Thomas P Caudell of Boeing coined the term Augmented Reality in 1990 and has been featured in many films over the years, from Tony Stark’s holograms in his Iron Man suit to the spy contact lens in Mission Impossible. Augmented Reality has now went from the fantasy of the far-fetched film ideas to the reality in 2018 of making these ideas happen, so why is it still in its infancy in the marketing world?
Augmented Reality can prove quite the struggle for brands to mould into their digital marketing strategy, with limitations on relevancy to the consumer, delivering the best AR experience for your target audience and even being confined to an app or requiring specific AR friendly technology. However, very much in an experimental stage, marketers still have a generous amount of time to prepare and trial AR.
In recent years, brands have started to test the waters by using AR to enhance the consumer experience, most famously Niantic released Pokémon Go which caused a viral phenomenon delivering an enhanced real-world gaming experience. AR isn’t restricted to just gaming experiences, brands have also started to utilise augmented reality to improve shopping experiences, for example the IKEA app IKEA Place presents true-to-scale 3D furniture in the home using the lens of an iPhone camera.
With the societal change of users and the use of mobile continuing to expand, the Augmented Reality as an experience is going to grow alongside this upward trend. But as a marketer, what benefits of incorporating AR provide to your brand?
Enhanced Product Experience
Augmented Reality can give brands the capability of empowering their customers and create a more interactive experience where that be from the comfort of their own home to even improving the in-store shopping experience and helping their products stand out.
With the rise of mobile users and the location-based technology embedded in the phones, brands have a real opportunity to use augmented reality to interact and engage with consumers anywhere and anytime as well as extracting this data to provide valuable consumer insights. Mediaworks latest project, The Bee in the City app allows users to pull up a map to locate and interact with over 230 bee sculptures around some of Manchester’s most popular landmarks and hidden spots.
Adds to the Sales Channel
Augmented Reality can prove to be an effective sales tool improving many different channels, whether that be enhancing traditional print media with digital content such as Ikea’s AR catalogue, improving the retail experience by increasing in-store conversions or even building a social media presence by attracting prospective customers with the capabilities of basic AR mobile apps.
AR works for B2B markets too
While the benefits of Augmented Reality focus around the B2C market, it can also provide wholesale benefits to the B2B market. Using AR at event such as a trade show can prove creative and entertaining that can immerse potential clients for a new product or service launch. AR can also add a personalisation aspect, allowing the customer to understand exactly how your solution fits into their world. But most importantly, Augmented Reality is still fresh in the B2C market so adapting into your industry could prove to be a real competitive advantage.