6 Case Studies Highlighting Uses of WebAR for Retail

Web-based AR (WebAR) allows users to view and interact with augmented reality experiences from within a standard web browser on a smart device or, depending on the use case, even a desktop computer. This means that users never have to download an app to use your experience, making WebAR perfect for interactions at home or in-person at the shelf.  Using WebAR to enhance your retail offerings can take the form of fun experiences that introduce your product through digital versions of your product or informative overlays on packaging. Linking an e-commerce page to your WebAR experience can also allow customers to purchase your products in the experience. You can even collect email info or provide discounts. WebAR has been shown to increase brand and product recall, making it a great entry point for consumers. WebAR can also assist consumers in purchasing decisions by allowing them to customize, inspect, or try on products. Notably, 61% of users say they prefer retailers with AR experiences and 40% say they would pay more for items they can see and customize in AR.

Notable Examples of WebAR for Retail

The rest of this article will explore nine notable examples of WebAR in retail, including some that were designed or launched in partnership with ROSE Digital. If these use cases Interest you in implementing AR for your product or store, get in touch with the ROSE team today to learn more.

The Khaite Runway Experience

As the fashion world had to adapt and move to a purely digital landscape due to COVID-19, brands had to move quickly to break through all of the noise. ROSE brought Khaite’s latest collections into the homes of its customers using augmented reality.  Users could tap to place 10 looks, captured using green screen video, in the environment they chose as the models moved to demonstrate the physical properties of each item. Users could scale the model to see each garment’s details. On average, users viewed 16 looks meaning that they viewed looks multiple times, fully engaging with the experience.

Joy Is a State of Drive

Image via FWA
Focusing on product and brand awareness, Volkswagen created an augmented reality experience featuring the all-new VW Taos. Triggering off of a custom Amazon Prime box, The Joy is a State of Drive campaign brings to life a series of musical moods that capture the joy of driving through human moments of connection, emotion and fun. Users can select a vehicle color and drive-style and watch their custom 3D Taos drive around a 3D world. Launched during the 2021 holiday season, the experience gave users other festive options like different scenery packages and festive soundtracks.

Samsung’s Virtual Phones

Samsung is utilizing WebAR to allow consumers to compare devices from home. The experience features the ability to see how different Samsung devices fit in your hand, both left and right, directly comparing the size of different Samsung devices in addition to comparing their devices against competitor’s devices.  This kind of “virtual try on” for a device is nice, but those statistics above do mention that users like the ability to customize potential purchase items through AR. That’s why Samsung allows users to view the devices in different colors.

Dermalogica’s Double-Edged Approach

Image via Dermalogica
Personal care company Dermalogica uses WebAR to educate consumers on their new product range. The experience is activated via QR code on the packaging and displays the product information when users point at the packaging or product bottle. Users can tap to learn more about product ingredients, product instructions, and product launch dates. Dermalogica doesn’t stop there. After all, as great as that experience is, it requires you to have a product in-hand – not likely when you’re shopping from home. The Dermalogica website also has a page dedicated to “Face Mapping” which uses machine learning to analyze a provided selfie of a potential customer, which it then uses to suggest products and care routines.

The Society6 Wall Art Viewer

Image via 8th Wall
The artist-driven online marketplace Society6 partnered with Sherwin Williams, who also use AR for home decor previews, to allow customers to see artwork from Society6 in their own homes before adding items to their carts. Users can even take photos within the experience and share them to social media to get feedback from friends and family before buying.  The WebAR experience also gives customers the opportunity to pair complementary wall colors with the piece of art. Alternatively, the experience can also recommend paint colors based off of the artwork. 

BON V!V’s Virtual Vending Machines

As part of an Out-of-Home campaign, BON V!V created a WebAR retail experience that presented customers with a 3D vending machine of BON V!V Spiked Seltzer that animated to dispense the customer’s favorite flavor.  The QR code that launched the experience needed to be discovered in the physical world but, after the initial activation, could be revisited through a user’s browser history to summon a virtual vending machine anywhere. The experience, in addition to being a fun way to keep the product top-of-mind, provided users with nearby retail locations and the ability to purchase online. 

Nike’s AR-Enabled Stores

Nike has powered select stores with a multi-part WebAR experience. The experience, which is part of Nike’s PLAY NEW initiative, consists of five mini WebAR games including a flower game, football, putt putt, soccer, and basketball.  Store visitors must scan special stickers around the store to activate the experience. After completing each game, the user receives a virtual medallion. After collecting all five medallions, players receive a “gift with experience” which includes a Nike sticker pack. 

Virtual Cosmetics Try-Ons from e.l.f Cosmetics

Image via e.l.f cosmetics
e.l.f. Cosmetics has empowered users to be able to try before they buy in their e-commerce store. Visitors to the site can try on over 320 makeup products. This virtual try-on opportunity provides users increased confidence in their purchase and introduces users to products they might not have had the confidence to purchase before. It also solves the cringeworthy hygiene problem of cosmetics samples at physical stores.

AR Shoe Debut From Adidas

Adidas used WebAR to debut sustainable Stan Smith shoes. The experience showcases the sustainable materials that make up the sneakers. The experience was triggered by QR codes on The Athlete’s Foot retail location’s windows at locations across Europe. Users can click to purchase the product directly in the experience. This experience also scratches the surface of other related topics in AR fashion like virtual clothing which allows fashionable photo shoots without the expense and waste of buying a physical clothing item to be worn on one special occasion. But, that’s a conversation for another day.

Exploring WebAR for Retail

Every WebAR activation above worked because it was tailored to the company that launched it. Think about which of these cases relate to your business model and how you can make it your own. 

6 Uses of Augmented Reality for Fashion Brands

Fashion is usually thought of as inherently physical. While augmented reality advocates can typically see applications everywhere, it can take some creativity to meld AR and fashion. Fortunately, there’s a lot of creativity to go around and fashion is one of the fastest moving frontiers in extended reality. Here are six trends and use cases for augmented reality in the fashion industry:

1. Virtual Try-On 

Image via Warby Parker
No matter how practical a dresser, we shop with our eyes first. We see something we like and the next question is whether we like the way it looks on us. As shopping moved online, this element of the experience became complicated. It became easier than ever to find interesting clothing items, but this came at the expense of being able to reliably visualize that item as it would appear on us. While AR try-on goes back further than the last two years, interest and implementation skyrocketed during the pandemic when many retailers closed their physical doors. However, AR try-on is anything but a pandemic relic to be discarded as we leave restrictions behind. What was a necessity is now just good business. AR try-on tools allow customers to see how different styles, colors, and items look on their person, leading to higher purchase volumes. For example, retailer Tenth Street Hats increased its conversion rate by 52% and increased its revenue per user by 41.8% for those shoppers who used their try-on app.  Virtual try-on also leads to decreased returns, which are often the result of the product not looking like the consumer expected. AR allows consumers to make an educated purchase by providing product details in AR, including fabric type and size.  Decreasing returns saves customers time, saves your company money, and ultimately reduces carbon emissions from shipping. For example, Shopify reports a 40 percent decrease in returns from 3D visualization.  These tools are already very popular within the accessories industry, as facial recognition is very advanced. Further, most accessories are relatively easy to render compared to fabrics. For example, glasses retailer Warby Parker and footwear retailer Steve Madden both use AR try-on, for items that don’t bend or move much. Necessary technologies like rendering and modeling of fabrics and textures that can be realistically modeled to a human form are still catching up. While the market for “digital-first” clothing is heating up with some fashion retailers only making digital apparel, non-accessory AR try-on accounted for less than 10% of use cases last year.

2. Sizing 

Image via MTailor
Clothing items not fitting right can lead to returns too – 41% of shoppers return items due to the wrong size or fit. Additionally, customers often over-purchase to try to find the right fit and end up returning the majority of their order in this pursuit.  One way to help alleviate online ordering fit issues is using augmented reality to measure or approximate body shape and size and match the customer with fitting options. The more confident a customer feels in sizing, the less over-purchasing and returns they are likely to complete. But, how does AR sizing work? We tend to think of AR as simply the display of digital content over our view of our physical surroundings. In order to reliably display that content, AR applications also need to understand the world in which they function.  Smart devices build AR experiences using precise measurements of the physical world – including people. For example, MTailor uses a phone camera to generate a point cloud model of a user’s body for accurate measurements. There are two ways to capture body measurements using your smart device: LiDAR and using phone sensor measurements.  LiDAR uses a pulsed laser to create a “depth map.” LiDAR is the faster, easier, more accurate way to create depth maps and measurements. The downside is that it’s only available on high-end products from select manufacturers. Alternatively, using phone sensors like the gyroscope, accelerometer, and proximity sensors allows us to measure body parts. The downside to this method is that it is less convenient and less accurate than LiDAR. However, it is on more widely available devices, so more customers can use it. The main caveat in using augmented reality for sizing is that brands hoping to use this technology need to have accurate size charts. While the technology can get smarter overtime with user input, the initial results will rely on information from the brand.

3. Product Visualization 

Khaite SP/SU ’21 augmented reality experience by ROSE
AR allows consumers to bring products into their living rooms. With life-like 3D renderings and textures, customers can examine products in detail before purchasing. Using AR in this way helps close the gap between seeing an item online and in-person.  After adopting “try before you buy” product visualization, Macy’s noted that their products return rates had decreased to <2 percent for VR-assisted furniture purchases – stunning, since the average furniture industry return rate is 5% – 7 %. Further, Shopify has seen stores where 3D models viewed in augmented reality have increased conversion rates by up to 250%. 

