How to Use Virtual Reality (VR) in Trade Shows

VR is the new standard for trade shows. It builds buzz, cuts out the commotion of trade shows and encourages users to make a purchase.

So, how do you use VR at trade shows to turn your booth’s visitor into a new client? It’s all about the experience.

How to Use Virtual Reality (VR) in Trade Shows
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How to Plan a VR Experience for Trade Shows

Successful VR experiences should follow a strategic plan. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who’s the target audience?
  • What’s the product?
  • What’s the project budget?
  • What’s the end goal?

Your goal and your target audience are the two most important factors at this stage. They’ll influence how you promote your product, facility or location. But remember, be creative. You want to give users a fun, memorable experience.

McDonald’s, for example, created a VR experience where users painted a Happy Meal box, while Samsung built a roller coaster simulation for users.

Your simulation doesn’t need to be a game, though. Cinematic VR experiences have a higher demand than gaming ones, with more than 65 percent of users interested in VR mini-movies.

Understand your audience and the kind of experience you want to create. A clear vision of what you want is invaluable when collaborating with your team’s VR developer or hiring a temporary developer.

If you’re hiring a developer, review their portfolio. It’ll show if their work is similar to what you want for your trade show demonstration.

VR developers also help choose which hardware, like Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift headsets, to use for VR. Your headset type will decide whether you purchase or rent it for the trade show.

Rentals, especially for more expensive equipment like the Oculus Rift, are often a smarter choice due to the fast-paced, ongoing hardware development for VR.

How to Build a VR Experience for Trade Shows

More than 80 percent of users talk about their VR experiences — that’s why it’s so critical to create an experience that will be memorable for all the right reasons.

User comfort is a key component to a VR demonstration’s success. It’s why intense and scary simulations, or simulations of high places, aren’t recommended for new users. A chair, however, is.

VR objects placed close to a user’s line of sight also aren’t recommended. The setup causes users to focus on the items and cross their eyes.

Basic controls are another key factor, especially for trade shows. VR demonstrations should last less than five minutes. If your simulation is interactive, have easy-to-learn controls. Wireless gaming controllers, instead of a keyboard and mouse, are also recommended.

Immersion is the main point of VR. You want to bring your audience away from the busy trade show and into your company’s world. That’s why you should build a VR experience that uses its 360-degree video capabilities to capture their attention.

A 360-degree video could let users tour your upcoming building or facility, or showcase products or items too big to bring to the trade show floor.

Sound is another great way to immerse users by adding ambience or redirecting their attention to a different part of the simulation.

How to Launch a VR Experience for Trade Shows

Audience attention is easy to grab when you’re offering a VR experience, especially if you’re the only exhibitor with a VR demonstration.

Count on lines forming to try out your VR. A television with a VR livestream and/or pre-recorded videos is great for entertaining and informing people in line. Videos could share the development of your VR project or the new product it’s promoting, for example.

Livestream commentary, provided by staff, can prep attendees for their VR experience, as well as educate them about the product, company or ongoing demonstration.

Don’t forget, VR is designed to get people into your booth so you can build their interest and drive sales. Survey audience interest after their VR simulation and direct them to your website and social media accounts.

A bonus tactic for using VR at trade shows is to incorporate it fully into your booth. Remote VR users can attend not only the trade show, but visit your booth through visuals from high-tech 360-degree cameras and interact with staff. It’s a great way to share your product, especially with frequent customers.

VR is an exciting new way to engage trade show audiences. And the bonus is that audiences respond to companies using VR to promote, share and demonstrate their products. So, take advantage of audience interest and use VR at your next trade show.

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