While augmented reality was just a spunky little upstart of a concept just a few years ago, it’s now slated to bring in revenues of $85-90 billion in the next five years. No longer just a novelty, AR is becoming a bona vide marketing tool for brands.
Here’s how consumers are benefiting from mobile personalization through augmented reality.
Get a Virtual Makeover
Women understand the worry that comes with buying a new shade of lipstick or eyeshadow without trying it on. Will it look good, or will it be a waste of money?
While beauty brand Sephora has long established its “try on in the store” policy to great success, the brand needed a way to provide the same reassurance to shoppers who bought from its website. Enter AR: Sephora’s app includes its Virtual Artist, a feature that allows shoppers to virtually try on eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner, and even lashes. The effect is pretty authentic. Once a shopper finds a color she likes, buying it is just the tap of a finger away on her screen.
Drugstore CVS is taking a note from Sephora’s use of augmented reality, though in a different way. The brand, which is trying to stand out from its competitors by focusing more on beauty sales, has a 360-degree video campaign to promote its BeautyIRL, a “shop in shop” experience that allows CVS customers to try on makeup in the store. The video lets viewers explore the store and click on hotspots for more information or to buy products online.
Put it Into Action: Whether yours is a beauty brand or not, consider how your customers could interact with either your products or your stores virtually through their phones. Highlight products you want to boost sales of.
See It In Their Homes
Another trend retailers are leveraging when it comes to AR is to let shoppers see what a product would look like in their homes. Amazon’s AR View, while not highly publicized, allows shoppers to virtually place, for example, an appliance or speaker in their home using the mobile app to see what it would look like.
Luxury furniture brand Artemest is following suit, which is smart, given how difficult it can be to envision a plush navy couch in your home while you’re shopping in the store. Shoppers can “place” furniture in their homes to see how it will fit in a given space, as well as watch videos and read articles about the artisan designers.
Put it Into Action: Increase online sales by letting customers “try out” your products, particularly if they are large appliances, furniture, or decor items.
Meet a Brand on the Playing Field
When it comes to using augmented reality to brand a company — particularly one as unexciting as an insurance company — it can be challenging to find a strategy that serves beyond a 30-second novelty.
But Belgian insurance company AXA found an innovative approach: it became part of the global mobile AR game Ingress. In the game, players interact with real-life landmarks to progress in the game. AXA provides a protection tool in the game (called the AXA Shield), and it has become a sought-after game component: more than 5 million shields have been deployed in the game.
But the brand isn’t stuck in the game; more than 600,000 players have visited AXA offices in real life (as part of the game).
Put it Into Action: Think outside of the advertising box and leverage an existing platform, like a game, to get your brand in front of people.
Augmented reality isn’t child’s play (23% of people who own an augmented reality or virtual reality device are aged 25-34 years old), and as brands come up with more innovative uses of it, it will become a natural part of our everyday brand experience.