Virtual mannequins also referred to as virtual presenters may be an innovative way to grab the attention of consumers but most fall well short of unlocking their true potential value for marketers and brands.
Virtual mannequins are certainly eye catching to consumers. Upon first glance it’s unclear if the virtual mannequin is real (or not). The uniqueness of the visuals is definitely an attention grabber. Given the amount of competing marketing visuals and digital signage consumers are constantly bombarded with in the physical world, any marketing tool that can capture their attention is a good thing. Virtual mannequins can be quite successful at both attracting consumer’s attention and delivering a single, continuous marketing message.
Actual Consumer Interactions
Where most virtual mannequins fall short is the actual customer interaction once they have captured their attention. Many virtual mannequins are used simply as digital signage repeating (over and over) the same marketing message. Using virtual mannequins as a novelty attention grabber or digital signage is a wasted opportunity for marketers. Once a virtual mannequin has attracted the attention of a consumer it should have the ability to intelligently and instantly deliver personalized information. By giving consumers options such as language preference and product interests using artificial intelligence, a touchscreen interface or voice (speech to text) recognition. Virtual mannequins can deliver the personalized information or marketing message each individual consumer is interested in receiving. Delivering personalized marketing messages through a highly interactive and visually engaging virtual mannequin can create an experience most consumers will never forget.
Delivering Offers, Collecting Information and Conducting Commerce
Beyond just interacting with consumers, virtual mannequins should have the ability to deliver personalized marketing messages and offers (coupons, discounts, specials), collect customer information such as an email address and even conduct commerce transactions on the spot. Deploying an integrated touchscreen interface, credit card swipe and printer with the virtual mannequins should allow them to intelligently and effectively become an actual extension of your brand’s workforce.
Access to Live Support
Virtual mannequins should have the ability to deliver live video chat support from your brand’s call center should a consumer need some extra attention or have questions only a “real” human can answer. Even the best artificial intelligence has limits today when it comes to interacting directly with consumers. Always having the option of providing live video chat support along with your brand’s virtual mannequin will ensure consumers will get their questions answered and have an excellent engagement experience with your brand.
Gathering Consumer Analytics
One of the most important values virtual mannequins should provide a brand is their ability to gather insights into consumer’s interests and preferences in the physical world. Gathering and tracking customer analytics online has become standard practice for almost all brands. However, gathering information on consumer preferences and interests in the physical world is largely left to analyzing only post sales information. Virtual mannequins should gather consumer analytics that can help brands better serve their customers.
Virtual mannequins may be effective at getting the attention of consumers in the physical world. However, it’s the brands and marketers that fully understand the true value of the customer engagement and analytics virtual mannequins can deliver that will maximize the results from this new marketing innovation.