virtual reality

Samsung Electronics announced its new initiative, VR Live Pass that includes international, live entertainment partnerships with UFC, X Games and Live Nation.

Under this agreement, Samsung will stream certain live events for fully immersive broadcasts and concerts. This step into connecting fans worldwide with real-time events marks huge opportunities with brands and retailers.

The streaming is to begin in June with UFC’s boxing match held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Participants will get a ringside seat to the action while gaining access to pre- and post-show content surrounding the event. Next in July, X Games will open its doors to VR viewers, allowing fans a close-up perspective on some of the most intense action sport competition. Music fans will be privy to Live Nation concert series beginning in August.

Retailers and brands looking to up their profile to tech-savvy consumers — especially Gen Zers and Millennials — should explore what virtual reality means for shopper engagement. Accenture’s “Digital Dust: Gen Z and Millennials” report said, “Gen Z shoppers are far more likely to experiment with new services that retailers provide. Gen Zers act different both in stores and online compared to Millennials. Higher percentages make visiting a store a multimedia or multichannel event.”

As consumers flock to social media for an insider’s perspective on top industry events such as international fashion weeks, the Met Ball and music festivals, brands stand to largely improve shopper loyalty with experiences delivered through virtual reality — especially if there’s a deal or exclusive access to new product following the event.

Consider tapping influencers in the digitized space to appeal to the growing tendency among Millennials and their younger cohorts who prefer to crowdsource purchases before final checkouts. “Like Millennials, Gen Z shoppers mostly buy items on three factors: receiving the lowest price, seeing products in stores and reading reviews. Gen Z consumers place a great emphasis on listening to friends, family and turning to social media for inspiration before deciding what to buy,” the report said.

By aligning new technology, interactive experiences and exclusive product launches or sales, retailers will bridge the gap between a hyperconnected and digitized consumer with growing expectations and demands.

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