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Why headset manufacturers should reconsider referral systems

Oculus Quest 2

Let’s talk about hardware referrals. I’ve been thinking about how VR can spread a little further, and other marketing initiatives that can be used to penetrate new markets. 

The question was prompted by an insightful poll from Emerging Tech Brew, where a quarter of Americans have tried a VR or AR headset – higher than expected – and of that number, two-thirds would definitely try it again. With that said, only 28% are excited about the technology. In short, the appetite to try it is not there; but once people try it, then it has a powerful pulling effect. 

What it indicates is that it needs a system where Americans can try the headset, and then are more likely to purchase one for themselves. The more chances people have to try it, the more likely they will want to return. Store activations work well, for example, or invest in LBVR with an option to buy headsets afterward. 

In short, consumer hardware companies should consider a referral system. Across many generations, they trust particular figures and take their views. The statistics show that VR has a compelling force behind it – one that is easier to share with standalone headsets that can travel outside a home. So the next step might be to incentivise people to refer their friends, so they can both benefit. 

‘But Ffiske, doesn’t Facebook do this anyway?’ They have a system of a sort, but it is linked to the software rather than the hardware. We’ve been shown over the years that consumer headsets are a price elastic product, where the cheaper it is the more that people buy it. As noted previously, the Oculus Go sold more in the UK than the Quest at one point because of the drastic price difference, not the quality of the hardware. So the incentive should move away from game purchases towards hardware price deductions, and the difference can be recuperated via purchases in the online store.

So my advice: invest in good referral schemes, and the effect may snowball in the future.