From visualising how a new sofa will fit in your lounge, to working out what style of sunglasses will suit you best – Augmented Reality now plays a pivotal role in sales and marketing for the retail sector, with Ikea, Ray-Ban, Converse and Lego leading the pack.
For those who haven’t spent much time thinking about AR or even tapping into the realms of Pokémon Go, ‘Augmented Reality’ combines real-life surroundings with digital media – often placing virtual objects or 3D models within your world, in real time.
For Pokémon Go enthusiasts, AR has transformed gamification, where users can battle a whole range of Pokémon in their seemingly ‘natural habitat’ – whether enroute to work or going out for lunch – successfully demonstrating how AR has the potential to blend your day to day surroundings with digital media anytime, any place.
AR for digital marketing?
This sense of ‘anytime, any place’ is what positions AR as an excellent marketing tool, particularly as we move closer and closer to what Google calls a ‘Mobile-First-World’.
The stats reveal all: We now live in a world where there are more smartphone subscriptions than people, where users are picking up their mobile devices on an average of 76 times per day plus, and where 69% of searches that are mobile based now result in a business telephone call straight from the Google search results.
That said, AR offers an exciting potential for businesses to engage with their target audiences on a whole new level – right from the ‘comfort’ of their mobile devices.
From clothes stores helping online shoppers visualise what their products will look like when worn, to hotels showcasing their corporate meeting rooms to potential clients.
With AR, businesses can show their customers exactly what it would be like to invest in their products, their services and their brand, and with this visualisation comes the opportunity for change - in a good way. Whether that’s changing the sofa you were originally going to buy as it didn’t quite fit in your lounge, or the style of the Ray-Bans you have always wanted, as they didn’t suit your face shape. Both examples demonstrate how a potential customer would have avoided disappointment, whilst the business kept the sale – and what’s more is exciting, is that those sales would have both been secured from a mobile device – anytime, any place.
How can I use it?
Just using the examples provided, it is clear that AR has the potential to transform consumer experience, whilst enabling brands to really engage their target audiences. Transformed visualisation is the key here - AR doesn’t create a new reality, but it enhances what already exists and it is this enhancement that will increase consumer interest, sales and revenue growth.
Although several brands have used AR for years, for others the concept is very much in its infancy and I for one am really excited to see how AR will play a pivotal role in sales and marketing strategies for brands moving forwards – particularly as we become ever-reliant and engaged with our smartphone devices.
By Mark Wright, director at Climb Online
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