Using VR to Engage Customers On an Emotional Level: 6 Key Takeaways

That’s not a secret that our life may sometimes fully resemble an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows you just cannot get off.
Bad mood, and the world around you is literally falling apart. And, vice versa, high spirits fill your daily routine with the events that make you dance, spin, and hop of joy.
Emotions can influence not just the nature of our decisions, but the speed at which people make them. According to Cynthia E. Cryder research, depressed or self-focused individuals spend 300% more money for an item than those who are in a good mood. On the other hand, the latter ones prone to spontaneous, previously unplanned purchases.
And while these habits may be ruinous for consumers, they can be highly beneficial for online retailers looking to improve their conversion rates and grow sales.
Related read: Emotionally Intelligent Design: Why You Need It in Your App
Virtual reality is excellent at playing into our emotions.
And though it is still an underexplored medium, VR designers and developers are already knee-deep learning new technologies that will trigger an emotional response from the viewers and spur them to take action.
For inspiration and a better understanding of how emotions play into our decision-making process, VR developers turn to game and film industries. Based on the discovered techniques, they are also inventing completely new ways to draw consumers to products, stir emotions, and make a formidable impact on brand recognition.
To give you a rough idea of what is going on in the VR sphere today, let’s take a closer look at the following takeaways I’ve made after a good bit of research.
1. Virtual reality places the human in the center of the experience, thus creates a feeling of importance and sense of worth
As humans, we all understand pretty well how annoying it is to feel someone else’s reality and views being pushed on you. For example, you scroll your social media feed, and all you can see are ads urging you to buy this or buy that, right now, or you’ll miss, lose, you name it. Much of this stuff does not work at all, as the best decision is the one that is consciously made by you.
Facebook acknowledged it a long time ago and now is ready to provide content creators with an awesome way to share their stories, places, and experiences with their subscribers.

Source: Facebook 360
Watching this video, you feel as if you are participating in the event, as you can turn your head around to see what’s going on.
2. Just like the creation of art, virtual reality involves self-expression
What is great about it is that being involved in the game or video, people feel connected with the experience on a subconscious level.
The feeling of almost childlike delight and naked fear reflected on the faces of first-time VR users, can not be misinterpreted or mixed up with anything else.
And here’s the proof. If you take a look at the video below, you’ll see how scary it is to play the Boogyman VR game.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that the emotions of these grown-ups are 100% pure and unfeigned.
Virtual reality gives the opportunity to experience true to real-life emotions, which makes it so special and so attractive to people nowadays.
Related read: How Gamification in the Workplace Impacts Productivity
3. Changing the camera perspective may turn the viewer into a member of a family or a third-party player
A good part of VR developers and designers are convinced that a third-person camera is the ideal camera setup. This unusual VR experience keeps the viewer constantly immersed in the process and comfortable on long gameplay hours.
It feels like there’s a room for the viewer inside the displayed experience. And it happens in such a natural non-intrusive way that you feel like a part of the game.
Lucky’s Tale adventure game, designed exclusively for the Oculus Rift, provided a super-realistic third-person perspective for the experience.

The Rift creates a higher level of immersion (if not total immersion!) and allows users to experience real-world senses in the VR world.
4. Well-built VR experience works as an emotion intensifier
If you’ve ever had a chance to compare and contrast a common video game and a virtual reality game, then you can clearly understand the sense of presence the latter one gives to you once you put on a VR headset.
This emotion booster is most easily demonstrated with fright. Try playing a horror game in virtual reality, and you’ll see for yourself that it is way scarier than the very same game on TV.
That’s probably the reason why there are so many hilarious videos of people playing horror VR games (scroll up to watch the second video).
It’s just impossible to imitate these reactions, so authentic they are.
5. With such mobile apps as SnapChat and Instagram, we are witnessing the rise of the so-called social VR
Taking our identity and augmenting it through various masks and filters, this novel technology also appeals to emotions and brings us closer together.

Source: ArtPlusMarketing
Virtual reality adds a creative touch to interactions between people, allowing them to express themselves in ways they never had before.
Related read: Virtual and Augmented Reality: New Ways for Your Business
6. The fourth generation of VR & AR will allow for emotion tracking
Anger, fear, scorn, and even a genuine Duchenne smile will be clearly detected by the VR software in the near future. And though this innovative technology is still under development, its benefits are easily predicted.
Facial tracking is the key missing element of virtual reality, and, once added, it will enable face-to-face social experiences, improve communication and interactivity.
Mindmaze, the neurotechnology company, reveals a Mask prototype to capture facial expression in virtual reality. The picture below should give you an idea of how the Mindmaze’s Mask looks like.

Source: MindMaze
It requires a user to wear a clip on their ear and a special conductive gel that will cement the net and some free-hanging wires to their head and transmit facial reactions.
Samsung C-Lab have also introduced the ‘FaceSense’ that will use your face to navigate virtual reality, but the information about this innovation is still very scarce.
While most modern VR applications are centered around entertainment, leading eCommerce solutions like Shopify, X-Cart, and eBay are also taking the first tiny steps towards virtual reality.

Source: X-Cart Facebook Page
Simply put, WebVR lets you create Virtual Reality online stores that you can view using a VR headset.
It is yet to be seen how long it will really take for VR to replace the eCommerce solutions actively used nowadays.
However, these new apps are the perfect opportunity for eCommerce merchants to test this new promising VR technology and get onboard before it goes mainstream.
Related read: Retail Business Goes Mobile: How to Create a Good Retail App?
Over to you
Though virtual reality is a relatively new and underexplored territory, it is already bringing new exciting experiences to our lives.
It touches upon our emotions through VR horror games and creates a fertile ground for self-expression with AR photo filters.
All in all, this new technology lets us live our lives to the fullest and experience deeper feelings that we had never sensed before.
Have you ever had an opportunity to dive into the VR world? What emotions did you feel?
This is a guest post by Helen Golubeva. Helen is a storyteller at X-Cart eCommerce shopping cart. Addicted to yoga, interested in philosophy, and totally mad about copywriting. I love to use the power of words to inspire people and help them grow their eCommerce businesses.

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