Virtual reality is an entirely new way of interacting with content, but is the technology too new to engender consumer confidence? Join our latest VB Live event for insight into the future of VR commerce and how payment technology can revolutionize – and monetize — VR experiences.
At the end of last year, 6.3 million VR machines were in the field; VentureBeat’s most recent research estimates that we’re going to hit 35 million units by the end of 2017.
Which is a major jump — and yet, it’s still just a drop in the ocean. There are far bigger and more established channels to go after. So what is it about VR in particular, given the low adoption numbers at the moment, that makes it so compelling to marketers? What makes it interesting enough for a payments company to get involved at this early stage?
“When I look at virtual reality, I see the next evolution of commerce,” says Cleveland Brown, CEO and cofounder of Payscout, a global payment processing provider. “The monetization of immersive content will explode. So as a payment company, that’s where we want to be: on the forefront and the innovation of where commerce is headed.”
If you look at the evolution of e-commerce, Brown says, you’ll see that it finally exploded when the experience became frictionless. User interface and navigation best practices emerged as ecommerce sites became more technically sophisticated. It was as simple as taking advantage of how the user operates their mouse, and how they interact with products on the screen.
“That was the magic of ecommerce,” he says. “It’s becoming more mature — companies are still finding creative ways to utilize a mouse to make the experience engaging.”
From ecommerce, we moved into mobile commerce, which analysts hilariously predicted would be an enormous failure — why would a consumer want to shop on their tiny phone? Plus, retailers were still relying on a user interface designed for the point and click consumer, and the experience on a tiny screen was frustrating enough to prove those analysts correct. When touch-and-swipe became central to shopping site design, integrated into the product experience, mobile commerce exploded.
And the next step, Brown says, is VR commerce. It’s compelling right out of the gate because of how immersive the experience is, and all the myriad potential it offers for completely innovative product and brand engagement. But, again, the user interface technology is the key to unlocking that potential.
“As better technology experiences are built through integrating head movement, eye movement, and voice into an immersive experience with a product, we believe it’s just going to explode VR commerce,” Brown says. “And the monetization of immersive content will explode.”
Right now gaming is the driving force in terms of monetization, Brown says, but content is ready for its breakthrough moment. He discovered this at Sundance last year, observing the overwhelming enthusiasm filmmakers and filmgoers had for the VR experiences showcased there. The film Collisions garnered huge attention.
“I realized as I was looking at these productions that there was no monetization solution to really optimize these experiences, because these experiences elicit emotional engagement,” he says.
So they built and launched what Brown calls the world’s first frictionless live VR payment experience, in partnership with Visa and Unity Technologies, a development engine for VR and AR. It’s a patent-pending solution that features consulting services designed to help brands leverage the immersive side of VR along with with an embedded frictionless payment solution. In the VR experience, users are sent into a virtual store in which they can purchase the products that surround them.
“That’s one of the critical pieces of virtual reality,” he explains. “You have to have the monetization experience frictionless while you’re experiencing the content.”
It’s one thing to have content and to create content, it’s another thing to monetize it, he explains. And now that the rails have been built to monetize these experiences for consumers, Brown believes we’re going to see what we’ve already seen in gaming, where VR has taken a powerful foothold and gamers have shown themselves willing to shell out for additional content, in every industry, from retail and the way consumers engage with products, to entertainment, travel and hospitality, and even non-profits.
“From a future standpoint, really it’s just going to be these dominos falling in all the different verticals as they figure out how to emotionally engage people,” Brown says. “The future I believe is bright now and the monetization piece exists.”
To learn more about how to monetize the experiences that VR is transforming, now and in the future, don’t miss this VB Live event!
In this VB Live event, you’ll learn about:
- The future of VR payments, commerce, and innovation
- How payments technology is revolutionizing VR/AR experiences
- The challenges that emerge from the consumer and merchant side
- The global perspective of VR/AR and where it is headed
- Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB
- Cleveland Brown, CEO, Payscout
- Charlie Fink, VR columnist, Forbes
- Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat