C, trends are emerging across a vast array of industries, including retail, architecture, gaming, film & TV, real estate, and many, many more. The question is, what roles does VR play in optimsing, and even altering, sales cycles across these sectors?
In short, VR provides a means for companies to design and present concepts to potential clients in a means which is displayed in the next best method to real life usage or viewing. While not a widespread trend among businesses yet, there is a significant number of early adopters spread across the world using this tool to either flip the traditional sales model or increase the probability of closing a sale.
In the first example of flipping the traditional model, an interesting series of case studies have been identified within real estate. In the traditional sales model of a real estate agency, a firm would acquire a property, list and otherwise advertise the property, prospect for leads, attend viewings, close the sale. In the case of Australian firm, Ray White, whose Queensland branch recently became involved in the VR space, shifted their sales cycle to use virtual reality as a tool to create a higher quality, scaleable property touring system far superior to tradition home tours. The superiority element of VR comes in when analyzing how to make the experience as visually astounding for a potential client as possible, given that purchasing decisions within real estate (especially luxury markets) is experiential in nature. This is obviously a natural medium for VR.
Mr Paul Liddy, an agent with Ray White, affirms that using VR has enabled potential clients to do a virtual walk-through a property and accurately see a clear perspective of space. “A 3D virtual showcase gives the full context of every view, it’s an online experience that lets home buyers move through a property and see it from any angle, the completed showcase can be uploaded to all platforms including realestate.com.au and Domain,” Mr Liddy said. “They’re even being pulled into the social space by Facebook which now allows you to embed interactive 3D files.”
Unlike a traditional video used within the sector, where someone with a camera decides what a potential buyer can see and when, the advantage of virtual reality is it that it can put an online viewer behind the camera. Advanced content can even provide interactivity or customization elements. From this position a potential buyer can navigate a VR recreation of a property for sale, back-track, pause, pan around, zoom in and work out where their furniture will fit. “It’s been an eye opening experience for buyers who don’t have the time or are unable due to geography to inspect the properties. They’ve been able to experience the homes online from overseas and interstate as if they’re physically there” Mr Liddy said.
Another example of virtual reality disrupting traditional sales cycles lies within the architecture space. While a similar sales process exists within architecture, as well as a similar value derived from VR, what makes it unique in this space along with any creative industry business for that matter, is that VR provides a more intricate way of designing and presenting a completely novel concept that does not yet exist in the real world.
VR allows architects and general creative designers to create buildings and products intuitively in 3D space around them, according to the director of visualisation studio VRtisan. Technology is already on the market which couples VR software with hand-held motion controllers, offers designers “a completely new tool,” according to Ekke Piirisild of VRtisan. “It’s a whole new way of designing,” Piirisild told Dezeen. “It allows designers to create more convincing scenes by designing while immersed in them.”
Regardless of the industry, the reality is that almost any B2B or B2C business that has some form of creative or experiential medium to its sales process will almost certainly experience disruption in the coming years following the rising level of VR adoption across the world. As both a sales optimisation tool, and even a process re-engineering tool, its easy to understand why. Only time will tell how tangible these impacts will become as adoption continues to spread like wildfire across businesses in the US, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Written by Ryan Beckmand; a passionate advocate behind VR/AR and AI disruption, and founder of Sciosity creating VR simulations and analytics platforms for schools, universities, and high risk industries with clients / partners across both Western Australia and Singapore.
An award-winning tech entrepreneur, Ryan’s awards include Australian Championship & Global Finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, the 2016 GYES Singapore Business Innovation Competition, the top five startups in the Asia Pacific Region at the Talent Unleashed Awards, including other awards in Australia such as Spacecubed Intensify, Ignition Growth, Curtin Accelerate, Australia SMART 100, and more.
IrisVR Inc. 2016. https://irisvr.com/scope
“VR goggles combined with hand-held controllers offers architects “a whole new way of designing”. Dezeen Magazine. 2016. http://www.dezeen.com/2016/05/25/virtual-reality-designing-architects-vrtisan-unreal-engine-htc-vive/
“Why Real Estate Agents Are Flocking To Virtual Reality”. The Urban Devloper. 2016. https://www.theurbandeveloper.com/real-estate-agents-and-virtual-reality/
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