UK writer, Jennifer Birch, brings her unique voice to our blog as she explains “Why Augmented Reality is the Future of Marketing.” Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @WrittenByJenni to hear her takes on music, tech, gaming, and the arts.
Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the cutting-edge innovations in the tech industry today. AR is characterized by an array of web tools, mobile apps, and virtual 3D images that, when viewed on a screen or smartglass, enhances our experience and the way we consume information in the real world.
Currently, many businesses are integrating this technology as part of their expanding online strategy. For this entry, we’ll lay out the practical uses and importance of augmented reality in marketing initiatives.
AR can help enterprises in designing campaigns and advertisements with a “wow factor” that will truly engage their customers. At the consumers’ side, AR will allow them to scan and transform a printed newspaper advertisement, billboard, poster, and even still online images into a live 3D multimedia experience simply by pointing their mobile cameras.
Below are some of the emerging AR practices in marketing ventures:
- In e-Commerce / m-Commerce Sites
Companies can utilize AR in their e-Commerce or m-Commerce websites to bring a more sophisticated and real-life interactive experience to their visitors. They can design a virtual fitting room where customers can try on their products live. These websites will make use of the visitor’s web cam to do the trick. This practice is commonly observed in online stores selling prescription glasses and sunglasses, jewelry, clothes, and even beauty cosmetics. It can also provide a 360 degree image that lets consumers immerse themselves in the products being showcased.
In a feature presented by Mobile Commerce Daily, the IKEA Furniture Depot in the United States did a great job including AR in their e-Commerce catalog. Customers were able to view how a piece of furniture will look in an empty space in their respective houses by using their iOS and Android applications.
- Digital Marketing
The widely used practice in digital marketing is through floating video ads on YouTube and other social networking platforms such as Facebook, Vine, and Instagram. As pointed out by Lets Get Wise, videos offer versatility, since anyone can use it to “effortlessly combine information and entertainment.” It is also easier to stream, using desktop computers and mobile devices. With AR, they can enhance their creative video campaigns by rendering them in 3D views and other visual elements. For instance, a short clip discussing a slimming pill can also overlay “secondary information” (ex. an animated picture showing the before and after effect of taking the food supplement or a visual simulation of how the product can burn body fats) on the screen when viewed using a tablet or their mobile devices.
Establishments can also make use of AR to attract visitors and/or tourists to visit their stores. They can register their services to GPS providers so that they can be visible to potential customers who are using a Geolocator or mobile GPS. With AR, they can provide suggestions and classified information to the people as they pan their smartphones around the surroundings.
In the case of Nokia Lumia City Lens, handset owners can utilize the tool to look for restaurants, bars, fashion outlets, and grocery stores by opening the application and pointing their mobile cameras in buildings and unlabeled establishments.
Advantages of AR Marketing To Consumers
AR marketing is more geared towards the customers’ satisfaction. The following are the few potential advantages of this innovative solution:
- No Regrets, No Returns
By providing a virtual and interactive rapport among the customers in e-Commerce sites, people will get to know more about the product or the services being offered before purchasing them. Thus, less chances of product returns and complaints.
- Cost and Time Efficiency
Since they no longer have to travel to see the products or spend an ample amount of time doing collective research, it’s safe to say that this solution is both cost and time-efficient.
- Technical Support
The AR technology may also come in handy in helping the customers understand the complicated technical features of electronic products being marketed. They can easily troubleshoot and learn its how-to’s through “semi hands-on” virtual demonstrations as opposed to over-the-phone or chat assistance.
These are the reasons why augmented reality is essential to the marketing industry in the future. What do you think of semi-virtual, semi-real e-Commerce sites? To learn more about AR’s practical uses in other areas such as the Education sector and Architecture, kindly bookmark the Augmented Reality section of Rootstrap.
About the Author
Jennifer Birch’s career in tech writing has influenced her to learn about various technological innovations such as Augmented Reality, NFC and Web 2.0. She’s passionate in covering its developments and disseminating her knowledge to the world wide web. Connect with her through Twitter and Google +.