Augmented Reality in Marketing
July 28, 2021
9 min read
Recent markets are driven by more and more needs and desires of the consumers. With technology advancement, market desire changes, a brand must keep up the pace with those changes.
A recent emerging trend among sales and strategies is Augmented Reality ( AR ). It allows the brands to offer unique experiences to their customers with the feasibility of tapping into their mobile phones. Mobile phones have become the most crucial media type using which a customer interacts with brands and makes purchase decisions. With AR, brands have another tool in their toolkit when it comes to gaining sales and enhancing brand value through smartphone devices.
So, how can marketers use Augmented Reality to promote their brand, and what are the benefits of it? Here are some of the most important topics covering Augmented Reality in marketing and AR-enhanced Branding.
What is Augmented Reality?
AR or Augmented Reality is a technology which lets people overlay digital content (text, images, sounds) over a real environment. AR has become very popular in the last few years. Apple introduced its AR Kit platform in 2017, and Google launched a web API prototype later that year. And then comes Apple’s AR glasses, which will allow wearers have AR experiences without looking down at a phone.
In simple words, AR is soon going to become a part of everyday life. The most commonly used Augmented Reality applications depend on smartphones to showcase the digitally augmented world. Various devices can showcase AR, and the list is only expanding with AR glasses, screens, mobile devices, handheld devices, head-mounted displays, etc.
Augmented Reality Applications
People have been trying to augment their reality since the 1990s, when Boeing developed their own Augment touring and assistance options like assembling airplanes. AR got more popular after the launch of the first version of Google Glasses. However, AR is able to make its way in the consumer market only in the past 5 years after handheld devices have become more powerful to host such experiences.
Presently, AR has plenty of industry-level and professional applications ranging from preparation for space exploration to virtual shopping environments. However, it’s being used by most people in the way of face filters and camera effects for editing pictures and video on the smartphone.
Moreover, AR games have also gained immense popularity. You must have heard of the very popular game Pokemon Go, which was one such example of AR benefits. Many games are currently planning to launch their AR versions, considering the hype it is getting.
Another way to maximize the utilization of AR could be in the Education sector. AR could be used to bring life to the virtual and 3D demonstration of models popping out of the screen, making studies much more realistic and fun. This will surely introduce a new era for learning benefiting students, and the institutions as well.
As wearable devices like AR contacts, AR-powered smart glasses, and AR headsets become more available, the potential for training through augmented reality will be marvellous.
AR is also making its space in the marketing world which is the main topic we’re going to cover here. There are numerous Benefits of AR in Marketing. Various brands are letting customers try out their products through AR before buying them. For instance, a cosmetic brand like Sephora lets customers try their cosmetics on their faces before buying. IKEA also offers a chance to let the buyer see their furniture in their home. Some eyewear brands let people try their glasses without visiting the store.
AR in marketing
AR offers a wide range of solutions for various enterprises across different industries. The benefits of augmented reality in marketing are endless. Many brands are using this cutting-edge technology to engage and attract their audience.
AR technology can be applied to show the customer how to use a product or service to save the time customers spend on reading manuals and instructions. Now, it is possible to experience AR through any web browser; hence, users don’t have to buy expensive equipment as they can just use their phone’s camera. In addition to this, AR solutions can be used for other marketing purposes like enhancing sales proposals or presentations.
Augmented Reality apps for marketing
The growth in AR-capable devices has played a major part in making augmented Reality as a new marketing research topic, more commonplace for advertising, marketing, and sales purposes.
More often, people find it difficult to make their decisions when they can’t try the products they are buying online. It happens mostly with sunglasses, clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, etc. AR apps for marketing solve this issue. Now AR apps have made it possible to virtually try out a product before actually buying it. This increases customer satisfaction.
As you have seen earlier, many brands are using these apps to let their customers try out their products before buying.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Marketing
Augmented Reality is one of the biggest trends in marketing, and experts say it’s only going to increase. Here’s how AR can benefit your brand and business :
- Try before buy concept – With AR, the concept of try before you buy has become possible. People can try products that enhance overall customer satisfaction.
- Creating brand buzz via AR tactics – Marketing strategies can also use AR technology to create buzz among the customers. For instance, Uber created an AR campaign in Zurich that permitted riders to use AR in a fun way, resulting in 1 million YouTube views. Another such example is Burger King’s “ Burn that Ad ”campaign.
- Interactive Experiences with a personal touch – Augmented Reality apps allow the brand to give their buyers a personal touch to online content with customized apps. Moreover, AR marketing can help brands drive value by creating personalized and tailored content that fits the different needs of each buyer.
- Aid in purchase making decisions – AR tactics can help marketers measure engagement. Brands can use this new technology that attracts and wows shoppers.
Best Uses of AR in Marketing
With all the major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Apple adding new AR capabilities to their platforms, today is the time to get creative and develop unique AR marketing experiences that cross over into people’s lives.
The best part about AR is that it isn’t like virtual Reality, so users don’t actually need a big headset. They can experience the whole thing with just their smartphones. Presently it’s only becoming easier to reach more audiences with Augmented Reality technology.
Here’s how you can use AR to reach and catch the attention of your target audience.
- Brand Storytelling
It’s well known to every marketer that brand value plays a huge role in buying decisions a customer makes. It’s harsh, but not everyone takes the pain to go through the company’s about page and check out the thoughts, aims, and history of the brand.
If you want your brand message to reach more people, you can use an innovative AR development strategy. A great example of successful storytelling is Nike’s storytelling. The Nike By You web feature lets users tell their stories by customizing their kicks and sharing them on social media platforms. By engaging the audience to tell their personal story through the Nike Brand, they expanded their reach and sold more products. By building personal experiences using AR marketing, you can help customers imagine their life with your brand, building brand loyalty and enhancing emotional connection.
