How Augmented Reality is Changing the Consumer Market

Augmented Reality is advancing every aspect of the marketing mix and creating new opportunities for brands.

Augmented Reality has been one of the most intriguing new media, and influential factors reshaping our marketplace. With its increased affordability, accessibility, and adoption into the mainstream, Augmented Reality has had an immense impact on manufacturers, retailers, media, and consumers alike. When viewed through the lens of a brand’s marketing mix, it becomes exceedingly clear that AR can play a role revolutionizing the way we do business, and breathing new life into some staid, traditional media. Employing its use in meeting specific business objectives will ensure it pushes beyond “shiny new thing” territory, and truly enters into accepted and expected content marketing.


How AR is Changing Product and Price:

Augmented Reality has the potential to accelerate a brand’s product development by allowing stakeholders across regions to simultaneously view and manipulate digital prototypes, and share concurrent feedback.

From a consumer-facing standpoint, Augmented Reality has demonstrable success in increasing product interest. A recent survey found that AR content influenced 72% of shoppers to purchase a product they would not have otherwise considered.[1] What’s more, 40% of U.S. consumers stated that they are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through Augmented Reality.[1]

While both cost and complexity have delayed the widespread use of this technology, recent developments such as Apple’s ARKit is steadily removing barriers to entry. Consumers can now virtually trial products through their iPhone or iPad by superimposing digital objects on their own bodies or within their physical environment. This ‘try before you buy’ model can be extended across various product categories from apparel to vehicles to paint colour and household goods.


How AR is Changing Packaging:

Product packaging at retail is often a brand’s first line of communication. It has the ambitious task of delivering strategic brand messaging while vying for space with legal and regulatory claims, ingredients, nutritional panels, directions, and dosage – sometimes in multiple languages.

Fortunately, Augmented Reality can overcome the space restrictions of packaging to educate and entertain consumers with extensive communications. 65% of consumers have already expressed a desire to use Augmented Reality to learn about additional product information.[1] With a small on-pack digital marker, and a dedicated app, brands can serve consumers with powerful imagery and immersive video content to forge meaningful connections.


How AR is Changing Promotions:

Incorporating Augmented Reality into advertising and promotions can create richer, more interactive communications. Last year, social media giants experimented with ways to improve the user experience through AR, paving the way for future branded partnerships.

Facebook, for example, piloted an Augmented Reality program with a location-based virtual art installation. By viewing the Facebook headquarters through the Facebook camera, users were able to see abstract paintings come to life. Aside from Snapchat’s popular AR filters, Snapchat has also followed in Facebook’s footsteps, using image recognition and AR technology in their outdoor installations across North America.

In developing these types of Augmented Reality experiences, brands can maximize both their OOH advertising and their social media programs to successfully capture consumer attention and interaction across channels.


How AR is Changing Place:

Over 33% of individuals are already using Augmented Reality at retail, with 61% of shoppers stating a preference to shop at stores that offer AR. [1] Additionally, 71% of people surveyed said they would shop at a retailer more often if they offered Augmented Reality solutions.1 Retailers have started tapping into this rich opportunity and are on track to spend over $1 billion USD worldwide on AR/VR solutions this year. [2]

Augmented Reality can be an innovative approach for brands and retailers to offer shoppers increased convenience and more personalized communications, helping to drive foot traffic to storefronts. Through scanning signage, product displays, or even grocery carts with a smartphone, shoppers can view virtual coupons, customized promotions, or ideas for complimentary products.

Now. let’s be honest – the elephant in the room when it comes to AR is the need to have already downloaded an app or have accessed a website to enable the activity and view the experience. In a lot of cases, this is indeed a barrier to customer participation and immersion. The obvious next step for the medium is inclusion in device operating systems. Once implemented by Apple or Android devices as standard, those barriers will drop. A new age of consumer interaction with packaging, broadcast, OOH, and print advertising will begin in earnest.


How AR is Changing People and Processes:

Many businesses are moving towards telecommuting and virtual meetings. Augmented Reality and other Mixed Reality solutions can facilitate flexible workplaces through allowing employees to interact and view the same objects, data, and presentations as if they were physically in the same meeting space.

Businesses can improve a vast array of internal processes utilizing AR, from employee training, to customer service. Brands can also gain useful insights about their consumers with data mined directly from their Augmented Reality platforms and through measuring the ROI for each component of their AR mechanic.

While it’s clear that Augmented Reality is at a critical juncture, creating effective content is the key to unlocking its potential. AR platforms and apps must balance both, fun and function to truly set itself apart from competitive media to deliver on brand and business objectives.

  1. Retail Perceptions
  2. IDC