NEWS / Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality and Marketing - Looking Good Together?

February 12, 2019

Human beings are a visual species. We love to look, see, and visualize, our imaginations filling in the gaps. Technology is reflecting this, with services that utilize images and video seeing popularity soar. Platforms such as Instagram and YouTube are taking full advantage of our love of the visual. And, statistics by Animoto back up the influence of the visual in marketing with 64 percent of consumers making a purchasing decision after watching a marketing video on Facebook.

Our love for all things visible is now entering a new phase in marketing. Visual just got interactive with the advent of augmented reality (AR) for marketing. But how can marketing augment our reality? In this article, we will look at companies using AR and just how real it has become.

Companies Using Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is often confused with its better-known cousin, virtual reality. Where virtual reality is an immersive, shut the real-world out, experience, augmented reality is more of an overlay onto the real world. Companies are backing augmented reality to the tune of $90 billion by 2022, according to a study by Digi-Capital. And, marketing is an area that is looking for innovations to enhance the customer experience. Marketing use of augmented reality is starting to take shape, and a number of organizations across the globe are looking at ways of using the technology in their own unique way. Three examples below, show how augmented reality technology can be used in very different ways to create great customer experiences:
Ikea: The Swedish furniture company offers an augmented reality mobile app, named “Ikea Place”. The app works by overlaying a product the user chooses from the Ikea catalog within a room in their home. Customers choose a product from the mobile app catalog, point to a place in the room, and click to see the furniture item in situ. They can then purchase the item with a further click to buy.

Bud Light: The brewing company applies a different use of augmented reality to their marketing campaigns. In the USA, Bud Light enabled National Football League (NFL) fans to apply real-time face paints and helmets using team apps. The image of the fan in full make-up and helmet could be posted to social media with just one click. The photos, shared on social media, were used to promote the game and Bud Light at the same time.
ZOZO: This Japanese e-commerce outlet recognizes that buying clothes online can be a challenge in sizing. So, they created the ZOZOSuit. The ZOZOsuit is a body suit that is pushing into augmented reality with the way it incorporates the real-world with the digital. The suit works in combination with an app to measure the customer and then create a 3D body image. Customers can then purchase an item of clothing using the app - their item being made-to-measure, fitting them perfectly.

Will Augmented Reality Become a Marketing Reality?

It is expected that in the U.S. by 2024, online sales will outstrip physical ones. To accommodate online sales, we need to digitally transform the marketing and sales experience. Augmented reality offers an innovative and fun way to do this. The technology world is helping to make this happen by offering tools that create augmented reality platforms. For example, Apple’s ARKit, allows mobile app developers to add augmented reality features to their app’s functionality. The availability of tools to create augmented reality driven customer experiences, coupled with the drive to online buying, means that augmented reality is here to stay.

Perhaps the next stop will be the full use of virtual reality, where we will walk into a virtual shop, try on the latest designer dress, and buy it with a virtual identity – all from the comfort of our home.