- Product demonstration with Augmented Reality
Using augmented reality for demonstration purposes is more efficient for the products having some complex functions that might be confusing to the buyers.
For instance, instead of spending a hefty amount on transporting heavy and costly connectivity equipment to customers or to trade shows, all over the world, Lufthansa Technik created an AR demo to let customers see what goes on inside the radome humps on top of modern aircraft.
Augmented Reality also allows buyers to understand the value of a product and its functionality in the real-time and correct position. Timberland, Lacoste, Topshop Sephora, Lowe’s, the list goes on for brands who have opted AR for enhancing overall customer satisfaction. All of these brands have got success in implementing augmented Reality into both their e-commerce presence and their stores.
Retailers, both offline and online can use augmented Reality to:
- maximize buying confidence
- enhance shopping experience
- increase customer engagement
- bridge the gap between online and offline shopping
- Launch new products with AR
When it comes to launching any new product, it’s crucial to create awareness about it on the social media network. One Plus understood the need, and for the launch of One Plus 8 in April 2020, amidst the pandemic lockdown, the brand introduced an AR filter on Instagram. This filter allowed people to unbox the newly launched smartphone from the safety of their homes.
To unbox the smartphone virtually, users had to position the Instagram filter anywhere and go along with the screen’s instructions. After doing this, all components of the new One Plus 8 could be accessed virtually. That’s how the brand created a successful virtual unboxing experience.
- Let customers try before they buy
Like many examples you must have read above, it could be really beneficial for a brand to let their customers try a product before buying. AR helps in adding a whole new level of personalization to the strategy.
The rise in augmented reality shopping experiences has given brands a chance to let their customers try a digital version of their actual products like clothes, shoes, cosmetics, furniture, etc. It enhances customer satisfaction a lot.
Facebook became one of the first social media apps allowed by AR applications.
When AR alternatives were compared to regular video ads, it was found that AR ads inspired more brand engagement by 38 seconds on average, generated stronger brand awareness 7.9-point lift, and boosted purchases 28-point lift.
- Make Product guides and training interesting with AR
There are a million possibilities when it comes to using AR for marketing. For reference, AR can help make the most tedious part of the customer journey more meaningful and exciting.
In 2015, Hyundai became the first automobile company to launch an augmented Reality led manual app for owners. The developers collected the data from surveys and worked on the most difficult to use features that they explained in their AR manual. This eliminated the process of going through the thick and boring manual for the owners.
That’s how the brand used AR to create a unique experience for their customers while also making it easy for them to drive their cars.
- Take your printed advertising a level up with AR
Business-to-business marketing could be a costly effort. But AR can make printed material viral and evergreen. For reference, the 2016 think conference app launched an AR feature that started specially designed postcards for each of its platinum partners.
Advantages through AR activations in printed deliverables could be switched out anytime while the printed material remains the same.
- Adding value or offering advice via AR packaging
Augmented reality isn’t restricted to pre-sales activities only. Brands can make the most out of AR tactics via interactive packaging also. Interactive packaging gives the customer a more valuable and engaging experience with AR. For this, buyers have to point their phones on the packaging to get compelling visuals.
There are many ways a brand can make use of AR interactive packaging to increase brand engagement and customer satisfaction. One such example is Heinz’s interactive packaging. Way back in 2011, Heinz used AR to give customers various recepies using tomato ketchup. Other brands have also tried other options like cereal brands Nesquik and Wheaties offer AR games the buyer can play at the breakfast table.
- Identifying and reporting product fails and damages
Reporting or even identifying product faults could be quite tricky for many customers. More often than not, buyers find it difficult to identify and narrate the problem or fault in their product to the executives. Many brands understand the problems such customers face and are providing AR apps to report any faults in their products.
Customers can hold their phone to the broken or faulty product and view the parts in real-time. This makes it easy for a customer to narrate the exact problem to a customer service agent.
- Self Service Support
AR can help buyers save time and effort by avoiding talking to customer service staff. Various brands are using AR for self-service support after a purchase is made. For this, customers will have to point their phone at a product using an AR app to get a deep self-service outlay.
This overlay can consist of an FAQ page or help sheets. With such assistance, customers can find answers to common questions, which will save their time and the resources of any brand’s customer service team. This way, companies will receive fewer customer queries and high customer satisfaction as they can resolve their issues independently.
For instance, Mercedes has used AR in its Ask Mercedes virtual assistant. Through this AR assistant, buyers can scan any element of the vehicle and have its function explained to them in detail. Buyers can also ask their questions and any problems in operation. Along with an AI chatbot, the AR element of the assistant makes it much more user-friendly.
- Training Customer Service Agents
After-sales activities also have a major role in customer satisfaction. Many buyers want to speak to a customer service agent while browsing the product, making a purchase online, or while lodging a complaint. That’s why it’s crucial for any brand to give proper training to their service agents.
AR can make the training more efficient and simpler. For instance, if a brand sells a wide range of products, their customer service staff should explain each item to the potential customers. Brands can train their agents via AR apps instead of delivering the physical product to each one of them. AR models can replicate a real product so the executives can learn in a fraction of the time.
The Bottom Line
Augmented Reality has many real-world applications, and one sector where AR is excelling is marketing and customer satisfaction. Competitive brands and companies are using AR apps to generate more fruitful interaction with their audience and buyers. AR is proving a real game-changer for brands, especially in the area of customer experience.
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