VR in Boating: Building a Virtual Boat Showroom

February 16, 2023

As technology evolves, industries are finding new ways to use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to improve the customer experience. In the boating industry, these technologies offer unique opportunities to engage customers and help them visualize their dream boat before making a purchase. As customers look to do 24/7 research from home, educate themselves more before reaching out to sales and compare their options, a virtual boat showroom will be key to your marketing program. It is the best way to put your prospects in the captain’s chair and move them further down the purchase funnel.

Using AR and VR in Boat Sales

Here are some of the benefits of using AR and VR to sell boats to customers and why boat manufacturers should consider implementing these technologies:

  • Enhance the customer experience: AR and VR allow customers to experience the boat as if they were already on the water, providing them with a real sense of how it will look and feel. This level of immersion can help to build trust and confidence in the product, leading to a more satisfying purchase experience.
  • Streamline the buying process: By using AR and VR, customers can view multiple boats in a single location, eliminating the need to physically visit multiple dealerships. This can save time and effort, making the buying process more convenient and efficient.
  • Personalize the experience: With AR and VR, customers can customize their virtual boat experience to match their preferences and needs. They can choose different colors, add accessories, and see how their choices will look in real-time, making it easier to make an informed decision.
  • Provide a competitive advantage: Boat manufacturers who embrace AR and VR technologies can differentiate themselves from their competition, providing customers with a more engaging and interactive buying experience.
  • Cost savings: By using AR and VR, boat manufacturers can reduce the need for physical prototypes and showrooms, saving money on logistics costs, especially for boat shows
    Drive Advance Interest: using virtual models, boat manufacturers can allow prospects to experience boats that aren’t yet available and drive pre-sales interest.

Virtual Boat Showrooms

A virtual showroom is an entirely digital environment, so you can create ideal conditions to showcase each product. Early iterations of these showrooms were based on a 360-photograph of an existing showroom, but the more engaging version is built entirely virtually. You can choose any environment and virtually place (and change!) and products showcased inside. And background marketing images or signage will never go out of date.  An entirely virtual boat showroom includes 3D models of your products and allows users to see those products from any angle, zoom in from bow to stern, and more. Because a virtual showroom is created from rendered images and not just photography, you can put your customer inside to view the instrument panel, in the cabin to view amenities, or let them anchor your boat somewhere tropical or at a cottage dock. Your prospects will spend more time on your website (5-10x longer in the travel industry), and get to know more about your products in a way that stays with them longer than reading brochures or talking to sales.



AR for Boats: A True Try Before You Buy Experience

AR lets your clients place a digital model of the boat in the real world. To do so, they only need a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. When you build your virtual boat showroom, ensure the vendor you choose has experience viewing AR models. When they are incorporated into the showroom, a customer can select any item form the showroom to ‘send to AR’. Ideally they will get a link or QR code on their phone that makes it easy for them to place the boat - at their dock, in their driveway or anywhere they want to explore its features. AR works to help overcome sales objections in many areas. If size/fit is a question, the buyer can place the boat in their driveway or shed (as long as your models are correct in scale). If they are hung up on which model, which colorway or another decision point, AR can help people feel they’ve seen the options more clearly and get them to a choice. 


AR creates attachment letting customers quite literally try the boat in their own space. AR in the automotive industry also drives up average purchase and upsell because it makes it easier to see the value of some features in person. AR is as close as it comes to trying before buying in many ways and removes the need to “picture it” and makes your virtual boat showroom more powerful.

Learn more about marketing and selling with AR with these 5 examples.

Using AR and VR in boat sales through virtual boat showrooms has the potential to revolutionize the industry, providing a more engaging and personalized experience for customers. Boat manufacturers who adopt these technologies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and gain an advantage with engaged customers who become attached to your options early in their buying cycle. 

If you’re not sure where to begin building your virtual boat showroom or AR models, talk to the experts at Yulio. We’ve built showrooms large and small for a variety of manufacturers and have the attention to detail and visual excellence you need to show your products off to full advantage. Start a conversation here and check out our SmithSystem school furniture virtual showroom

Read More: Download our Virtual Boat Showroom Whitepaper to learn more


Michael Astle

Michael Astle

Michael is a writer for KiSP and Yulio, writing on topics such as renderings, The KITS collaborator, augmented reality, and virtual reality. With a personal interest in technology and design, Michael is always excited to see the newest technological tools and how they can bring ideas to life.