Immersive marketing is one of many fancy buzzwords in the world of e-commerce. Such catchy terms often revolve around strategies that may or may not be revolutionary ideas. It’s just hard to know when to roll your eyes and forget it or start researching a phrase that is set to change the future of online retail.
That’s likely the struggle many have when first hearing about immersive marketing. Yes, it sure does sound cool, but is it just another flashy term lacking true substance? Nope, not by a longshot.
If immersive marketing isn’t already included in your e-commerce vocabulary, go ahead and add it. This marketing strategy is becoming increasingly prevalent as numerous uber-successful brands are thriving as a result of deploying it.
What is Immersive Marketing?
First and foremost, immersive marketing is about creating a unique experience for your audience. Done correctly, immersive marketing is non-traditional, personal, and memorable. It helps create a closer connection between brand and consumer, increasing customer lifetime value. Immersive marketing can be executed in a couple of different ways — digitally or physically.
Digital Immersive Marketing
Digitally, immersive marketing largely revolves around augmented or virtual reality. These technologies are no longer a thing of the future. As many brands are displaying, such an experience is the technology of today.
Savvy marketers are using AR/VR to create an alternative reality that removes the audience from its natural state. It should be fun while providing clear value to the consumer.
Many thriving beauty brands are already providing an effective immersive digital experience. Sephora, for example, uses AR via Facebook Messenger to allow consumers the chance at virtually trying out beauty products.
Nike has used a similar method to creatively announce the release of new shoes. Home Depot jumped way ahead of the competition by providing an AR experience within its app as early as 2015. Today, the home appliances retailer allows customers to preview an item in their house before making a purchase. Clearly, this approach can be applied across a wide variety of niches.
As AR/VR continues to evolve, it will certainly become more accessible to brands of all levels. It won’t just be the Sephora’s, Nike’s, and Home Depot’s of the world with the ability to try immersive marketing digitally.
Physical Immersive Marketing
The physical approach is about going beyond the confines of social media or a mobile app. While Facebook and Instagram are great places for engagement, these platforms don’t have to be the end-all marketing lever you’re pulling. E-commerce brands can go deeper by providing a real-life experience with no smartphones or laptops needed.
Beauty brand Glossier does this with brick-and-mortar locations that serve more as an experience than a place for sales. The same is true for surging CBD brand Recess with its New York popup and partnered events.
These aren’t meant to be much more than connection builders. It’s about e-commerce stores overcoming the inherently impersonal nature of the business. Such trips to physical locations often become an intriguing pilgrimage for the most loyal of customers, helping strengthen the relationship and grow the audience.
Immersive marketing is about enhancing the customer experience. It’s not meant to necessarily be a direct, immediate sales opportunity. Think of it as a way to improve connection and develop a real relationship that keeps consumers coming back. This is about making a brand something consumers will invest in because of the positive memories that have been created through immersive marketing. That sort of personal investment will come if a unique and unforgettable experience is provided. The emotions elicited go beyond what the traditional channels can accomplish.
There’s already plenty of evidence immersive marketing is quite effective. As a result, brands looking to set themselves up for future success will increasingly use such strategies in the very near future.