4. Augmented Reality Fashion Shows 

AR fashion shows provide the opportunity for designers to showcase designs with a twist on their traditional medium. Augmented reality can bring the fashion show directly into the customer’s environment, enabling collections to be shared with a wider audience than just those that can make it to an in-person fashion show. Additionally, these shows can be streamed live and augmented in real time. Augmented reality shows also allow designers to add creative elements that might not be able to exist in a physical environment, like gravity defying accents. Real time tap-to-purchase capability is another added benefit of utilizing augmented reality. It’s exciting that AR fashion shows can be elevated creatively, but there’s power in doing the opposite. ROSE has worked twice with luxury fashion brand Khaite bringing AR models not on a runway but in the viewer’s own home, workplace, neighborhood – places where the customer might actually wear their purchases.

5. Virtual Stores + Branded Portals 

Image Via brandknewmag
In our first use case, we talked about the shopping experience. While buyers may want or need something different sometimes, there’s also something familiar, practical, and enjoyable about the traditional shopping experience.  AR can help with that too by bringing the store environment into a customer’s home to provide a fully branded retail experience that represents the purest expression of the brand. These experiences can be full stores or limited collections.  Customers can explore the digital version of physical stores by tapping to walk through the space, or learn more about each product and purchase directly with the application. Each product in the AR store can be linked to a product page on the brand’s website, allowing a direct path to purchase.  Just one example is the virtual store American Eagle opened in Snapchat, leading to over 41M impressions, 26,000 purchases, and over $1M in revenue. While there are a growing number of platforms getting into the immersive retail space, Snapchat is already a widely used tool with parent company Snap continually increasing its retail integrations. With mobile mapping technology improving quickly, there will be new opportunities to transform a customer’s home into an AR store or showroom. This technology will be able to understand the layout of the room it’s scanning and place objects accordingly, creating an accurate and unique experience for each customer. 

6. Product Drops 

Treat your brand’s fans to a unique experience by releasing your new products via an AR experience. This gives fans a chance to see the product first in AR, paired with an experience that compliments the product.  Using unique codes, you can limit the number of users and which users are able to get into the first experience, making your product drop exclusive until it goes live to the masses. Allowing customers to take photos of your product in AR before it hits shelves allows the demand to increase, increasing sales.  Additionally, you can gather pre-orders this way, with fans getting to experience the product they will be getting in AR and then being allowed to place an advance order. This allows brands to better plan for their purchase order sizes, decreasing fashion waste.  In 2018, Adidas wanted to make sure they took their latest apparel launch into their own hands. ROSE helped create a social media driven unboxing experience using AR that allowed everyone to “unbox” Adidas’ latest silhouette virtually and interact with it on social media.

Fashion Is Not Just Physical Anymore

We closed on an example that’s arguably a little dated. That’s not just because of how good an example it is, it’s also proof that XR fashion retail is not just a pandemic fad. It was here before, it’s only gotten more popular, and it’s only getting better. While this article mostly talked about AR enabled retail in the physical fashion industry, it only scratched the surface of other industries like digital-first fashion – in AR and for VR avatars. This is definitely an iceberg industry that only gets bigger the deeper down you look.

5 ways to prepare your firm to boost ROI with AR marketing

This article is Part 9 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

Most people have heard of AR whether it’s through filters or WebAR activations that are increasingly in the public eye. What most people don’t know is how to effectively leverage AR for marketing in ways that actually drive increases to revenue and significant improvements in core marketing KPIs. In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into 5 key ways to prepare your firm to boost cross-channel ROI with AR Marketing. As a digital marketer seeking to stay ahead of the curve, you’ll discover practical, innovative, and compelling methods to harness the power of AR to elevate your brand. Each section is meticulously crafted to guide you through the essential steps to successfully integrate AR into your marketing campaigns. Let’s embark on this immersive journey to unlock the full potential of AR marketing and witness firsthand how it can transform your business outcomes.

Understanding AR Marketing

The Power and Potential of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is reshaping how consumers interact with brands. AR allows for a blend of digital and physical worlds, creating immersive experiences that can captivate users and leave a lasting impression. For marketing, the implications are vast. With AR, product demonstrations become more interactive, allowing potential customers to visualize products in their own space before making a purchase. This level of engagement can lead to increased customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates.

Moreover, AR for marketing offers personalized experiences. Users can try on clothes virtually or see how furniture looks in their home with just a smartphone. This not only enhances the user experience but also encourages sharing on social media, multiplying the reach of campaigns. By leveraging AR, firms can create unique value propositions and stand out in a crowded market, driving both brand loyalty and ROI.

Laying the Groundwork for AR in Your Firm

Training Your Team on what AR Marketing Can Do

Before integrating AR into your marketing efforts, it’s crucial to ensure your team understands its capabilities and potential impact. Start by providing examples of successful AR campaigns, showcasing how they have enhanced user engagement and driven sales. Training should also cover the assets you’ll need, key stakeholders, partners (influencers, API integrations) and technical aspects, helping team members comprehend how AR works and what their role will be in helping to bring the experience to life.

While in many cases, the agency you partner with will come up with concepts that mesh your business goals with a creative immersive approach, you should also encourage your team to think creatively about how AR can be applied to your specific products or services. Guided workshops or brainstorming sessions can be valuable for generating ideas. It’s also important to train your team on how to measure the effectiveness of AR campaigns, as this will be key in demonstrating ROI. Typical KPIs include engagement, conversion to CRM, conversion to purchase and social sharing. An informed and enthusiastic team is your best asset when it comes to implementing innovative marketing strategies like AR.

Finding the Right Agency Partners

Selecting an agency that aligns with your AR marketing vision is a pivotal step. Look for partners with a track record of innovative AR solutions in your industry and a deep understanding of how AR can enhance customer experiences. Make sure that they’ve both deployed and managed AR activations that have delivered tangible results. It’s essential they grasp your brand’s voice and can translate it into AR experiences that resonate with your target audience.

Evaluate potential partners based on their previous work, client testimonials, and their ability to keep up with AR’s rapid technological advances. The right agency should not only be a service provider but a collaborator that is invested in your success. In your search, prioritize agencies that are eager to understand your specific challenges and objectives. They should be able to provide insights into how AR for marketing can address these areas and help differentiate your brand in the marketplace.

Incorporating AR into Your Marketing Strategy

AR as an Engagement Tool

Using AR as a tool for engagement is about creating an interactive, memorable and shareable experience for your audience. When customers can visualize products in their environment or interact with a brand in a novel way, it fosters a deeper connection. AR experiences can be as simple as an animated product overlay in a real-world setting or as complex as a world-spanning game where users travel to physical locations (think retail locations, sports stadiums, landmarks, etc.) to collect tokens in exchange for rewards.

The key to using AR effectively is to ensure that these experiences add value for the user where they are. Understanding the user’s context is key. A user who is sitting at home is different than a user at a Point of Sale and both of those are different than a user walking past a storefront or billboard/OOH placement. The activation should be easy to access and shareable, encouraging users to spread the word about their interaction with your brand. For example, a furniture store might offer an AR app that lets customers see how a new sofa would look in their living room, which can significantly reduce the hesitation in the purchasing process. By integrating AR into your marketing strategy, you’re not just selling a product or service; you’re offering a unique experience that can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates.

Rethinking Marketing KPIs in an AR Context

When integrating AR into your marketing campaigns, it’s necessary to reconsider the key performance indicators (KPIs) you track. Traditional metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates remain important, but AR brings new dimensions to consider, such as engagement duration and interaction depth. For instance, measuring how long users interact with AR content can provide insights into its effectiveness in capturing their attention.

Additionally, track the frequency of AR content shares to gauge its viral potential. High share rates can indicate that your AR content is striking the right chord with your audience. Also, consider customer feedback and sentiment analysis as part of your KPIs. Positive reactions could signal that the AR experience is enhancing the customer journey and contributing to a stronger brand perception. Setting AR-specific KPIs helps in understanding the direct impact of AR on your marketing goals and ROI.

Exploring Successful AR Marketing Campaigns

Case Study: AR Success in Retail

AR has revolutionized retail by bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences. A prominent example is a furniture retailer that launched an AR app enabling customers to visualize how different furniture items would fit and look in their own homes. The app allowed users to place life-sized 3D models of furniture in their space through their smartphone cameras.

This practical application of AR for marketing led to a significant increase in customer engagement and a measurable uptick in online sales. It reduced the uncertainty that often accompanies online purchases of big-ticket items by giving customers a clear preview of their potential investments. Moreover, the retailer noted a decrease in return rates, as customers were more confident in their choices, demonstrating how AR can effectively address common retail challenges and drive ROI.

Beyond product visualization, companies with a retail presence can leverage AR to drive foot traffic into stores. By creating avatar-driven or game based in store AR activations, you can incent customers to become loyalty program members or simplify their in-store experience with immersive guidance in addition to informational AR overlays anchored to products. The key with any immersive activation is leveraging data to drive personalization. In AR experiences that include quizzes or chat interfaces, users are more likely to provide information about their preferences which can then be used to create dynamically personalized experiences tailored to their interests.

Case Study: AR Transforming Consumer Packaged Goods

In the competitive market of consumer packaged goods (CPG), AR is being used to create interactive packaging that stands out on the shelf. A well-known soft drink brand implemented AR by designing their cans with scannable codes that, when viewed through a smartphone, launched an animated story related to the brand’s history and values.

This campaign not only increased customer engagement at the point of sale but also drove social media buzz as consumers shared their experiences online. The AR feature provided an added layer of brand storytelling that resonated with users, leading to increased brand loyalty and repeat purchases. By using AR for marketing, the brand was able to connect with customers in a more meaningful way, resulting in a boost in sales and an enhanced perception of the brand as innovative and customer-centric.

Patron consumer augmented reality activation_rose
Patrón Augmented Reality Gift Wrapper featuring designs by JonBoy.

