How can augmented reality improve brand experiences?

With online shopping becoming increasingly popular, it has been found that the chances of a successful online sales conversion are approx. 40% if the consumer can view the product using AR[1].  It’s predicted that 100 million consumers will shop using augmented reality both online and in-store by 2020[2], so it is vital that brands begin to incorporate augmented reality in their digital strategies. Combining the digital world with reality, AR provides an engaging experience for consumers that boosts brand engagement and ultimately, sales.

Consumers want a personal touch that adds value to their brand experience. But how does augmented reality do this? Our Art Director, Gavin, tells us more…

Try before you buy

Buying cosmetics online is never an easy task. How are consumers supposed to know which colour to buy? Consumers consider themselves to be time-poor[3], with no time to go to a physical store. So, global beauty brand Sephora answered shoppers’ prayers and developed an AR experience that allows the user to trial different cosmetic products to see how they would really look on their skin, all without having to leave the house. Apps like this one not only offer consumers an easier shopping experience, but they can also encourage consumers to become loyal brand advocates, sharing their experiences online[4].

Another brand that has implemented augmented reality to enable consumers to try before they buy, is IKEA. Renowned for their easy-to-assemble furniture, they have continued to promote ease of use with the introduction of AR[5]. The IKEA Place app allows the user to place products in their home to see if they like them before committing to buy. They can choose the product and colour, and then rearrange it in their chosen room to get a feel for how it might look.


Creating a buzz

Augmented reality isn’t just used by retailers to improve shopping experiences. Other brands have also used it as part of their marketing campaigns to generate a social buzz. Global drinks brand, Pepsi, decided to add a bit of excitement to commuters’ journeys in London, using AR to transform a bus stop wall into a fake window that then appeared to show questionable images such as a UFO, an attacking robot and a tiger in the same street behind the wall. This campaign was part of a brand strengthening strategy to encourage discussion, and in 2014, was deemed “the best use of augmented reality yet”[6].

One of the best examples of successful implementation of AR is Pokémon Go. It was a viral sensation that took over the lives of children (and adults) across the world. The mobile game used the user’s smartphone camera to let them interact with their surroundings using a virtual map, with the goal of hunting for Pokémon characters. When it was released, the app received as many daily active users as Twitter, generating more collective usage time than WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat combined[7]! Not only did the game put Pokémon back on the map, it generated engagement and raised brand awareness, creating a whole new group of Pokémon fans.

Ultimately, the use of AR is meant to make consumers’ lives easier, and more fun! It offers an immersive experience that is personalised to the user, improving their brand experience and in turn, keeping them brand loyal. Not only does it enable consumers to try before they buy, but it provides an exciting way to gain traction for brand campaigns, even making them go viral! Brands need to continue to embrace new technologies to ensure that they are at the top of the game.



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