Virtual reality technology isn’t science fiction anymore. According to some reports, the global VR market will be worth $26.89 billion by 2022.

That means now is the best time start looking for more uses of virtual reality that help you better serve your own customers. By planning now, you can develop virtual reality applications that impact consumers in genuinely valuable and meaningful ways, instead of treating the technology like a gimmick or novelty.

The following are examples of businesses that have already taken advantage of the wide potential of virtual reality uses in ways that boost revenue and offer customers truly unique experiences. They’ll inspire you to come up with your own plans.

1. Using Virtual Reality to Generate Hype for New Products

When brands promote new products, they want to ensure customers experience them in a dynamic and vivid way. The more “real” a product appears in advertisements, the more attractive it will be to a shopper.

Volvo has leveraged the experiential marketing uses of virtual reality tech to this effect. The popular automotive brand launched a marketing campaign in which customers could “test drive” a new vehicle in a virtual environment. This approach to promoting a new car is just one example of virtual reality uses that help consumers get a better sense of what it would be like to actually drive the vehicle.

2. Motivating Customers to Buy Your Items

Many uses of virtual reality can indirectly encourage shoppers to buy your products. For example, The North Face allowed customers to escape to various outdoor locations throughout the globe by exploring virtual reality headset uses. The locations featured in the experience just happened to be the kinds of places where The North Face’s products would be useful.

The VR experience itself corresponded to the retailer’s branded identity and offered customers an opportunity to connect emotionally with the company. It may have also inspired them to buy The North Face products and take actual excursions to the locations featured in the virtual simulation.

uses of virtual reality

3. Appealing to Emotions

Companies that proactively work to address social issues can leverage the wide array of virtual reality headset uses to express their messages in more emotional ways. TOMS Shoes is one example of a brand exploring these types of advantages by partnering with a virtual reality applications company.

The retailer famously donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time a customer buys a pair. With the help of  the many uses of virtual reality, TOMS Shoes allowed customers to “experience” giving the donated pair to a child. This simulation makes the emotional impact of the company’s donations resonate more effectively with a shopper.

4. Improving the eCommerce Experience

Appealing to emotions and offering dynamic experiences isn’t the only way companies can better serve customers with VR. For example, Walmart plans to enhance the online shopping experience by allowing customers to “try” virtual items before they buy them with an excellent example of virtual reality headset uses.

This makes it easier to, for instance, determine if an item of clothing will look good when actually worn in the real world. As the technology improves, there may come a day when virtuality reality uses expand to the point of turning a person’s surroundings into a virtual, interactive store. This will then make online shopping much more similar to visiting a brick-and-mortar shop, which will enhance customer satisfaction and trust.

5. Immersing Customers in Stories Using a Virtual Reality Headset

Storytelling is often key to effective marketing. In that respect, the uses of virtual reality include applications that are extremely useful. The New York Times has already rewarded loyal customers with VR headsets, through which they can immerse themselves in a virtual story about refugee children. The benefits that virtual reality headset uses offers journalism can easily translate to marketing campaigns for other brands.

These cases represent merely the tip of the iceberg. Your company can also take advantage of VR in unique, interesting, and truly valuable ways.

For the best results, partner with a virtual reality applications company. You want to know you’re working with experts who fully understand the capabilities of this technology. They’ll help you realize its full potential.