Markets are driven by consumer’s needs and desires, which keep changing with time and to keep up with the changes, brands need to keep evolving and bringing something new to the table. To provide such refreshing experiences, new trends keep hitting the markets. At the moment, Augmented Reality is one of the hottest topics in marketing, sales and customer engagement. Technology is becoming more sophisticated with time and so are consumers. Therefore, to keep the customers engaged, you have to surpass their expectations. And this is where augmented reality comes to play.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology in which digital images or graphics are overlaid on the real surroundings of the users, allowing brands to provide their customers with unique experiences that combine real and virtual interactive elements and enhance their brand value. This trend is changing the marketing game, becoming one of the main choices in B2B markets. Industries like defence, healthcare, furniture, retail etc. are already using AR and more are to adopt. Where AR used to be popular among mobile or tablet users/applications, now its gaining popularity is taking over the web apps as well!
Research by Deloitte shows that the global market of AR is expected to reach around $75 Billion by 2023.
If used right, AR(Augmented Reality) can accelerate the recognition of a brand among users. Though the possibilities of using AR are endless, let’s discuss some of the most popular ones in marketing –
- Customer Engagement
- Storytelling and Awareness
- Product Presentation and Demonstration
- Product Visualization and Trail
- Interactive Print Ads
- Retail Shopping: Touring and Assistance
Augmented Reality has been around for decades but it still proves to be a true gem for marketers for boosting their customer engagement significantly. Users can simply point their device’s camera towards augmented reality QR code and can see interactive instructions or information about the product on their screen. They can also get additional information about the products such as making process, ingredients, etc. With AR, customers can actually try the products and see if they match their needs. AR increases customer engagement by keeping them informed about the products, offering them the immersive experience and rewarding them with incentives or prizes when they complete a task. It helps keep their interest even after the purchase is completed and retains a long-term relationship.
Take an example of Alnwick Garden brochure – it lets users explore the garden without visiting by bringing flowers and waterfalls to life.
Storytelling and Awareness
Brand values play an important role in the marketing community. It can make or break a customer’s decision i.e., influence purchasing decisions. But how to build brand value, tell your story and create awareness? Let’s be honest, no one really has an interest or the time to read the about us pages or go through the company’s history. This is where AR plays a major role. AR provides you with attractive options to present your story and get your message across in a way customers can enjoy.
Brands can use this interactive experience to gain the attention of new customers or regain interest from their existing clients. The perfect way to inform, entertain, and engage your users while creating brand awareness with this accessible technology. Even Google uses Augmented Reality to grab the attention of users with Google 3D Dinosaurs. People around the world were talking about the T-Rex in their living room or backyard. Your brand can get the same viral reaction, creating a buzz, with today’s accessible technology.
Product Presentation and Demonstration
Augmented Reality is more effective, memorable and compelling than creating a brochure or a PowerPoint presentation. It allows you to pitch the idea by fully immersing your audience in your message. The four major purposes AR is regularly used in are – high stakes meetings, trade show activation, sales enablement and training. It leaves an impact and provides a significant increase in value compared to the traditional communication tools.
Using AR for demonstration is also more efficient for products that have complex functions that are hidden to the naked eye. With AR, your potential buyers can better understand and appreciate the value of the product by viewing its functionalities in real-time, without you having to carry heavy equipment to present at trade shows etc.
Example – Nissan LEAF used this to boost their sales of the electric car in a retail store in Brazil.
Other areas where AR is used for presenting –
- Sales Force – Portable sales presentation tool with the full 3D catalogue of the products to communicate value propositions.
- Training & Education – Helps bring lessons to life, provide supplementary data and facts with enhanced visuals that are more effective and easier to grasp.
Product Visualization and Trail
Augmented Reality allows potential buyers to get a realistic view of the products that are digitally placed in their environment. They can see all their functionalities and that is a decisive factor in the buying decision process. Bringing the entire line-up to the audience on demand, providing them with detailed information of the products with 3D data visualisation simplifies the concepts for them while captivating them. Contents that work best for Augmented Reality are – 3D content, Data Visualization, Virtual characters, first person narrative etc.
Augmented Reality allows companies to provide the “try before you use” option to their audience which helps them reduce their return rates and also offers their customers more security in the buying process. Many of you must already be familiar with the furniture visualization apps created by companies like IKEA where you can place the furniture into your environment and see how they’d look. Another example is Busch-Jaeger, which uses AR to present their products.
Interactive Print Ads
Augmented Reality (AR) is the future of advertising and big brands like Apple and IKEA have incorporated it into their advertisement strategies, setting a standard in the market. Many have the misconception that AR technology is of no use in print marketing but to the contrary, print ads and AR work well together and can maximize the brand’s returns. Brands can create a more intensive experience by adding some flair to their company flyers, posters, business cards and other marketing and sales material, and take their print ads to the next level.
One of the first social media platforms to use this technology was Snapchat. Another great example is the Pokémon GO.
Here’s what you need to know about AR’s role in interactive print ads –
- Brings products to life from print, offering an interactive and engaging experience.
- Turns print into sales channels as scan to purchase can boost sales.
- Enhances reader experience with digital content, creating memories and unique experiences by connecting with the users.
- Gives your readers incentive to interact with your brand’s digital channels, boosting conversion rate.
- Helps generate leads as users can scan your business card, printed handout or a mail on their phone.
- Lets you contextualize i.e., deliver information about the product without filling up the limited space of print material.
Retail Shopping: Touring and Assistance
Augmented Reality allows businesses to add a digital component on top of their products and physical locations. Customers can scan any product or object to pull up an AR experience tailored to provide them with additional information about the product or other supplemental brand-related experience.
The AR apps offer an enhanced experience – for example, a ticket-sales company StubHub created an augmented reality application that allowed users to view a 3D display of seats and the stadium where the Super Bowl was played. Fans were able to visualize the field and pick the right seat for them.
Another big company i.e., Starbucks uses AR to digitize the touring experience of their coffee shops where users can scan objects within their shop to access a virtual tour which conveys additional information to supplement their physical site.
Furthermore, in the auto industry, major brands like Hyundai and Mercedes have adopted AR apps. Hyundai was the first to create an augmented manual for the drivers, whereas Mercedes offers a feature “Ask Mercedes” that pairs AI assistants with AR interface and answers the host.
Augmented reality is an emerging trend in marketing, promotions and customer engagement. It allows brands to provide their audience with unique and convenient experiences – an advanced tool that drives sales and enhances brand value through mobile devices. AR is not just a novelty or a new frontier gaming, it is a game changer. A driving force in the marketing strategies and sales.
With Augmented Reality, businesses can innovatively engage customers, attract new audiences, boost sales and build customer loyalty while providing informative, interactive, helpful, and personalized content.
Want to create an augmented experience that will accelerate your marketing strategy and boost sales? We can help!
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