How Do VR and Augmented Reality Impact Cannabis Marketing?

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How Do VR and Augmented Reality Impact Cannabis Marketing?

Written by: Olivia Swann

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Some may not have foreseen the metaverse and cannabis as a likely pairing. However, with the strict regulations surrounding cannabis marketing in more traditional media sources like TV and social media, virtual reality and augmented reality are promising new places for cannabis marketing to expand free from stifling restrictions.


What’s the Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, augmented and virtual reality are slightly different. Let’s review some of the critical differences with examples to have a clearer picture before moving forward. 

VR is the computer-generated simulation of a 3D image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a headset with a screen inside, hand-held controls, and body trackers or sensors. Picture a classic VR headset such as the Occulus Rift made by Meta.

A man in a black crew neck t shirt uses haptic controllers and wears a VR headset

Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

Augmented reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, and haptic (e.g., touch), among others. For example, Pokemon Go uses augmented reality. The player can walk around and interact with real objects in their surroundings when playing the game. 


Cannabis PR and Marketing Challenges and the VR Solution

Cannabis PR, marketing and advertisement have always been challenging for the industry. Cannabis marketing agencies must jump through hoops to represent clients in the cannabis industry due to strict regulations and limitations put on marketing cannabis products. 

Virtual reality presents a unique opportunity for cannabis companies and the cannabis marketing firms that represent them to market their products and create interactive consumer experiences. There are already several examples of how the industry uses VR to reach its customer base. 

An Indianapolis-based CBD dispensary, Higher Life was one of the first companies in the cannabis industry to create a CBD dispensary in the metaverse. Customers can view products and shop in this virtual environment designed to mimic the actual interior of the brick-and-mortar store.

Recently, a cannatech manufacturer and distribution company partnered with metaverse company Alt Magic to open a virtual dispensary. You can visit the dispensary in virtual reality via your smartphone, VR headset, or other internet-enabled devices.

Nextech AR Solutions also designed a virtual dispensary to enhance functionality in the cannabis industry and provide free education to consumers. Growers would be able to capture 3D images of flower that shows trichomes and provides a 360-degree view of the flower. 

Such interactive digital experiences facilitate the process of cultivators marketing their products to dispensaries. They also hope to use the platform to enhance education for consumers through virtual budtenders able to answer personalized questions. 


How Augmented Reality Enhances the Cannabis Consumer’s Experience

A lit-up screen displaying Cova's point of sale cannabis software is in focus atop a glass counter in a dispensary. In the background, a male budtender with long, curly hair helps a female cannabis customer choose from an array of cannabis beverages and edibles.

Photo by CovaSoftware on Unsplash

The AR and VR cannabis experience benefits both cultivators and dispensaries from a marketing perspective. It enables them to reach a larger audience and avoid stringent marketing restrictions on the cannabis industry. 

Visiting a virtual dispensary has its perks for consumers as well. Many consumers have questions or want to view products but may be hesitant to visit a dispensary due to privacy concerns. 

A virtual experience can provide consumers with helpful information, enhance customer service experience, and allow them to view products and ask questions while maintaining anonymity. It may also provide a valuable outlet for homebound consumers. 


Is Your Dispensary Missing Out on VR and AR Cannabis Customers?

VR and AR are the future. If you’re a dispensary owner, you should consider incorporating VR into your dispensary marketing strategy. If you’re a cannabis marketing agency, you must be aware of this trend when assisting your clients with their marijuana marketing strategy. 

Even if it is impossible to incorporate VR or AR into your current strategy, keeping abreast of new industry-specific marketing trends is best practice. Some marketing tactics are evergreen, but with cannabis PR and marketing restrictions, it’s not a bad idea to look for new tactics. 


Are you seeking help from our experienced psychedelics, cannabis, CBD and crypto/blockchain PR, SEO and marketing team? Let us know if you need help researching trends and topics, crafting communications, or securing news spots by contacting NisonCo here.

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