A virtual nature reserve has been launched at the Trafford Centre allowing Manchester shoppers the chance to get up close and personal with lions, elephants and giraffes.

The 360 degree virtual reality experience comes from Wild Immersion, a VR film specialist, and aims to reconnect people with the natural world. The experience has been endorsed by anthropologist and chimpanzee expert Dame Jane Goodall, in order to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and to inspire visitors to think about their impact on the planet.

VR has been around for a while and whilst it has made an impact – the results of a study announced this week, for example, show that VR can help people manage their pain such as during childbirth or following an operation – it still hasn’t been adopted by the majority. However, experts believe that the process of diffusion is speeding up and it is thought that over the next five years VR will become increasingly mainstream as organisations embrace the possibilities of a more immersive experience for their customers. This is particularly true for travel companies, automotive brands and retailers. Not to mention charities, the medical sector and hospitality firms.

The benefits of an immersive experience is that it is proven to build trust with customers by helping them feel more connected to the brand. Trust is a critical factor for brands, but Edelman’s Global Trust Survey shows that brands need to do a better job at winning customer trust. Currently only 34 per cent of consumers trust most of the brands they use. Trust is important because consumers turn to brands first when making purchasing decisions, are more loyal to trusted brands and will advocate and defend the brand’s reputation when necessary.

There are many ways that brands are looking to implement VR into their customer experience – from installations at retail stores through to downloadable apps or AR enabled print. However, the key to successful VR lies in the data.

Firstly understanding what you are actually trying to achieve with the customer. Who is the end customer? How are they engaged? What do you want the outcome to be? Furthermore, capturing usage data enables an understanding of the ROI and overall success of the campaign.

As we often see with new technologies, often brands jump on the bandwagon without having a clear appreciation of the benefits. However, taking a data-led approach to VR means it can turned from something of a gimmick to a powerful tool that empowers business delivery.

If you want to know and understand more about the way data is changing the world you live in, or would like to know how data can add value to your business, please email me at david.gurney@alchemetrics.co.uk


Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.