The benefits of augmented reality technology are spellbound. For some time now, augmented reality marketing experiences have made their way on people’s mobile and computer screens. This new form of retail marketing takes advantage of a technology that blends the real world with holographic objects.
To help you understand what I will be discussing in this article, I will start with the basics – how does augmented reality work, actually?
How Does Augmented Reality Work?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word “augment” means “to make greater, more numerous, larger or more intense”. Therefore, augmented reality technology intensifies our perception of the world by adding to it and enriching it with other items.
To give a clear definition, augmented reality is a technique that superimposes computer-generated objects onto the real world. The key to a realistic experience is to “trick” the brain into believing that the CGI objects are really there.
Thus, augmented reality developers use sound, video, sensory inputs, as well as GPS location data.
Now that you have understood how augmented reality works, let’s learn the types of augmented reality currently used.
The Types of Augmented Reality
Before I move on to showing how augmented reality in retail impacts your shopping experience, a few words about the way you can trigger the interactive experience. At present, there are four types of AR triggers:
1. Marker Based Augmented Reality
This relies on a physical marker (such as a QR code or a printed image). Once the camera of the device you use (smartphone, tablet) identifies the marker, the CGI object is superimposed in its place,
2. Markerless Augmented Reality
This is the type of augmented reality technology used in the well-known Pokémon Go game. It accesses the GPS, or accelerometer embedded in your device to place the CGI items in the real-life landscape;
3. Projection Based Augmented Reality
In this case, artificial light is projected onto a real-life surface, and the sensors detect the human interaction (touch). Thus, you can interact with the CGI objects (move them around, virtually grab them);
4. Superimposed Augmented Reality
This technology is most frequently used in augmented reality marketing. Using object recognition, it replaces a real-life object with a similar holographic object.
A Few Examples of Augmented Reality
I have already mentioned the Pokémon Go game as an example of how augmented reality works. However, even if you did not play it, you have already interacted with augmented reality marketing experiences.
For example, if you used an app that shows you how you would look with a certain hairstyle or hair color, that app uses augmented reality. What it does is to replace your real-life hair cut/color with the ones you chose.
Also, in certain fashion stores, you do not have to wait in a queue to try on clothes in the fitting room. You have to walk in front of a magic mirror which shows you wearing the clothes you selected. Of course, there is nothing magic about it – it is augmented reality technology.
Where Do You Find Augmented Reality?
After these examples of augmented reality, you already guess where marketers most frequently use it. But the applications of augmented reality in retail are much greater. According to recent statistics, the top retail fields that use AR in marketing are:
- 60% – furniture
- 55% – clothes
- 39% – food and beverages
- 35% – footwear
- 25% – cosmetics
- 25% – jewelry
- 22% – toys.
The Benefits of Augmented Reality Marketing
Before I go in detail with the core topic of this article, I will revert once more to statistical data. After the initial skeptic responses, consumers embraced augmented reality shopping apps and ads.
- 34% of consumers use at least one form of augmented reality while shopping;
- 45% of consumers believe that AR helps them save time while looking for a product they need;
- 55% of them believe that augmented reality makes the shopping experience more exciting;
- 61% of consumers prefer stores that offer them a form of augmented reality marketing;
- 71% of them believe that they would shop more frequently if they used an augmented reality app.
Now let me show you why so many people are excited about augmented reality in retail. You probably guessed the most important benefit from the examples of augmented reality above:
1. Try Before You Buy
According to leading online payment platform Chargeback, the number one reason why customers return products is that they bought the wrong item or the wrong size. Incorrect purchase does not apply only to clothes, but also to furniture.
Imagine seeing a nice sofa on a website and receiving one that fills half of your small room. Augmented reality technology can easily aid this problem.
Also, with augmented reality marketing apps, you can virtually place the couch in your room, in its real-life size and decide whether it is a good fit.
Read also: Will Virtual Reality Change The Way Of Education For Students?
2. Become Familiar with New Products Before Buying Them
The projection-based augmented reality technology allows you to interact with holographic objects. Thus, you can explore a new car, down to going inside its cockpit and clicking/tapping on the instruments on the dashboard.
People who plan to redecorate their houses can interact with new furniture in the augmented reality world. This will help buyers to familiarize with it before ordering the products.
3. Save Time during Peak Shopping Seasons
One of the important benefits of augmented reality is that it saves time, as shown by the statistics above. If you remember one of the examples of augmented reality I shared, it involved a magic mirror.
This type of mirror helps you not only try on clothes but also find out if the store has the right size for you.
Some of the most advanced augmented reality mirrors installed in stores allow you to order the exact size online if it is not available in store.
4. Create Your Custom Products
Many retailers allow clients to customize standard products. This option is often seen in furniture and home improvement stores. You find a sofa you like, but you want it covered with ecological, not real leather and in dark blue, not earth brown.
Before augmented reality, customers clicked on various boxes to select desired features. But they never got to see the actual end result until they received the product.
With augmented reality marketing, you can not only see but also edit or undo every change in the customization process. You can place the holographic sofa in your living room and see whether it fits with the color scheme and the rest of the furniture.
5. Interact with Brand Stories
We care about what kind of brands we shop from. We want them to be honest with us, to deliver quality products, to be ethical in sourcing raw materials and labor, and to be environmentally responsible.
With augmented reality in retail apps and websites, we can follow the interactive story of the brand, see how its products are made and who develops them.
In this respect, one of the best examples of augmented reality use comes from banana producer Dole. The Dole Earth program places a unique code number on each bunch of bananas.
Additionally, by scanning the code, the customer can take an AR tour of the farm where the farmer harvests the fruits and also see the farmers’ everyday life in the nearby village.
What is your favorite way of using augmented reality in retail? Do you know any other benefits of augmented reality? Please share your opinions with us!
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