We have been discussing the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) for many years now, but we didn’t see it in action until Pokémon GO got millions following their smartphones to random locations to try and catch Pokemon monsters.
Since then brands across industries have been exploring AR technologies to improve their marketing initiatives and boost revenue. Merging both the physical and digital world is a huge advantage for businesses as you can blur the lines between both worlds while keeping the message in context.
From a sales and marketing perspective, that alone can help close the deal (because the AR takes the power of suggestion to whole new level). With global investment in AR and Virtual Reality expected to reach $17.8 billion this year, you can expect it to disrupt a variety of industries.
However, how are brands using AR technologies today to transform their business and increase revenue? Let’s take a look.
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1. AR Lets Customers Try It Before They Buy It
For decades, IKEA has depended on shoppers visiting their stores across the planet to sell furniture. However, this is changing rapidly with the release of IKEA Place, an AR-based mobile app that helps customers preview IKEA furniture in their homes before making a purchase.
With this AR app, customers can even view 3D renderings of over two thousand products from different angles. Once a purchase decision is made, customers are seamlessly transferred to the company’s website to complete the transaction.
IKEA isn’t the only furniture company to leverage AR technology, Wayfair also published their very own AR-powered shopping app last year called WayfairView.
AR isn’t just helping brands sell furniture, its also boosting conversion rates by encouraging customers to try on different shades of makeup before buying it. For example, Estée Lauder's AR chatbot allows customers to try on different shades of lipstick colors with their app while the chatbot gives them beauty tips.
This approach is slowly becoming the norm within the fashion and beauty industry as Sephora’s Virtual Artist app is also leveraging AR to boost engagement and increase sales.
2. AR Helps Drive In-Store Engagement
Tesco is now using AR technologies to drive in-store engagement and loyalty with their Tesco Discover app. The supermarket giant is essentially taking brand engagement to the next level with AR content and gamification.
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With this initiative, the company encourages customers to spend more time in the store and discover more. By creating these immersive experiences, the company has managed to not only enable customers to virtually try products before buying it but also made the whole shopping experience far more exciting.
The AR-powered app also breathes new life into promotional activities. For example, Tesco’s in-store easter eggs hunt helped families across the UK have a fun time hunting for virtual eggs while they went about their grocery shopping.
3. AR Breathes New Life Into Print Magazines
With the exponential growth of the internet and the emergence of smartphones, people have been predicting the demise of the print medium for more than a decade. However, although readership numbers haven’t been as high as the early 90s, print media is determined to stay relevant by extending the boundaries of print with AR.
For example, last September, W Magazine made their cover interactive with their Beyond the Page App. When the cover page was viewed through the app, the image of Katy Perry was brought to life in 3D.
When readers touched her forehead or lips, it initiated short dialogue pop-ups where the singer talked about rebellion. While this particular AR experience might seem basic to some, it’s certainly taking print media into a whole new realm (and you can bet that Katy Perry’s legions of fans rushed to get a copy).
AR’s relationship with the print medium is also not limited to magazines. In fact, anything in print can be augmented and transformed into a sales channel.
As technology evolves, AR will permeate almost every industry imaginable. While we have been talking about its potential for the last couple of years, we will start to see many more real-world examples by the end of the year.
From a marketing perspective, if brands aren’t involved with AR in some way, they will risk falling behind the pack (in the near future). This is because AR will play a critical role in marketing your product or service.