So what exactly is augmented reality again? Often confused with virtual reality, which replaces your environment, AR enhances your surroundings by adding a digital layer of information. Think of the IKEA app that allows you to ‘add’ a piece of furniture to your room. Think of the insanely successful game Pokémon Go, which dragged us all outside to catch them all (and help us take those 10.000 steps a day). Think of Snapchat, making us happy with its funny filters and 3D Bitmoji. Wait, what?
Why yes indeed, those funny filters you love to use are a simplified form of AR. It’s actually thanks to Snapchat that this technology has become commonplace on social media. But there is more than just fun. As interacting with your customers becomes even more important, augmented reality makes a great addition to your marketing tools. It can help your customers with their purchase, makes their user journey more enjoyable and generates more brand affinity. AR will certainly prove very useful for lifestyle, beauty and fashion brands. Imagine you can try on that lipstick colour before you actually have to buy it! Oh wait – you can.
Estée Lauder already realized the potential of AR and started to reap its benefits before it became cool. The infamous beauty brand enticed their customers to try on makeup virtually via a Facebook Messenger Chatbot. You simply had to provide a selfie, select your preferred lipstick color and boom: your selfie was now pimped with their product. It’s fun, easy, helpful and perfect to subtly push your customers towards an actual purchase. And this is only on social media – AR offers us so much more, making it a very valuable asset in every digital marketing strategy.
Beyond social: why AR is paramount
The future of AR mostly lies in accessible wearables. Despite the failure that was Google Glasses, Snap’s Spectacles have proven to be a huge success. Wanting to level the playing field, Facebook as well has mentioned its plans to create AR-glasses to enhance our daily dose of social media. Considering the mass addiction to social media, it’s highly possible that AR will soon be fully integrated in our lives. AR-cameras will capture even more of our lives. Moreover, we’ll gladly allow them to. Resulting in every marketer’s wet dream coming true: more, more, more customer data. Given on our very own free will.
This evolution will make it easier for marketers to further personalize ads and offers for both prospects and customers. Another benefit is the ability to engage more personally, creating more brand affinity without literally pushing people to love you. AR will also solve various pain points such as customer service. If a customer doesn’t know how to use a product, brands will be able to give help by overlaying instructions through AR in real life. Job training will become easier and less costly. The possibilities of augmented reality are almost endless – it simply starts with having the guts to start experimenting.