From a marketer’s point of view, I actually believe augmented reality has much more potential than with virtual reality. While virtual reality will allow us to experience a totally artificial experience, augmented reality will enhance and interact with the world we currently live in. We’ve shared before how AR may impact marketing, but I don’t believe we’ve fully explained augmented reality and provided examples.
Key to the potential with marketing is the advancement of smartphone technology. With bandwidth plentiful, computing speed that rivaled desktops just a few years ago, and plenty of memory – smartphone devices are opening the doors for augmented reality adoption and development. In fact, by the end of 2017, 30% of smartphone users used an AR app… over 60 million users in the US alone Tweet This!
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a digital technology that overlays text, images or video over physical objects. At its core, AR provides all types of information such as location, heading, visual, audio and acceleration data, and opens an avenue for real-time feedback. AR provides a way to bridge the gap between the physical and digital experience, empowering brands to better engage with their customers and drive real business results in the process.
How is AR Being Deployed for Sales and Marketing?
According to a recent report by Elmwood, simulation technologies like VR and AR are set to offer immediate value mainly for retail and consumer brands in two key areas. Firstly, they will add value where they enhance the customer’s experience of the product itself. For example, by making complex product information and other important content more engaging through gamification, providing step-by-step coaching, or giving behavioural nudges, such as in the case of medication adherence.
Secondly, these technologies will take off where they can help brands inform and transform the way people perceive the brand by producing rich, interactive experiences and compelling narratives prior to purchase. This could include making packaging a new channel for engagement, bridging the gap between online and physical shopping, and bring traditional advertising to life with powerful brand stories.
Examples of Augmented Reality Implementations for Sales and Marketing
One leader is IKEA. IKEA has a shopping app that allows you to easily navigate their story and find the products you identified while browsing at at home. With IKEA Place for iOS or Android, their app that allows users virtually “place” IKEA products in your space.
Amazon has followed the example with AR view for iOS.
Another example on the market is Yelp’s feature in their mobile app called Monocle. If you download the app and open the more menu, you’ll find an option called Monocle. Open Monocle and Yelp will utilize your geographic location, your phone’s positioning, and your camera to overlay their data visually through the camera view. It’s actually pretty cool – I’m surprised they don’t talk about it very often.
AMC Theatres offers a mobile application that allows you to point at a poster and watch a movie preview.
Modiface launched interactive mirrors for retail outlets where the user can observe how they’d look with makeup, hair, or skin supplies applied. Sephora has released their technology via a mobile application.
Augmented Reality: Past, Present, and Future
Today's digitally empowered customers create a challenge for organizations to sell, market and service them effectively. Expectations are higher than ever before, and customers openly share both positive and negative experiences with just a few clicks on review websites, app ratings and social media.