Exploring Augmented Reality
Have you ever realized after purchasing a makeup product online that it doesn’t go well with your skin tone? How about furniture that just doesn’t seem right when placed in the room? We all have experienced these issues at least once in our life. Doesn’t it make you wish if there was a way you could try out the products before buying them? This is where the concept of augmented reality comes into play. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of augmented reality and the different ways in which it can be used in marketing strategies.
But before that, we need to give you a clear overview of what augmented reality is, how it works, and why is it essential for your business?
What is Augmented Reality and How Important is It for Your Business?
Augmented reality, more commonly known as AR, is a technology that enhances our real-world experience by integrating virtual enhancements like text, graphics, and audio into it, using interactive AR screens, holograms, head-mounted displays, etc.
Let’s explore an example of this to understand the concept better.
Lowe’s, one of the leading home improvement stores in the world, has launched an in-home AR app, “Lowe’s 3D,” that enables customers to digitally view and experience products in their homes. Customers can use Lowe’s app to browse through products, scan their room using the app and virtually drop the products in their homes by pointing their device to the desired area. Moreover, they can move around to view the product from every angle before finalizing their purchase.
This is one example of how augmented reality works and how brands are using it to provide a better and more personalized customer experience.
Companies are certainly getting a lot of benefits from incorporating AR into their business. Research shows that using augmented reality in your online shopping experience can increase your conversion rates by up to 40%. It reduces the return rate by increasing the customer’s post-purchase satisfaction. How else can it benefit your business?
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Your Business
1. It’s New and Exciting
Although augmented reality has been around for a while, it is still relatively new and exciting for many people. With continuous advancement, customers find it unique and are drawn towards businesses that use AR to check it out and have a fun experience.
Let’s take the example of Timberland. The clothing brand has created a virtual fitting room where, using motion-sensing technology, shoppers can see an image of their face on a similarly sized body with different outfits.
By using augmented reality, Timberland provides a fun and exciting alternative to the customers, gaining traction as a result.
2. Takes the Store to the Customer
Buying products online is a risky business as customers don’t know if they will like the product once they receive it. To resolve this issue, brands can add an AR element to their online shopping system and take the store to the customer!
Sephora has been using this method by collaborating with ModiFace to create the most realistic AR try-on app, “Virtual Artist App.” Customers using the Sephora App can use their phone camera to see how the products will look on their faces. It doesn’t end here. The app also suggests tools like makeup brushes and blenders that can be used to apply a certain product.
Sephora’s use of augmented reality adds to the customers’ convenience and boosts sales by attracting tech-savvy consumers toward the brand.
3. Provides Kids with Interactive Experiences
Not only is augmented reality exciting for grown-ups, but it also provides an interactive experience to the kids too and gives them opportunities to explore new dimensions.
BIC Kids has launched a DrawyBook app that enables kids to scan their drawings and make them part of interactive stories. It includes stories that can be completed by the kids using their imagination and illustrations, giving them something new and creative to do.
4. Can be Used in Content Marketing
If you want your company to stand out from the crowd, you need to implement augmented reality into your content. This can be done by working out the customer’s pain points and using AR to solve their issues.
Let’s take StubHub’s example, an app to purchase sports, concerts, and theatre tickets. For the Super Bowl, people usually want to get seats with a clear view, but that can’t be figured out beforehand. In 2017, StubHub introduced an AR feature that enabled customers to view a 3D model of the stadium, visualize the field’s view from various seats and choose the right one.
5. Enhances Brand Image
By providing potential customers with a well-designed augmented reality experience, brands can leave a lasting impression on their minds; as a result, generating indirect sales and enhancing their image.
The best example of this strategy would be Pepsi Max’s bus station campaign. They put up virtual windows on the bus station walls, which showed monsters, UFOs, and robots roaming around the street, wreaking havoc. Not only did it make the waiting time fun, but it also made the experience memorable for the people.
These are some examples of how companies put augmented reality in action and benefited from it.
With the increasing number of companies incorporating AR into their businesses, it is expected that worldwide spending on augmented reality will reach $160 billion in 2023, a 78.5% increase from the $16.8 billion forecasts for 2019.
Let’s see how you, as a marketer, can include AR into your marketing strategies to provide an engaging customer experience and take your business up a level.
Incorporating AR into your Marketing Strategies
1. Trying Before Buying
Enabling customers to try out a product before they buy it using AR will save time and keep them engaged and excited. It can be used for makeup, apparel, and home decor items.
2. Augmented Touring
Companies can add a digital component to physical locations to give customers a virtual experience without physically visiting the place. A good example is 3D floor plans and virtual house tours of real estate to give the potential tenants an idea of the site.
3. Augmented Branding
By incorporating AR into branding material like business cards and brochures, companies can let customers access additional features and services to connect with them in multiple ways. For example, scanning a QR code to view a video giving detailed information about a feature mentioned on a brochure.
Augmented reality has expanded its reach and is now the driving force behind sales and marketing. People are always drawn towards new and innovative things, and AR gives them exactly that.
With the way things are progressing, AR would be mainstream within no time, revolutionizing the way we live, work, and shop!