More businesses will use augmented reality as it becomes mainstream. Companies looking to stand out can start now by implementing AR into their customer journeys to make them immersive and engaging in order to drive sales.
- Consumers today expect not just personalized, but ‘immersive’ experiences
- Superior user engagement, improved bottom line, and unique product experiences are only a few of the strategic benefits of deploying AR technology
- Brands are using AR to get a competitive edge and deliver unique customer experiences
According to Gartner, 100 million consumers are already shopping with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology. 94% say they'll use it more in the future.
AR has paved the way for a new consumer experience, as personalization and engagement form the nucleus of customer expectations. As a result, AR technology is disrupting every industry to bring strategic business benefits. Whether it's the fashion industry with the Gucci Garde Archetypes or the furniture space with Ikea's AR-enabled app, the benefits of augmented reality are stark and too great for brands to miss.
Four advantages of augmented reality
- Superior, tailor-made customer experiences: According to Mckinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect personalization in a brand's marketing efforts. Moreover, Snapchat's Gen Z survey found that 60% of the soon-to-be largest consumer base says AR experiences feel more personal.
One of the biggest advantages of augmented reality is its ability to provide uniquely immersive experiences. By digitally overlaying computer-generated content onto real-world settings, AR allows brands to truly get creative in connecting with customers and personalizing their journeys.
Asos, the British fashion giant, launched an AR feature, ‘See My Fit’, on its mobile app in 2019. Users could visualize products in different sizes and on different body types. They could even choose products for their body type to see how a product would look once worn. By offering this unique customer experience, Asos witnessed a 275% jump in profits during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- Drives user engagement: AR allows consumers to experience interactive and immersive journeys, which empowers brands to drive user engagement. By partnering with AR companies like Enhance, brands can craft interactive customer experiences depending on the product and its purpose.
With the average attention span only around eight seconds, brands can turn to AR technology to grab attention and keep users focused on their products.
According to Vibrant, 67% of media agency executives want more AR incorporated into advertisements as they improve consumer engagement. 49% of these executives believe AR will counter adblocking software, enabling brands to get their message across unhindered.
Snapchat’s Gen Z survey reveals that over 50% of shoppers admit they’re more likely to pay attention to an advertisement incorporating AR. A case in point is Ulta’s GLAMlab. This AR-enabled beauty tool allows customers to try on cosmetics virtually on the app. As a result of integrating interactive and immersive technology into its offerings, the brand witnessed user engagement increasing sevenfold after the launch.
- Competitive advantage: The average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements daily but notices less than 1% of these. With surplus content on the internet and growing banner blindness among customers, businesses are adopting AR technology to stand out.
One of the most talked about AR advertisements was Pepsi Max's 2014 bus shelter advertisement . By turning the bus stop's walls into AR screens, Pepsi gave commuters immersive visuals, such as robots on the street and UFOs in the sky. This creative advertising strategy brought renewed attention to the brand and a 35% YOY rise in sales.
- Real-time analytics: AR software provides data analytics by translating customer behavior into actionable intelligence. Brands can then learn which products are popular and why.
The global beauty brand L'Oréal acquired ModiFace in 2018 to bring AR technology to their customer in the form of virtual try-ons, much like Ulta. L'Oréal's chief digital officer at the time praised AR technology for its unique value addition to the industry – "It's an immense source of data in terms of understanding what consumers like, what they like less in terms of colors, looks, textures. For our marketing and our labs, it's a great source of insight in terms of trends, and it helps us deliver makeup collections."
The advantages of augmented reality will only multiply as the world embraces Web 3.0 and the metaverse. And brands looking to stay relevant can find their answer in AR companies such as Enhance and accelerate their entrance.