AR can also be used to create personalized, shareable experiences leveraging your product’s packaging or the product itself. We worked with Patrón to create a custom AR bottle builder enabling customers to gift customized digital bottles to their friends along with real physical bottles. When the gift arrived, recipients could scan the box to see the custom bottle made just for them. When using this experience, 53% of users converted to purchase, driving ROI for this campaign. On top of the revenue impact, the experience also created opportunities for customers to share content and align themselves with the brand publicly.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Fashion

The fashion industry has embraced AR to create immersive shopping experiences. A notable success story comes from a luxury fashion brand that integrated AR into their e-commerce platform. They launched a virtual try-on feature that allowed customers to see how accessories like sunglasses and watches would look on them through their phone’s camera.

This innovative approach to AR for marketing generated a surge in customer engagement and significantly increased online sales. It provided a fun and interactive way for customers to shop from the comfort of their homes, effectively reducing the hesitation associated with not being able to physically try on products. The brand effectively used AR technology to blend the convenience of online shopping with the personalization of in-store experiences, which not only attracted new customers but also strengthened the loyalty of existing ones.

Khaite pre-fall '22 augmented reality experience.
Khaite pre-fall ’22 augmented reality experience.

In addition to AR try on, fashion brands can also leverage AR to allow their customers to view a line release on models in their own home. We worked with KHAITE to release their new line in AR, enabling users to view the looks life size at their leisure. We found that people not only went through all 10 looks, they went back around again and engaged further by zooming in or engaging with 6 of their favorites on average. These experiences drove a 400% increase in sales on the line.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Entertainment

The entertainment industry has found a powerful ally in AR to enhance storytelling and fan engagement. A blockbuster movie franchise used AR to bring characters to life in viewers’ living rooms. Through a mobile app, fans could interact with virtual characters, take photos with them, and even participate in storylines, all overlayed onto their immediate surroundings.

This use of AR for marketing created a dynamic promotional tool that increased anticipation and excitement around the movie’s release. The campaign drove ticket sales as fans were eager to experience the full story after engaging with the characters in AR. Additionally, the app collected valuable data on user interactions, which informed future marketing strategies. By leveraging AR, the movie franchise not only captivated their audience but also set a new standard for interactive marketing in the entertainment industry.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Hospitality

In the hospitality sector, AR has been a game-changer for enhancing guest experiences and marketing efforts. A resort chain introduced an AR feature that allowed guests to scan various parts of the hotel to uncover hidden experiences, such as virtual wildlife tours and historical facts about the location.

This innovative marketing strategy not only enriched the guest experience but also served as a unique selling point for the resort. Guests shared their AR experiences on social media, effectively providing free word-of-mouth advertising for the hotel. As a result, the resort saw increased bookings and heightened interest in the unique experiences they offered. The AR campaign demonstrated how immersive technology could add value beyond traditional hospitality services, creating memorable interactions that encourage repeat visits and drive long-term customer loyalty.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Financial Services

The financial services industry has also begun to harness the power of AR to engage customers in new and innovative ways. A leading bank developed an AR experience that allowed users to interact with their financial products through a mobile app. By pointing their device at a brochure or statement, customers could access a 3D visualization of their financial health and explore different savings scenarios.

This novel use of AR for marketing helped demystify complex financial concepts and made personal finance management more engaging. The campaign led to an increased use of the bank’s mobile services and a higher rate of engagement from younger demographics, who appreciated the interactive and tech-savvy approach. By adopting AR, the financial institution not only differentiated itself from competitors but also strengthened its brand image as a forward-thinking and customer-oriented bank.

Case Study: AR Marketing for Food and Beverage Brands

Food and beverage brands are turning to AR to create engaging campaigns that delight customers and drive sales. A cereal company, for instance, launched an AR game that was accessible via their product packaging. By scanning the box with a smartphone, children and parents could unlock an interactive experience where they collected virtual rewards and learned about nutrition.

This approach to AR for marketing effectively turned breakfast time into a fun and educational activity, increasing the brand’s appeal to both kids and health-conscious parents. The game incentivized repeat purchases, as customers looked forward to collecting new rewards with each box. Social media buzz generated by this campaign resulted in increased brand visibility and an uplift in market share. The cereal company’s investment in AR provided a fresh way to engage with their audience, demonstrating the powerful role of immersive technology in marketing strategies for food and beverage brands.

Measuring Your AR Marketing ROI

Setting Appropriate AR Marketing Goals

To effectively measure the return on investment (ROI) of your AR marketing campaigns, it’s essential to set clear and achievable goals. These objectives should be tightly aligned with your overall marketing strategy and business goals. Begin by identifying what you want your AR campaign to achieve—whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or enhancing customer engagement.

For instance, if brand awareness is the goal, focus on metrics like reach, impressions, and user engagement time with the AR content. If the aim is to drive sales, track conversion rates, average order value, and repeat purchase behavior. It’s also critical to set benchmarks based on past marketing efforts or industry standards to measure the success of your AR campaigns. For a good AR experience, you should be able to reduce your cost of customer acquisition significantly. By identifying what success looks like for your AR initiatives, you can tailor your campaigns for maximum impact and ensure that they contribute positively to your firm’s bottom line.

Key Metrics to Track for AR Campaigns

For a comprehensive understanding of your AR marketing campaigns’ performance, certain key metrics should be monitored. User engagement metrics such as session length and frequency of interaction can indicate how captivating your AR content is. The number of AR activations—how many times users initiate the AR experience—is also crucial, as it reflects the level of interest in the content.

Conversion rates are vital when AR is used to drive sales, showing the percentage of users who take a desired action after engaging with AR. Additionally, measure the social sharing rate of your AR content to assess its virality and ability to generate organic reach. Customer satisfaction scores and feedback can provide qualitative data about the user experience. By tracking these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior, adjust your strategies accordingly, and demonstrate the tangible impact of AR on your marketing ROI.

Final Thoughts: The Future of AR in Marketing

Staying Ahead with AR

As AR technology continues to evolve, staying ahead means being proactive in its application for marketing. To maintain a competitive edge, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest AR trends and technological advancements. Embrace a culture of innovation within your firm, encouraging team members to think creatively about how AR can be used in future campaigns.

Investing in ongoing education and training around AR will ensure your team has the skills necessary to leverage this technology effectively. Additionally, pay attention to customer feedback and data analytics to understand how AR experiences are resonating with your audience. By fostering an environment that prizes agility and forward-thinking, your firm can continue to deliver cutting-edge AR marketing campaigns that captivate customers and drive business growth.

Embracing Constant Innovation in AR Technology

Adapting to the rapid pace of change in AR technology is key for future-proofing your marketing strategies. Embrace constant innovation by actively seeking new AR features and capabilities that can enhance your campaigns. This might involve experimenting with personalized avatars, novel gameplay mechanics, incorporating sound for a multi-sensory experience, or utilizing AR for personalized storytelling.

Keep an eye on emerging AR devices and platforms, as these can open up new avenues for reaching your audience. Collaborating with tech startups or joining industry consortiums can provide insights into cutting-edge developments in AR. By being a first-mover in adopting new technologies, your firm can demonstrate leadership and expertise and get out ahead of competitors. Embracing innovation in AR can not only captivate your audience but also set a precedent for tangible ROI increases your leadership will be looking for.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

This article is Part 7 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are cutting-edge technologies revolutionizing the digital landscape, offering innovative ways for users to interact with the virtual world around them. Understanding the distinctions between VR and AR is crucial in harnessing their full potential for various applications. From enhancing customer experiences to boosting engagement in marketing campaigns, these immersive technologies have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this in-depth exploration, we will dissect the key differences between VR and AR, illuminating their unique features, use cases, and advantages. By delving into specific examples and illustrating practical applications, we aim to equip marketing leaders and digital marketers with a comprehensive understanding of how VR and AR can elevate their strategies and propel their brands to new heights.

Intriguing World of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Distinguishing AR and VR: An Overview

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are often mentioned in the same breath, yet they offer distinct experiences. AR overlays digital content onto the real world, enhancing what we see by integrating virtual components such as images, animations, or information in real-time. AR does not take us out of our environment; instead, it adds to it. Conversely, VR immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment. With the help of VR headsets, users can be transported into diverse settings, from simulated landscapes to virtual classrooms. While AR enhances reality, VR replaces it, offering a complete escape from the physical world. Both technologies have the potential to transform how we interact with digital content, but their applications and implications differ significantly.

In-depth Comparison: Augmented Reality

Augmented reality merges the digital and physical worlds in a seamless fashion. Through AR, users can interact with virtual items as if they were present in their immediate environment. Smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses can all serve as platforms to deliver this technology. AR’s strength lies in its versatility and accessibility, as it enhances the user’s environment without the need for specialized equipment beyond a mobile device. In marketing, AR can provide customers with a more interactive and personal product experience, like trying on clothes virtually or visualizing furniture in their homes before purchasing. This direct engagement can significantly increase conversion rates and brand loyalty. Additionally, AR’s capacity to provide additional information about products in real-time can empower consumers to make more informed decisions, truly showcasing the power of augmented reality.

Practical Applications of AR in Marketing

Augmented reality is swiftly becoming an indispensable tool for marketers aiming to captivate and engage their audiences. One practical application of AR in marketing is through interactive advertisements. These ads allow consumers to visualize products in their environment, such as seeing how a new car would look in their driveway. Another application is virtual try-ons, where customers can see themselves with a new makeup shade or eyeglass style, enhancing their shopping experience online. Additionally, AR can be used for navigation within stores, guiding customers to desired products with ease and increasing the chances of additional purchases. It is also instrumental in storytelling, creating immersive brand experiences that resonate with consumers. These applications not only enrich the customer experience but also bridge the gap between online and offline worlds, providing valuable data back to the marketers.

