Not really bored, just looking for new experiences. Idle hands, you know.

The new trend in 2016 is the use of virtual reality technology instead of just plain old video and audio advertising. New technology even makes it possible to include taste and smell to the 3D-touch and visual, sensorial experience, which creates an effect that is like ACTUALLY going to a store to shop! Brands are making immersive virtual reality tours to allow customers to move around a store and try the products. Some retailers are making the social media experience more interactive as well, asking virtual shoppers to record real-time reviews and reactions to products. Google has even developed an “affordable” way to experience virtual reality on tablets and smartphones–Google Cardboard. Google Cardboard (actually made of cardboard) is a virtual reality platform that is a fold-out mount adapted for a mobile phone to experience VR as if you had on real VR goggles.

The “goggles” are available in varying forms and start at about $10. And no, it’s not a joke; although many initially thought it was. The cardboard viewer and the mobile app are available in more than 100 countries and 39 languages. YouTube is also jumping on the bandwagon, creating what they say will be the world’s largest virtual reality content library. You can test out the technology by tapping the new Google Cardboard icon on a VR video and dropping your phone into the cardboard viewer to see a “TOMS Shoes Giving Trip” or the “Hunger Games Experience,” Companies will be able to upload VR content onto YouTube, or on their own websites. With the new, cheap, viewer and the Youtube platform, VR technology will finally break out of the small world of demonstrations at trade shows, and the general public will get a chance to experience virtual reality shopping and advertising. Even AUDI announced that they will be installing HTC Vive VR units in most of their flagship stores in 2016, allowing customers to take virtual test drives.

Multi-sensory stimulation creates a more engaging, enriched environment for the brain and central nervous system. The more engaged our brains are, the better we remember a product or experience. With the development of multi-sensory technologies, we can find more creative ways to stimulate the senses and make people love a product or brand. These experiences generate social shares, engagement, and great PR.


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