September 15, 2017
Augmented reality has huge potential to be a strong medium for marketing in the future by applying an interactive digital layer over our reality. From displaying additional information to enhancing communication methods, AR developers can change the way we interact with the world and the environment around us.
Retail brands everywhere are already looking into how to bring the power of AR technology into their everyday marketing practices. How can AR engage consumers? How can this technology be used to further customer experiences?
These are some of the questions retail brands are asking themselves in an effort to use AR platforms to enhance their retail experience. By bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, retail brands have a huge opportunity to get creative in garnering more interest for their brands and attracting new customers.
Measure ROI in Real Time
Although the technology is still relatively recent, new and exciting projects in augmented reality are being deployed all the time. Leveraging an AR platform for a marketing strategy has one huge benefit at the moment: proof of return on investment (ROI).
Using AR, it’s pretty easy to measure ROI almost immediately. However, as with all marketing strategies, an AR-centric campaign has to be planned and executed properly. As long as the focus is to improve customer engagement, promote long-term loyalty, and to increase sales conversions, the use of AR can have huge benefits on a company’s performance.
Understanding Where AR is Going
The latest forecasts for AR products show that the global market will surge by around 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024, according to research done by Global Market Insights. The potential for the AR market is clearly huge in the next few years.
Originally developed for military use, augmented reality has a lot more applications in different industries, such as medical, automotive and consumer retail. The use of AR will become much more commonplace as the technology advances and the adoption of its use becomes more accessible.
New retail trends are forcing retailers to re-think their infrastructures and digital strategy. Nowadays, shoppers expect a lot more when it comes to their online and in-store experiences. With that being said, retailers have to respond by updating their store formats, providing more convenient payment methods, and/or being more accessible on online platforms.
Augmented reality technology can offer retailers the chance to change all of that. Whether it’s by bringing up additional information about a product instantaneously, scanning an image to bring up a specific product in mind, or even to see how a product can be customized through AR, the applications for this are limitless.
Augmented reality focuses on connecting the digital world with the physical to offer real-time digital information, such as images, text, or experiences. Users can then interact with these virtual layers to discover more information, learn about products associated with it, see customization options, or to add it to their cart.
For retailers, this real-time interaction between user and digital interface allows marketing and promotional campaigns to measure their ROI. Every time a customer interacts with an element within the augmented reality interface, retailers can see data that shows how the product was interacted with, both demographically-speaking and literally.
Such measurements can include the duration time a product was viewed, what location the user was in when using the app, what other products were viewed in the same session, etc. All of this information is incredibly valuable and validates the AR platform’s usefulness. With such immediate results available for understanding their audience and thereby maximizing ROI, marketers can learn a lot more about their customers and what works/doesn’t work in order to improve their bottom line.
A key result of brand and customer loyalty is revenue growth and engagement. Recent studies have shown that engaged consumers are more likely to purchase on a more frequent basis (up to 90 percent more frequently).
They are also likely to spend 60 percent more on each transaction they make and five times more likely to express their loyalty to that brand, stating that it is the only brand they will purchase from in the future. These factors show that engaged customers will deliver nearly three times the value to a brand over the course of just one year.
Augmented reality technology has the potential to achieve and exceed that level of engagement. As our society transitions toward the next wave of digital technology, instead of looking down at a device, we’ll be looking through the device to experience the world around us in a new way.
Brand marketers who don’t want to advertise through traditional mediums like TV campaigns can harness AR technology instead. They can launch campaigns that would provide them the results and data needed to establish a competitive edge, while enhancing customer engagement.
An established strategy must be in place if retailers want to use AR solutions to deliver tangible results. The strategy has to be customer centric and not just a gimmick. Customers can see through that and it can result in more damage than good. A campaign that is out of place or poorly executed can lead to a disjointed or difficult customer experience, which can lead to a loss of loyalty and sales.
The good news about these AR campaigns is that the real-time feedback from AR technology, combined with how effective it is at boosting engagement, ensures that retailers can see a return on investment quickly from this implementation. Now that the world is more competitive than ever, retailers have to think of new ways to attract customers. AR technology is the new way to do exactly that, while driving ROI growth.
Brendan Scully started his career in augmented reality as an undergraduate research assistant at Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor Labs. Now applying this knowledge to his own business, he is an Augmented Reality Producer and CEO of Scully Creative Labs LLC. While based in Brooklyn, New York, Brendan oversees a diverse portfolio of internal and client-sponsored product development projects.