Role of Virtual Reality in Digital Space

Unfolding the Layers of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality offers a deep dive into a digitally created space where the limits are defined only by imagination. This technology creates a controlled environment, delivering a multi-sensory experience that can include sight, sound, and even touch. The use of head-mounted displays (HMDs) or VR headsets is essential in achieving the immersive experience that characterizes VR. Within the digital space, VR has been transformative in fields like education and training, enabling learners to practice in a risk-free, virtual environment. For instance, surgeons can simulate operations, and pilots can experience flight scenarios without leaving the ground. In the realm of entertainment, VR has reshaped gaming and live events, providing users with an unparalleled level of engagement. As VR continues to evolve, its profound impact on the digital landscape is undeniable, offering users experiences that were once beyond reach.

How VR Transforms Digital Marketing Strategy

Virtual reality is reshaping digital marketing strategies by offering immersive experiences that capture the audience’s attention and emotions. VR stands out for its ability to create a sense of presence, making users feel as though they are truly part of another reality. For marketers, this means the ability to craft compelling narratives that allow consumers to experience a product or service in full context. For example, real estate agents can offer virtual tours of properties, allowing potential buyers to walk through homes from anywhere in the world. Travel agencies can transport clients to a beach resort, offering a taste of their vacation before they book. These immersive experiences are not just novel; they can profoundly influence consumer behavior, leading to stronger emotional connections and improved recall. By leveraging VR, brands can create memorable campaigns that stand out in a crowded digital space.

Understanding the Key Differences

Determining the Ideal Tech: AR vs. VR

Choosing between augmented reality and virtual reality for a digital strategy depends on the objectives and context of the campaign. Augmented reality is ideal when the goal is to enhance the real-world experience with additional information or visual features. It’s highly effective for interactive marketing, where engagement with the actual environment is key. For instance, AR can be used in retail to help customers visualize products in their own space before purchasing.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, is the technology of choice when creating an entirely new environment is the goal. It is suitable for situations where immersive storytelling or deep focus is needed. VR can be powerful for training simulations or experiential marketing campaigns where you want the user to be fully absorbed in the experience without outside distractions. Ultimately, understanding the customer journey and the desired interaction will guide the choice between AR and VR.

Success Stories: AR and VR in Action

Both augmented reality and virtual reality have seen successful applications across various industries. In retail, AR has revolutionized the shopping experience with apps that let customers try on clothes and makeup virtually, leading to an increase in online sales for companies that have embraced this tech. In the furniture industry, AR allows customers to see how products would look in their homes, which has been a game-changer for brands like IKEA.

In the world of VR, success stories include the use of virtual training programs that are revolutionizing the way companies train their employees. For example, Walmart used VR to prepare employees for Black Friday, resulting in improved customer service and operations. The travel industry has also seen wins with VR by offering virtual tours of destinations, which has boosted booking rates. These examples showcase how AR and VR can be leveraged to create impactful, memorable customer experiences that drive business results.

AR and VR: Fostering Future Collaborations

Augmented reality and virtual reality open up new avenues for collaboration across various sectors. In the field of education, AR and VR can bring together students and teachers from around the world in interactive, virtual classrooms. For businesses, these technologies enable virtual meetings and conferences where participants can engage with each other in a more connected way, regardless of physical distance.

Moreover, AR and VR foster collaborations between tech companies and content creators. As the demand for immersive content grows, there is a significant opportunity for creative partnerships that can push the boundaries of what’s possible in storytelling and user engagement. These collaborations are not only advancing the technology itself but are also setting the stage for future innovations that could further transform how we work, learn, and play. As we look to the future, the potential for AR and VR to facilitate more meaningful and productive collaborations is both promising and exciting.

Final Thoughts: The Path Forward in AR and VR

As we reflect on the advancements in augmented reality and virtual reality, it’s evident that these technologies are not just passing trends; they represent the next frontier in digital innovation. The path forward for AR and VR is one of growth and integration into everyday experiences. Businesses that recognize the potential of AR and VR will lead their industries by creating more engaging, personalized, and immersive experiences for their customers.

The future will likely see AR and VR becoming more mainstream, with advancements in technology making these tools more affordable and accessible. As the line between the physical and digital worlds continues to blur, the opportunities for AR and VR are boundless. For marketing leaders and digital marketers, staying ahead of the curve will mean not only adopting these technologies but also pioneering new ways to integrate them into marketing strategies to create value for both the brand and the consumer.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing

The Premier League Enters Augmented Reality

The Premier League is coming to the USA! This year the Premier League is hosting its first-ever Summer Series and Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Fulham, and Newcastle United are coming to the USA to compete in five major east coast cities. To celebrate, ROSE partnered with Doppelgänger and Premier League to create an AR Trophy Hunt!  WATCH THE VIDEO Fans can use the Premier League Augmented Reality Trophy Hunt across the D.C./Maryland, Philadelphia, Orlando, New York/New Jersey, and Atlanta areas to hunt for 20 Premier League trophies, representing each of the 20 Premier League clubs. With each trophy found, the fans also earn one entry into a sweepstakes to win VIP tickets to the match in their city.  Super fans that find all 20 trophies will be entered to win a signed Premier League Jersey. In addition to the Trophy Hunt, fans across the United States can launch the experience to take photos and videos with the Premier League trophy in AR, as well as turn themselves into the trophy using a face filter. Fans outside the Summer Series cities will also be able to enter to win Premier League merchandise.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. See full Official Rules for details at https://trophyhunt.premierleague.com/rules   As an 8thWall Premier Partner, we knew 8thWall was the best choice to create an immersive Premier League club-focused WebAR experience. But, with 20 trophies to find in 20 specific locations, in each of the 5 cities, this project has a large sum of assets to manage. Therefore, to easily manage each city’s unique locations and assets, we used the CMS, Contentful, for the first time. Contentful has greatly simplified our processes on this project and we are excited about this CMS use case for augmented reality projects.   Discover more about this exciting project and embark on the trophy hunt by following the link below. The in-city experience is live NOW through July 20th, and the at-home experience through July 31st. https://trophyhunt.premierleague.com/   Interested in more? Check out the press the project has received!

What Is an AR Social Filter?

This article is Part 6 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

As we continue to explore the frontiers of technology, one marvel that has profoundly impacted our interaction with the digital world is Augmented Reality (AR). AR has gained immense popularity, particularly in the realm of social media, where AR Social Filters have become a part of our daily lives. But what is an AR Social filter, and how does it work?  


Augmented Reality (AR) refers to a technology that overlays digital information or virtual objects onto the real world, enhancing our perception and interaction with our surroundings. AR blurs the line between the physical and digital realms, creating immersive and interactive experiences. There are three primary types of augmented reality: SocialAR, NativeAR, and WebAR. Each type offers distinct features and applications.


Social AR, where our AR Social Filters reside, is the application of AR on social media platforms. The integration of AR on these platforms allows users to create and share augmented reality experiences, promoting user engagement and interactivity. Social AR is designed to be easily accessible and shareable. It typically operates within the social media apps themselves, such as Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, eliminating the need for additional applications. Users can apply AR filters in real time, capturing photos or recording videos with augmented elements. They can then share these AR-enhanced creations directly within the social media platform.           One of the key characteristics of SocialAR is its emphasis on user engagement and interactivity. Social AR filters often respond to users’ movements, gestures, or facial expressions, creating a dynamic and immersive experience. Users can interact with the augmented elements, such as by tapping on the screen to activate virtual objects or triggering animations through specific actions. Social AR fosters creativity and personal expression, allowing users to customize their content and showcase their unique style. An AR Social Filter, simply put, is a digital overlay that augments our physical reality, typically used on social media platforms to transform or enhance real-world imagery. By leveraging AR technology, these filters add a layer of interactive and entertaining elements to users’ photos or videos. AR Social Filters can transform users’ appearances, add virtual objects or effects to their surroundings, or apply interactive elements to their content.


Web AR brings augmented reality experiences directly to web browsers without the need for dedicated applications or downloads. It allows users to access AR content by simply visiting a website, making it highly accessible and convenient. Web AR leverages the capabilities of modern web browsers, enabling users to experience augmented reality on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers.


NativeAR refers to augmented reality experiences that are built into dedicated applications or software specifically designed for AR interactions. Native AR takes advantage of the advanced capabilities of mobile devices or dedicated AR hardware, offering more complex and immersive AR experiences compared to SocialAR. However, it typically requires users to download and install specific applications, limiting the reach and accessibility compared to SocialAR’s integration within popular social media platforms.  


While Augmented Reality itself has a long history, dating back several decades, the integration of AR into social media platforms took place more recently. The first significant milestone in the history of AR Social Filters can be attributed to Snapchat, a popular social media platform. In 2015, Snapchat introduced “Lenses,” which were the earliest form of AR Social filters. These lenses allowed users to apply real-time effects and overlays to their selfies, transforming their appearance with features like animated masks, filters, or 3D objects. This introduction of AR Social Filters on a mainstream social media platform revolutionized the way people interacted with their own images and videos. Zendaya using Golden Butterfly Snapchat Filter Image By Zendaya https://www.instagram.com/zendaya        Jimmy Fallon using Rainbow Mouth Snapchat Filter Image by Jimmy Fallon and NBC https://www.instagram.com/jimmyfallon https://www.instagram.com/nbc        Selena Gomez using Cheetah Ear Snapchat Filter Image By Selena Gomez https://www.instagram.com/selenagomez Snapchat’s success with AR Social Filters inspired other social media platforms to follow suit. Facebook, Instagram, and later TikTok, all integrated AR capabilities into their platforms, enabling users to create and share augmented reality experiences. Each platform developed its own set of filters and effects, providing users with a range of options to enhance their content and engage with their audiences. Over time, AR Social Filters became an integral part of social media culture. Users eagerly awaited the release of new filters and trends, and AR Social Filters became a means of creative expression, entertainment, and communication.   


