For years now, experts have been predicting that virtual reality, or VR, will be the next big thing in our lives. From entertainment to education, VR has been expected to change how we live. While we have seen significant VR movement in gaming, the extended promises have yet to become reality. However, in 2018 we have seen a surge of augmented reality, or AR, virtual reality’s close relative. Augmented reality uses your natural surroundings and modifies or adds to what you would normally see. Pokémon GO was a frontrunner in the AR movement, but the technology has quickly surpassed mobile gaming.
Whether it is a simple filter adding glasses or bunny ears to selfies on your favorite social media device, or a complete augmented reality immersion with goggles and hand controls, newly discovered ways to use AR are abundant. A recent and more lucrative, way to use AR has been in marketing products and services. AR provides a deeper understanding of a product by showing you what a sofa may look like in your home or let you sit in a virtual car as you consider the purchase. The greatest aspect of using AR for marketing purposes is the opportunity it creates for complete creativity. Below you will find three ways you can use augmented reality for your own branding and marketing purposes:
Brand recognition and shareability
While it may seem like a rudimentary tactic, simply creating a filter or overlay for images can create an inexpensive way for customers to interact with your brand. This is a simple version of augmented reality that we often see used on SnapChat. However, it can also be used on other social media platforms and applications. Recently, brands like Gatorade and Taco Bell have created inventive ways to allow customers to engage with and promote brands through silly photos and effects. Some filters are geo-based, meaning that only those connecting from a specific location have access to the filter, while others are available for entertainment at any time. Images are easily shared across social media, spreading brand recognition across the web.
The digital marketplace, while convenient and efficient, prevents customers from physically experiencing products prior to making a purchase. Viewing items online creates a gap in information that customers sometimes miss, especially when making large or expensive purchases. Augmented reality helps plug this gap with self-guided 360-degree tours of products and locations. Major furnishing companies like IKEA have begun using augmented reality to display how furniture would look in a room. Similarly, Converse – a footwear company – allows shoppers to view shoes on their feet before purchasing a pair. These adventures in augmented reality allow customers to interact with products in new ways that expand product authenticity and brand engagement to replicate on location customer journeys.
Augmented reality does not always have to be used at a distance. Many retailers have seen success using AR on location to provide shoppers with the information they need at the exact moment they need it. Some companies use AR to provide walking instructions to their shop when customers enter a shopping mall or airport, while others display a short instructional video or ad when shoppers enter a specific isle within a store’s location. Many marketers have often found that they can get information to potential customers, but not during the timeframe that the information leads to a sale. For example, getting a coupon in your inbox is great, but remembering to use it at the store through an augmented reality scope is another level of engagement rarely seen in marketing before.
The bottom line is that augmented reality is making waves in marketing, and marketers are taking advantage of the flexibility and creativity this wonderful technology presents. You can do the same by analyzing your customer journey and looking for any holes or gaps where customers are falling through. Once you identify what is preventing customers from making that final purchase, think of a way that augmented reality might fill that gap to lead to more sales, informed customers and greater brand engagement.