Virtual reality is no longer science fiction. Before you flip the page and move on to the next article, don’t be too quick to think this topic doesn’t apply to you and your business. The idea of virtual and augmented reality is quickly becoming mainstream. What used to be only a dream in some geek’s cubicle or a movie producer’s imagination is increasingly becoming the norm.

Chris Rainey

The proof is in the pudding as they say— just look at Pokemon Go. It became the most downloaded app ever in both the App Store and Google Play on the first day of its release. Whether you agree with its content or not, it speaks to a larger movement—one your customers are embracing at a rapid pace. The ability to mix and meld virtual worlds with the real world is being adopted. The popularity of this app may fade, but it has proven without a doubt that virtual and augmented reality just became mainstream. Businesses have huge opportunities to get into the game.

And then consider the VR Bible (http:// www.bible-vr.com). According to their website, their goal is to revolutionize the way we learn about the Bible, especially for children and young adults. The company creates faith-based content via virtual reality tech for both education and entertainment, allowing users to experience events instead of just reading about them. Users will be able to feel and see the parting of the Red Sea while being chased by the Egyptian armies, experience the fall of Jericho, and see the rise of David or Solomon. The VR platform also allows for spiritual growth by providing VR prayer rooms.

Not only are apps being created for gaming and virtual global and biblical geography tours, but churches like Craig Groeschel’s Life Church are building web platforms for churches to provide virtual church services. Obviously, the idea of developing your own app or buying video equipment to create a virtual experience is most likely not a consideration. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of apps and virtual/ augmented reality experiences.

NEXT STEPS

1. Facebook 360 is a quick, easy, and great option to start publishing photos and videos that provide a more immersive experience. As your video plays, your audience can experience and interact with it. They can turn their device or drag their finger to move around the video and explore every angle. Discover and learn more about this Facebook feature by going to https://facebook360.fb.com/.

2. Provide a virtual tour of your store. Show your customers what it’s like to shop your store before they even set foot inside of the doors. Think about the different departments of your store; for example, you could feature videos of your wall decor and help customers understand how it may look hanging on their walls.

3. Demo or highlight a new product. Feature an in-store event through a virtual experience. The uses and opportunities to tap into the fast-growing virtual and augmented reality applications are only going to continue to grow. From retailers and publishers to content creators, there’s plenty of room to collaborate and develop strategies that raise awareness of products and drive new and more customers into stores.

Change continues and new technologies will push all of us to seek innovative ways to serve our customers. Don’t be afraid to learn, explore, experiment, and go where your customers are already going.