The mechanics of an AR Social Filter are grounded in computer vision and machine learning. The technology recognizes specific features in the real-world image (like a face or background) and overlays it with a digital object or effect. The filter dynamically adjusts with the movements in the video or changes in the image, creating an immersive and interactive experience for users.


The hardware components used in AR Social Filters include a camera and a display. The camera serves as the primary hardware element, capturing real-world images or videos that form the background for the AR overlays. The display is responsible for presenting the augmented imagery to the user.  It showcases real-world imagery seamlessly blended with digital objects or effects, creating an immersive AR experience. The camera and display work together in smartphones, webcams and monitors, and tablets. They enable users to interact with AR Social Filters and bring augmented content into their physical reality.


AR Social Filters leverage a range of software components to deliver captivating augmented reality experiences. These filters are developed using specialized AR development platforms that equip developers with the essential tools and frameworks needed to create immersive AR applications. Within the software ecosystem, computer vision algorithms play a vital role by analyzing real-world images or videos, identifying specific features, and facilitating accurate overlay of digital objects. Additionally, machine learning models enhance the filters’ dynamic adjustment and interaction capabilities, enabling them to respond seamlessly to user actions. Together, these software components work harmoniously to bring AR Social Filters to life, providing users with engaging and interactive experiences in the world of augmented reality. Meta Spark Studio, Lens Studio, and Effect House are among the top software tools used to create AR Social Filters. They offer a wide range of features, ease of use, and integration with popular social media platforms

Meta Spark Studio

  Meta Spark Studio Image by Meta https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/ Meta Spark Studio is a widely recognized AR development platform specifically designed for creating AR experiences on Facebook and Instagram. It provides a user-friendly interface and a comprehensive set of tools and features to build interactive and immersive AR filters. Meta Spark Studio enables developers to leverage various capabilities such as face tracking, gesture recognition, and 3D object integration, allowing for the creation of captivating AR Social Filters.

Lens Studio

  Video of Lens Studio Interface by Snapchat https://ar.snap.com/lens-studio Lens Studio, on the other hand, is an AR development platform developed by Snapchat. It empowers creators to build AR experiences and filters for use within the Snapchat app. Lens Studio offers a range of templates, 3D modeling tools, and scripting capabilities, enabling developers to craft unique and interactive AR filters. With Lens Studio, creators can incorporate face tracking, environment mapping, and other advanced features to enhance the user experience and bring their AR Social Filters to life.

Effect House

  Video of Effect House Interface by TikTok https://effecthouse.tiktok.com/ Effect House is a significant software platform in the AR space. It is TikTok’s proprietary AR development platform designed for creating AR effects and filters on the TikTok platform. Effect House provides a suite of tools, resources, and templates for creators and developers to build unique and engaging AR experiences. With its extensive library of 3D objects, animations, and effects, creators can design captivating AR filters that enhance TikTok content and engage with the platform’s massive user base.  


AR Social Filters find widespread application across various industries, revolutionizing how businesses and individuals engage with augmented reality. These filters have proven to be valuable tools in marketing and advertising.  By integrating AR Social Filters into their strategies, industries are unlocking new avenues for user engagement, enhanced experiences, and innovative approaches to problem-solving.

Fashion and Retail

In fashion and retail, AR filters allow customers to virtually ‘try on’ products such as clothes, glasses, or makeup before purchasing. This enhances the online shopping experience, increases customer confidence, and potentially boosts sales .Retailers have found that using AR technology can lead to a 94% increase in conversion rates and a 20% increase in consumer engagement Outside of try-on’s AR Social Filters can also provide the fashion industry fun and engaging way for customers to connect with the brand, such as Steve Maddenverse Big Head Girls filter.  The Instagram filters enabled users to see what they would look like as 3D avatars of Normani, Nessa Barrett, Jordan Alexander, Sydney Sweeney, and Justine Skye in Steve Maddens iconic “Big Head Girl’ style from the ’90s and early ’00s. The filter quickly gained traction, accumulating over 675,000 impressions and more than 17,900 uses in just seven days.

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)

In the Consumer Packed Goods (CPG) sector, AR Social Filters allow companies to enhance their marketing strategies and engage with costumes in innovative ways. By integrating AR technology, brands can create immersive and personalized experiences that educate and inform consumers about their products An example of this is Kiehl’s Retinol Micro-dose Serum Filter, which showcases the product in a unique and engaging way. Through the Instagram filter consumers were able to take a quiz that broke down their concerns, and ultimately revealed why the new Micro-dose Retinol Serum was right for them. An AR Instagram filter like this one has a high chance of engagement as 62% of Instagram users gain interest in a brand once they have see it in a story. Additionally,  70% of Instagram users watch stories daily and 40% post stories daily.

Food and Beverage

AR Social Filters have transformed the way food and beverage businesses engage with their audience, providing entertaining and valuable experiences. These filters offer a range of possibilities for brands to showcase their products, educate consumers, and create unique interactions. One notable example is the Tic Tac Spearmint Jungle Snapchat filter. This filter transports users into a retro video game jungle environment, where they can “chew” to swing from vine to vine. This immersive filter not only entertains users but also allows them to engage with the brand in a playful and memorable way. and data shows that users are 1.5x more likely to interact with gamified Snapchat AR filters.


Entertainment industries are also capitalizing on AR Social Filters. From interactive game filters to movie and TV promotions. Studios and streaming platforms create filters that allow users to become characters or participate in interactive experiences related to their favorite content. These filters enhance fan engagement, generate buzz around new releases, and provide a fun and shareable way for users to connect with their favorite entertainment franchises. An example is the Grey’s Anatomy Memorial Hospital TikTok filter. Inspired by the popular medical drama, this filter transports users into the iconic Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Users can become a part of the staff with their own ID badge and feel connected to their beloved characters. Tiktok AR filters have grown increasingly important, due to Tiktok’s rapid growth, with data showing a 100% user growth rate from 2020 to 2022. That growth also means that now Tiktok reaches 17.9% of internet users 18+, and 64% of TikTok users have tried AR filters on the app.  


The beauty of AR Social Filters lies in their versatility. They’re not just about adding dog ears to a selfie or changing the color of your eyes. They’re powerful tools that can transform industries, enhance user experiences, and bring about a paradigm shift in how we interact with the digital world.  So, whether you’re a consumer enjoying a new filter on your favorite social media app, a business exploring new ways to engage with customers, or a developer pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AR, one thing is certain – AR Social filters are here to stay. They’re transforming our digital interactions today and shaping the augmented reality of tomorrow.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing

ROSE Is a Shorty Awards Winner

ROSE has won our first Shorty award! Last week our Clash From the Past Mini Games project took home the Bronze Award for Art Direction at the 15th Annual Shorty Awards. In addition, we also won the Audience Honor for Clash From the Past Mini Games in the Art Direction and Gaming category, and for Mastercard Immersive Tour of the Miami Design District in the Extended Reality category! We are so proud of our team! Thank you to our partners and collaborators and to everyone that voted.


CLASH FROM THE PAST MINI GAMES: Bronze and Audience Honor, Art Direction & Audience Honor, Gaming

Clash of Clans, one of the world’s most popular mobile games turned 10 years old in August 2022. To celebrate #clashiversary, the maker of Clash of Clans, Supercell, and their creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy,  created a mockumentary around 40 fictitious years of Clash of Clans. The goal of the campaign was to envelop the fandom in this fake history and make them believe it was real through never before seen, “re-released” games, created by ROSE, one from each era of game design history. Over 170 Million players across the globe tapped, punched, ran, and smashed their way to winning back Barbarian’s sword from evil goblins, ultimately transporting him back to present-day Clash of Clans. Each game used Clash of Clans scenery, items, and characters but recreated to look like the era it was supposed to have come from. This meant the creation of over 900 net new assets to fully re-create the look from each decade. Additionally, to tie each game together and further the story, a series of cut scenes were created in each decade’s style. WATCH THE VIDEO  


In partnership with the Miami Design District, Mastercard™ has provided cardholders with a #Priceless tour of the area. ROSE created the immersive experience to bring seven key pieces from the district to the user’s own space. Using their mobile device, users are transported to the Miami Design District and can experience a 360-view of the selected art pieces. Upon entering each portal, users are able to learn about each piece through audio and written descriptions. This experience had an average engagement time of 1 minute and 40 seconds.           WATCH THE VIDEO  

What Is the Metaverse

This article is Part 5 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

The concept of a “metaverse” has been around for decades, but in recent years, it has gained increased attention and interest as a new frontier for technology and human interaction. With the continued development of its technologies, the metaverse is becoming increasingly sophisticated and realistic. For businesses, the metaverse presents a new way to connect with customers, collaborate with colleagues, and innovate in ways that were previously impossible.  


The metaverse is a fully immersive digital world where users can interact with each other and the environment in real time, using avatars, 3D graphics, and advanced interfaces. It is not just a single platform or technology, but a network of interconnected virtual worlds that can be accessed and experienced by users worldwide. The metaverse offers a wide range of experiences, from social interactions and gaming to education and commerce. Users can create and customize their avatars, explore virtual environments, interact with other users, and conduct transactions using virtual currencies. In this virtual space, the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurred, providing new opportunities for social interaction, entertainment, and business development. Although the metaverse is still in its early stages, it is rapidly evolving, and companies are investing heavily in its development. As technology continues to improve, the metaverse has the potential to become a central hub for human interaction and commerce, opening up new possibilities for the future of the internet and the way we interact with each other.  


