Augmented Reality (AR) allows us to transform the way we interact with the world around us by applying an interactive digital layer to anything in the real world. This enhances how we communicate, entertain ourselves, and solve problems.

Whilst still relatively new, AR apps are being released pretty consistently, with one of the benefits being fairly immediate proof of ROI if planned and executed well. Retail brands are realizing the power of AR technology for engaging with and attracting new consumers by enhancing their shopping experience.

From IKEA’s app which allows customers to view their products in situ to L’Oréal’s virtual makeover tool retailers are already using AR to help their customers make informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, this method increases the entertainment factor of shopping, thereby increasing brand loyalty and engagement.

Analyzing the Market

Augmented reality is largely seen as the next big development in a range of industries, from medical to consumer retail. Global Market Insights forecasts the global market for AR products is expected to grow 80% to £165 billion by 2024.

AR’s potential has been likened to that of smartphones by Tim Cook from Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg intends Facebook to include AR and virtual reality as viable parts of the business in terms of advertising opportunities. With major figures lauding the advantages of this technology, it’s clear that AR will continue to advance and establish a place in the market.

Providing a Healthy Return on Investment (ROI)

A successful strategy is a key to ensuring an AR solution provides real, tangible benefits that resonate with your customers. Without this, the experience will be disjointed and businesses will be at risk of confusing or losing customers.

The dynamic nature of this technology allows retailers using augmented reality in marketing and promotional campaigns to access real-time data that can be used to measure ROI. As with the example of IKEA’s app, as soon as a customer chooses to view an item, information showing which product was viewed, for how long, where it was viewed, and what products they further browsed or purchased can be gathered.

Additionally, AR allows for more meaningful engagement with customers. Media Post cites ‘an average blipp lasts 75 seconds. That’s over a minute in which the user is directly engaging with content. This is more than double that of TV and radio spots, where the average length of viewer engagement is about 30 seconds.

AR also offers powerful social exposure of shareable content. Data shows that 10% to 20% of blipps are posted to Facebook and Twitter and seen by hundreds of followers per user.

Measurable Customer Engagement

Customer loyalty is key to a brand’s growth of revenue and depth of engagement. Numerous studies show the benefits of customer loyalty: Repeat buyers spend 33% more than new ones; actively engaged customers make 90% more purchases and spend 60% more in each transaction.

AR technology helps brands reach an enhanced level of engagement given its unprecedented user experience. It allows current and potential customers to interact with their products in a new way before purchasing, and assist them in moving purposefully through the buyer funnel.

New Opportunities

AR provides brand marketers with the opportunity to enhance the value of their products and establish a competitive edge with a smaller budget than that needed for a TV campaign. With the added advantage of more accurate engagement data than other digital display campaigns, tracking and adjusting AR marketing campaigns for maximizing ROI becomes an easier task.

About the author: Australian born, Vic moved to the UK in 2004, travelling through parts of SE Asia on the way. She has a long-standing interest in technology, environmental, equality and human rights issues, and of course language, and thrives on writing about related topics. Her work has been published on a wide range of websites and printed media, and she strives to craft content that informs, excites and supports us all to create a kinder world. 

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