The concept of the metaverse originated from science fiction, specifically Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, which depicted a virtual reality space called the Metaverse. In this virtual world, people could conduct business and interact with each other in a fully immersive environment. The novel’s portrayal of the Metaverse had a significant impact on the development of virtual reality and online gaming. Image of Second Life provided by IGN https://www.ign.com/articles/second-life-creator-doubts-facebook-metaverse Image Source In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the metaverse began to take shape in online gaming communities and virtual worlds. Second Life, which launched in 2003, was one of the first virtual worlds to gain widespread attention. Second Life allowed users to create their own avatars, explore virtual environments, and interact with other users in real time. It quickly became a popular platform for social interaction and creative expression. Minecraft Classic Image Provided By IMDb https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2011970/mediaindex?ref_=tt_mv_close Image Source In the years that followed, other virtual worlds and online gaming platforms emerged, each with unique features and capabilities, including World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Minecraft, among others. The development of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology in recent years has led to the creation of more sophisticated virtual worlds, expanding the possibilities of the metaverse beyond gaming.  


The metaverse is a complex system that enables user interaction with the virtual environment through a combination of software and hardware. It operates on a set of protocols governing data sharing and transaction processing. Key technologies employed in the metaverse include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and cloud computing. While often confused with the metaverse, VR and AR are merely components of it. VR provides a fully immersive experience, while AR overlays digital content onto the real world. In contrast, the metaverse transcends these technologies by establishing a persistent virtual environment accessible from anywhere. At its core, the metaverse operates as a decentralized network utilizing blockchain technology. This ensures secure and transparent transactions, vital for establishing trust and reliability within the virtual economy. AI complements this infrastructure by generating intelligent virtual agents capable of interacting with users, providing information, and assisting with various tasks. The metaverse relies on the computing power of cloud technology to create and sustain its immersive virtual environment. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum hold the potential to facilitate seamless virtual transactions, enhancing the metaverse’s functionality and economic ecosystem.  


The metaverse requires a combination of software and hardware to function properly. On the software side, several platforms provide access to the metaverse. These platforms represent a diverse range of metaverse experiences, from user-generated content creation to immersive social interactions. Each platform offers unique features and opportunities for users to engage, create, and explore within their respective virtual worlds.


Roblox Image Provided By Wired https://www.wired.com/story/on-roblox-kids-learn-its-hard-to-earn-money-making-games/ Image Source Roblox is a prominent metaverse platform that allows users to create and play games within a virtual world. It boasts an extensive user-generated content ecosystem, enabling developers to create their own experiences using Roblox Studio. With over 200 million monthly active users, Roblox has a thriving economy where players can buy and sell virtual goods.

Fortnite (Epic Games)

Fornite Image Provided By Fortnite https://www.fortnite.com/ Image Source While primarily known as a popular battle royale game, Fortnite has expanded its metaverse-like elements through in-game events, collaborations, and a virtual social space called Party Royale. Fortnite’s immersive experiences, live events, and creative mode allow users to interact, socialize, and engage with various forms of entertainment within the game’s virtual world.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox Image Provided By The Sandbox https://medium.com/sandbox-game/what-is-the-sandbox-850de68d893e Image Source The Sandbox is a blockchain-based gaming platform that empowers users to create, share, and monetize their gaming experiences. It utilizes voxels, a 3D pixel art style, and offers a user-friendly game-maker tool that allows creators to design interactive experiences. The Sandbox also operates on a cryptocurrency model where users can own and trade virtual assets using its native currency, SAND.

Horizon Worlds (Meta)

Horizon Worlds Image Provided By Meta https://www.meta.com/horizon-worlds/ Image Source Horizon Worlds, developed by Meta (formerly Facebook), is an immersive social metaverse platform. It aims to provide a seamless and accessible virtual reality experience for users. Horizon Worlds offers tools and resources for creators to build their own worlds and experiences, emphasizing social interaction, creativity, and exploration.


Decentraland Genesis Plaza Image Provided By Decentraland https://decentraland.org/blog/announcements/genesis-plaza-relaunched Image Source Decentraland is a blockchain-based virtual world that allows users to create, buy, and sell virtual land and experiences. Powered by the Ethereum blockchain, Decentraland enables users to develop and monetize their virtual content using its scripting language. It also has its own cryptocurrency called MANA, which is used for buying virtual land and trading virtual assets within the platform.  


On the hardware side, the metaverse requires devices that can display and interact with the virtual environment. These devices range from smartphones and computers to VR and MR headsets. VR headsets provide a more immersive experience, while MR headsets overlay digital information in the real world.

Virtual Reality Headsets

VR headsets are a key component for experiencing the metaverse in an immersive manner. Devices like the Meta Quest, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR offer high-quality VR experiences, allowing users to explore virtual environments and interact with them using motion controllers.

Meta Quest

Meta Quest 2 Image Provided By Meta https://www.meta.com/quest/products/quest-2/ Image Source The Meta Quest is a standalone virtual reality headset. It offers a wireless and all-in-one VR experience without the need for a PC or external sensors. The Quest features built-in tracking sensors and motion controllers, providing users with freedom of movement within virtual environments. With its high-resolution displays and intuitive user interface, the Quest delivers a compelling and immersive VR experience for gaming, social interaction, and other metaverse activities.

HTC Vive

VIVE Pro 2 Image Provided By VIVE https://www.vive.com/us/product/vive-pro2-full-kit/overview/ Image Source The HTC Vive is a PC-based virtual reality headset known for its room-scale tracking capabilities. It utilizes external base stations that track the user’s movements and position in physical space, allowing for precise and immersive VR experiences. The Vive offers high-resolution displays, comfortable headsets, and motion controllers for intuitive interaction. It also supports a wide range of VR applications, from gaming to architectural visualization, making it a popular choice for metaverse enthusiasts.

PlayStation VR

PS VR Image Provided By Playstation https://www.playstation.com/en-us/ps-vr/ Image Source PlayStation VR (PSVR) is a virtual reality headset designed for use with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 gaming consoles. It provides an accessible entry point to VR for console gamers. The PSVR features a comfortable headset, motion controllers, and an external camera that tracks the user’s movements. While the resolution may be slightly lower compared to PC-based VR, the PSVR offers a range of immersive gaming experiences and integrates seamlessly with the PlayStation ecosystem.

Mixed Reality Headsets

Mixed reality (MR) headsets, such as Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap One, blend virtual content with the real world in a more interactive and immersive manner. By combining real-world mapping with virtual elements, Mixed Reality headsets enable users to interact with and manipulate virtual objects within their physical environment. 

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 Image Provided By Wired https://www.wired.com/story/microsoft-hololens-2-headset/ Image Source The Microsoft HoloLens blends virtual content with the real world. It features transparent lenses that allow users to see and interact with holographic objects superimposed on their surroundings. The HoloLens employs advanced sensors, cameras, and spatial mapping technology to provide an interactive and spatially aware experience. It is widely used in enterprise and industrial applications, offering unique opportunities for metaverse experiences that merge virtual and physical elements.

Magic Leap

Magic Leap 2 Image provided by Magic Leap https://www.magicleap.com/magic-leap-2 Image Source Magic Leap is an extended reality company that has developed the Magic Leap One headset. It is designed to provide a seamless and natural experience by superimposing digital content onto the user’s real-world environment. Magic Leap employs a combination of sensors, cameras, and waveguide technology to create realistic and interactive experiences. The headset includes a controller for input and navigation, allowing users to interact with virtual objects and applications in their surroundings.

Smartphones and Tablets:

While not dedicated metaverse devices, smartphones and tablets play a significant role in accessing metaverse applications and experiences. Mobile devices often feature AR capabilities, allowing users to engage with augmented reality elements and applications, making them accessible entry points to the metaverse.  


One of the most significant benefits of the metaverse for businesses is the ability to create immersive brand experiences. This not only provides a unique and engaging experience but also allows businesses to showcase products in ways that were previously impossible.


The fashion industry is embracing the metaverse as a platform for innovative and immersive experiences and is expected to grow by $6.61 billion from 2021-2026. Fashion brands can create virtual showrooms and fashion shows within the metaverse. Users can customize and try on virtual outfits, explore virtual boutiques, and make virtual purchases. Virtual fashion collaborations and limited-edition virtual items can also be introduced, creating unique opportunities for brand engagement. Adidas Metaverse Fashion Week Image Provided By CJ Fuentes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZsHLWXeXYo Image Source In 2022 Decentraland hosted the first annual Metaverse Fashion Week.  The event was held again this year in 2023 and featured brands such as Adidas, Coach, Tomy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. The brands’ experiences ranged from Adidas hosting a runway show debuting 16 digital pieces,  to Coach’s virtual showroom inside a giant floating spaceship of their iconic Tabby bag. Coach Tabby in Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week Image Provided By Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephaniehirschmiller/2023/04/02/metaverse-fashion-week-how-retail-got-real/?sh=4be4838f91a1 Image Source  By embracing virtual fashion, designers can push the boundaries of design, experiment with innovative concepts, and offer unique digital fashion experiences to a broader community.

Food And Beverage

The food and beverage industry can leverage the metaverse to create immersive and engaging consumer brand experiences. Through the metaverse, brands can connect with their target audience, increase brand awareness, foster loyalty, and generate new revenue streams. Virtual product launches and tasting events within the metaverse offer brands an opportunity to reach a wider audience and generate buzz ​​José Cuervo Metadistillery Image Provided By By Rojkind http://rojkindarquitectos.com/work/metadistillery-jose-cuervo/ Image Source In Decentraland Jose Cuervo has created their Cuervo Metadistillary. It is a metaverse experience that brings the essence of the tequila production process to life in a virtual environment. Users can explore the virtual distillery, learn about the history and craftsmanship of Jose Cuervo tequila, make their own custom cocktail, and socialize with others.


In the retail industry, the metaverse offers new opportunities for virtual shopping experiences. Virtual shopping experiences can offer personalized recommendations, interactive product showcases, and social shopping. The metaverse provides a dynamic platform for brands to showcase products in realistic settings, generate excitement, and bridge the gap between online and offline shopping, fostering customer engagement and loyalty. It is expected that e-commerce value in the Metaverse will be $2-$2.6 trillion by 2030 West Elm Home Design Roblox Experience Image Provided By West Elm https://press.westelm.com/westelmhomedesign Image Source On Roblox, West Elm hosts their West Elm’s Home Design Experience. The experience enables users to virtually explore and design their dream homes using the brand’s products and designs. Customers can customize virtual spaces, experiment with furniture layouts, and visualize how West Elm’s items would fit into their real-world environments. This interactive approach enhances the shopping experience by allowing customers to make informed decisions and reduces guesswork.   


The metaverse holds immense potential to reshape how we interact, collaborate, and experience digital spaces. It promises to redefine the boundaries of digital interaction, unleashing a new era of interconnectedness and possibilities for individuals and businesses alike. With the collective efforts of technology companies, content creators, and industry leaders, the metaverse is poised to become an integral part of our digital future.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing

What Is Mixed Reality?

This article is Part 4 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

Our experiences are no longer simply real or imagined. Today, technology can change our experience of the world and introduce us to new worlds altogether. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the most common forms of Extended Reality (XR), but there’s also Mixed Reality (MR). What does that mean? It turns out, Mixed Reality can mean different things to different people. But, after reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what they’re saying – no matter who they are.


Extended Reality can be understood as spectrums in terms of the display technology and/or in terms of the nature and behavior of the virtual elements as well as how we interact with them. In both cases, unassisted vision lands on one end (no virtual elements) and Virtual Reality exists on the other end In the display spectrum, Augmented Reality would land in the middle, as it is a combination of the world as it appears unaided and the world altered and augmented with virtual elements. Another approach encourages looking at how users interact with an experience rather than merely how they view it. Virtual Reality environments are immersive and often interactive experiences like games and simulations that exist in their own virtual worlds, while Augmented Reality applications rely on the physical world to add value. Some criteria for whether an experience is classified as augmented reality, mixed reality, or virtual reality include the ability of virtual elements to react with one another as well. Virtuality_Continuum Image Provided by CreatXR https://creatxr.com/the-virtuality-spectrum-understanding-ar-mr-vr-and-xr/
Image Source
This “virtuality continuum” introduced by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino in 1994 is the touchstone of Mixed Reality. When companies or individuals use the term “Mixed Reality” they usually have a version of the virtuality continuum in mind, whether they realize it or not. However, these terms were introduced almost thirty years ago and the ways that these technologies have manifested since then leaves room for debate and discussion.

One Term, a Dozen Definitions

In the emerging technology space, different companies define Mixed Reality slightly differently, and there is no single universally accepted definition. While they don’t all explicitly cite the virtuality continuum, they do all address MR as incorporating both virtual elements and interactions in a physically-grounded environment. For example, ROSE uses the following definition of Mixed Reality: “Mixed Reality (MR) allows real and digital elements to interact with one another and the user like they would in the real world. Mixed reality maintains a connection to the real world, similar to Augmented Reality, and therefore is not considered fully immersive. In a Mixed Reality environment, 3D content will react to the user the same way it would in the real world. You must have an MR device, like a headset or glasses, to view an MR experience making it less accessible than Augmented Reality.” However, Knowing how ROSE defines uses a term doesn’t always help if you’re talking with someone from Microsoft, Meta, Varjo, or any other number of Extended Reality companies. For example, Microsoft provides the following definition of Mixed Reality: “Mixed reality is a blend of physical and digital worlds, unlocking natural and intuitive 3D human, computer, and environmental interactions.” Meta defines Mixed Reality in more abstract terms, discussing what the experiences should feel like for users. While it’s not as quotable, it gets at the core values that consistently make up our shared understanding of Mixed Reality: A computer-assisted view of the physical world designed around a human user. With that in mind, let’s look at some examples of Mixed Reality and “Mixed Reality-like” hardware and experiences.  


There are dedicated Mixed Reality devices. However, these days, most Virtual Reality devices are capable of experiences that arguably qualify as Mixed Reality. Similarly, some experiences available on Augmented Reality glasses and even mobile devices may constitute Mixed Reality-like experiences.

Mixed Reality Devices

Dedicated Mixed Reality devices, like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s Hololens, were designed specifically for MR experiences and are the best (and least contested) examples of the technology. 
Magic Leap 2 Image provided by Magic Leap https://www.magicleap.com/magic-leap-2
These headsets feature transparent lenses allowing a view of the physical environment that is augmented with a holographic display. These headsets also include advanced depth sensors, cameras, and software allowing “scene understanding” for interactive virtual elements to exist in or even originate from the user’s physical environment. However, these displays are bulky and expensive to produce. The software behind them also requires a lot more computing power than other forms of extended reality. As a result, they are almost exclusively limited to enterprise use cases. In response, other forms of hardware have a different approach to Mixed Reality-like experiences. Lynx-R1 Image provided by Lynx https://www.lynx-r.com/products/lynx-r1-headset Some coming devices, like the Lynx-R1, offer VR and AR with MR operating as a scale between these views.

Virtual Reality Devices

Most modern Virtual Reality devices are also “Mixed Reality” devices thanks to a technique called “passthrough.” This technique augments a live camera feed of the user’s surroundings instead of using a translucent or transparent display like AR and MR Virtual Reality devices don’t have transparent lenses that allow a user to see their physical environment directly. Instead, VR devices have a growing number of increasingly robust cameras. In addition to tracking, these cameras can reconstruct the user’s view within the VR displays and augment it to create a Mixed Reality-like experience on VR hardware. Companies like Varjo and Meta use the term “Mixed Reality” to describe experiences enabled via passthrough. Meta’s Quest line is a great example of how this technology is developing over time. Passthrough on the Quest 2 is black-and-white, grainy, and not very useful for most experiences. Passthrough on the Quest Pro is higher quality, color, and far more interactive. Image (c) Varjo https://varjo.com/solutions/design-and-engineering/ Varjo’s Reality Cloud even allows a sort of environment transfer that allows one user’s physical environment to be recreated in real time and rendered as a remote user’s virtual environment. This is another example of an experience that blurs the lines between Mixed Reality and virtual reality in ways that were likely not anticipated by Milgram and Kishino. Experiences enabled via passthrough are MR in terms of their interactivity with the user and with the user’s environment, even if they still aren’t as fully-featured as experiences on dedicated Mixed Reality devices. However, because the display of the user’s physical environment is digitally rendered, they aren’t “pure” Mixed Reality.

Augmented Reality Glasses and Mobile Devices

Nreal-Air Photo provided by Jon Jaehnig Augmented Reality glasses have a transparent display so, even though the virtual aspect is handled differently by the hardware, they have a similar starting point to dedicated Mixed Reality devices. However, the experiences that these devices can offer are more limited. This is largely because of computational constraints. Most AR glasses still use a small computing puck or a mobile phone so that they can maintain their small and mobile form factor. Even some mobile devices like smartphones can deliver Mixed Reality-like experiences using an approach similar to passthrough on VR headsets.  The device limitations prevent the full-featured environmental awareness and interactivity that makes MR so impactful. As a result, most Extended Reality applications on mobile devices and AR glasses consist of virtual elements placed into the environment by the user that remain largely non-responsive to the user and to the environment.

Ever-Changing Technologies

While developments like passthrough make Mixed Reality-like experiences more viable on VR headsets, developments in connectivity and computing help to bring these experiences to AR glasses. Shifts like cloud and edge computing are making it easier for smaller devices to do more work by moving computing to remote servers. Changes in hardware and design also make XR experiences on mobile devices more powerful. A few years ago, simple AR on most mobile devices was impossible because of the lack of cameras and depth sensors. Between mobile devices designed with these experiences in mind and developments in software, this is rapidly changing.  


Dedicated Mixed Reality headsets remain priced outside of availability for most consumers and most applications developed for these headsets accordingly fit into enterprise or academic use cases. However, Mixed Reality as it is offered through passthrough on VR headsets has opened the door more widely to MR consumer experiences.

Medical Education

GigXR-and-ANIMA-RES-Insight-Kidney-module Image provided by ANIMA RES https://animares.com/ https://animares.com/ GigXR was launched in 2019 specifically to take over XR content and projects from Pearson. Since then, the company has expanded the volume and interactivity of the content that it offers – often through partnerships with imaging and technology companies. Insight is a series of mixed reality medical education experiences created by GigXR and ANIMA RES, a 3D medical illustration company. The program requires at least one Microsoft HoloLens headset to run, allowing a student or instructor to manipulate virtually reconstructed organ systems in real-time. Additional viewers can join on headsets or on 2D platforms.

Design and Training

group-teleport-dollhouse Image provided by Campfire https://www.campfire3d.com/ Campfire uses its own in-house headset to view 3D models in a user’s environment that can be viewed and annotated collaboratively in real-time regardless of whether the users are together or remote. Like GigXR, not all participants need to have a headset. In fact, users without a headset can still interact with the model on desktop or mobile devices – just not in MR. The device is used for product design, as well as for training and education use cases.


I_Expect_You_to_Die Screenshot provided by Schell Games https://schellgames.com/portfolio/home-sweet-home “I Expect You to Die” is a Virtual Reality game series from developer Schell Games. However, with the “Home Sweet Home” installment of the series, a player’s den becomes a mini escape room, thanks to Mixed Reality. The free-to-play game runs on either the more rudimentary passthrough of the Meta Quest 2 or the more powerful MR display of the Quest Pro. Through clever tech and clever story writing, the experience incorporates elements of the player’s home environment into the plot.


There is a debate about which experiences and devices really qualify as “Mixed Reality.” Many people see this tension as unnecessary, arguing that most average users don’t use these terms anyway. While the term is valuable to specialists today, it is interesting to wonder what will happen to it as technological advances bridge the gap between AR and MR.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing

What Is Virtual Reality?

This article is Part 3 of a 9 Part series titled Immersive 101: AR for Marketing. You can download the PDF version here.

With Virtual Reality’s increasing time in the spotlight, most people probably have some surface-level understanding of what it is. However, different types of VR experiences and how they are being used in business, education, and entertainment are unclear for many. While many people still view VR as a technology of the future, it is already being used successfully across industries.  

What Is VR?

Virtual reality is a computer display technology that places the user within a completely digital world. That world can be something that has never existed in physical space or something that could never exist in physical space. This approach is common in video games and some social and cultural use cases, but it isn’t the only approach. Less imaginative virtual worlds are often used for remote work, education, or social use cases that give participants an immersive way to access an experience without being overwhelmed by complicated controls. “Digital Twins” – exact virtual replicas of physical spaces – are also used for workplace training, tourism, architecture, engineering, and construction, and other uses. By combining a real location with VR artistry, a physical place can be reimagined throughout its history – or its future. This approach is common in gaming, entertainment, and design planning. Students can visit a virtual version of Imperial Rome. Gamers can play adventures set in historic time periods or visions of the future. Designers can envision site construction or renovation.

A Brief History of Virtual Reality

Head-worn VR goes back to the late 1960s, but the “modern era” starts with the Oculus DK1 in 2013. The device was large, expensive, and had limited use cases but won big with developers, researchers, and yes, some early adopters.  Later that year, the Oculus Rift came out to become one of the first accessible Virtual Reality headsets. Two years later, Facebook (now Meta) purchased Oculus. In another two years, HTC released VIVE, with VIVE later to become its VR division with all headsets bearing the name. That same year, Sony launched the original PlayStation VR 1, Varjo was founded( though its VR 1 wouldn’t come out until 2019), and, Pico released “Goblin” – the first stand-alone VR headset. Products have been discontinued, names have changed, other companies have come and gone, and other companies are out there with their own products. But this is the basic timeline.  

Do I Need a Headset?

A virtual reality headset is required for the greatest sense of immersion in a Virtual Reality experience and some experiences only exist within VR headsets. However, a number of VR experiences also work on desktop or even on mobile devices. Some users find these devices more comfortable as well as more accessible than dedicated VR headsets. If you do decide on using a headset for full immersion, you should know that there are a large variety of Virtual Reality headsets currently on the market. Different headsets offer different abilities and limitations, and come in at different price points.

Tethered VR Headsets

Tethered VR headsets are wired to either a powerful PC or a game console. These headsets are capable of more robust experiences, but also cost more money, require expensive computers, and might be unsuitable for some applications because of the wired connection. The headset serves as a display as well as a tracker of the head, hands and controllers, and in some cases where a user is looking. Because most of the heavy computational lifting is done on the connected console, these headsets are able to offer more full-featured experiences and better graphics. The best example in gaming is currently Sony’s PlayStation VR 2. Gamers with this system have graphics nearly unparalleled in the consumer space, as well as advanced software like eye tracking. However, the headset costs $40 more than the only gaming console with which it is compatible – the PlayStation 5, which costs over $500. An image of the VIVE Pro Eye headset, from release https://www.vive.com/us/newsroom/2019-12-05/ One of the best examples in industry is the HTC VIVE Pro 2. VIVE is known for their unparalleled tracking options, and comprehensive headset design including impressive onboard audio hardware. However, the $800 headset relies on a whole network of additional hardware including a highly-capable computer, external tracking units, and an optional wireless adapter.

Stand-Alone VR Headsets

Stand-alone VR headsets are designed to work completely on their own, although most can plug into a computer to access more content. These devices tend to be more affordable and easier to set up, wear, use, and ship. However, experiences for these devices are often less fully featured and less graphically impressive. Because the device serves as the display as well as the computer, these headsets are more likely to have inhibitive memory limitations and shorter battery life. Most stand-alone headsets come in special editions with expanded memory and are compatible with adapters like external battery packs. However, they still don’t stand up to tethered headsets for some uses. Meta Quest 2 with KKCOBVR battery pack in front of nested controllers on white background. The Meta Quest 2, starting at $400, is currently the headset to have for lightweight VR gaming and many social and remote work applications. While the headset does have limited memory and graphics capabilities, it’s more than enough for remote collaboration at work and it has a growing ecosystem of accessible games and fitness applications as well as productivity apps.

3DoF Headsets

Almost all modern headsets operate in six degrees of freedom (6DoF). Older headsets had more limited sensors that didn’t support modern controllers or tracking inputs and offered only “3DoF” – a user can look around within a 3D virtual environment but can’t move freely within it. These headsets have waned in popularity as the ability to offer more complex VR experiences has expanded. However, these headsets were sufficient for some use cases including viewing 3D images and videos. Further, they are less expensive and easier to use. As a result, they have held on in some enterprise and entertainment settings. The Pico G2 4k with accompanying remote As of this writing, the most recent 3DoF headset is the Pico G2 4K. However, Pico recently announced an upcoming third generation of their 3DoF enterprise offering demonstrating the continued utility of this often overlooked model.

Specialized Headsets

Some headsets come with even more sensors for use in assessment, diagnostics or academia, or are specifically calibrated for certain specialist applications. Finnish manufacturer Varjo is probably the leader in both categories. The $7,100 Varjo XR-3 Focal Edition is a modified version of one of the company’s existing enterprise headsets with an adjusted focal plane to optimize for near-to user interactions. The headset is specifically designed for simulation use cases including flight training. The $25,000 Galea combines the Varjo Aero headset with neurological sensors developed by OpenBCI. The VR headset will be capable of measuring a wearer’s gaze, heart rate, skin response, brain activity, and more. The headset should be in the hands of early-access groups this summer for use in human studies and advanced software computer development.

VR Controllers and Adapters

In addition to specialized headsets, specialized controllers can increase the sense of immersion in a VR experience for entertainment, simulations, or athletic training.  A trainer uses VR accessories, including a gun adapter, for increased immersion. Image from KAT VR blog https://www.kat-vr.com/blogs/news/kat-walk-mini-s-vr-arcade-training-treadmill-coming-in-july-2021 Gamers and law enforcement or defense personnel have access to attachments that turn the controllers into a reliably tracked simulation gun. Casual gamers or professional athletes working on their form can turn their controllers into golf clubs or pickleball paddles. Surgeons can use replicas of medical instruments to realistically practice complex procedures.  

Virtual Reality Industries and Use Cases

Some use cases of virtual reality like training, onboarding, and remote collaboration, could benefit literally any industry. However, there are some industries that have particularly adopted VR and that VR is particularly well suited for.

AEC and Design

During a previous technological shift, the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry showed us how useful 2D computer visualization could be with their massive adoption of Computer Assisted Design (CAD). With the power of virtual reality, these files take on a whole new dimension. Automotive and product design follows a similar pattern. Entire models can be designed in VR (or an existing CAD model can be turned into a virtual environment). This makes it easier than ever for designers to get a feeling of what a building, vehicle, or product could be before so much as 3D printing a mockup.
Image (c) Varjo https://varjo.com/solutions/design-and-engineering/
(c) Varjo
One company, Treble Technologies, even uses 3D models to replicate the acoustics of a space. Through this technology, designers don’t just know what a building will look like before it’s built, they know what it will sound like.


Physical fashion designers can benefit from VR in all of the ways that other kinds of designers can – through remote collaboration and immersive modeling. Enterprising companies are also using extended reality technologies to show fashions to retailers and wearers without the cost of physical fashion shows. However, with virtual spaces and virtual representations of users comes the need for virtual fashions. Some fashion companies, like House of Blueberry exist solely in VR and create exclusively digital fashions – even teaming up with physical fashion brands to do it.

Food, Beverage, and CPG

Most common food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) XR activations happen in AR on the mobile phone because mobile phones are much more widely used than VR headsets (for now). However, a growing number of these experiences are increasingly immersive worlds, like CocaCola’s recent Dreamworld activation, or a more recent activation that created a personalized “metaversion” avatar from a series of interactive prompts. The author's uniquely generated "metaversion" - one of Coca-Cola's interactive XR activations.


With the emergence of virtual real estate, a growing number of retail companies are establishing presences in virtual worlds. While these may or may not sell physical goods, they are a good way of spreading brand representation to an emerging medium in a potentially impactful way. An author's screenshot of PINKO's virtual storefront by Emperia, featuring shelves of physical bags represented by 3D models. Companies don’t necessarily need to buy virtual land either. Emperia works with companies to create virtual showrooms that integrate with a retailer’s existing online presence and online payment strategies.  

Future of the Industry

VR software is continuing its history of becoming more user-friendly and more visually impressive, while the hardware becomes smaller and more affordable. As big names like Sony and Meta increasingly produce better content on more accessible devices, adoption is continuing to grow. Meanwhile, advancements in how content is created for immersive worlds on consoles, apps, and the web make it easier than ever for new and aspiring developers to leave their mark on the virtual world.

Read the rest of the Immersive 101: AR for Marketing series:

What is Extended Reality

What is Augmented Reality

What is Virtual Reality

What is Mixed Reality

What is the Metaverse

What is an AR Social Filter

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

9 Types of AR and How You Can Use Them For Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Firm to Boost ROI with AR Marketing