What is Augmented Reality Marketing?

How can it help in gaining more sales?

Marketing is the means by which companies employ a range of strategies to help them sell their products to the right customer. … Augmented reality is one of the newer forms of strategies adopted by companies who use it to combine elements of print and online advertising.

Augmented reality is one of the newer forms of strategies adopted by companies who use it to combine elements of print and online advertising. They view it as an ideal way of delivering persuasive messages to a technological minded audience.

Advantages of augmented reality marketing
It is still early days regarding the benefits of using this technology as a marketing tool but here are a few potential contenders:

Personalization: the customer can upload their own content to create a personalized form of media which is marketed at them only.
Novelty: augmented reality is considered to be the ‘latest thing’ on the technology front so there is still that drive to be an early adopter.
Socialization: there is the opportunity for customers to share their personalized content with others, i.e. viral augmented reality marketing.
Accessible: it enables customers who do not have the technical skills or know-how to create their own multimedia product.
There is also ‘customer experience’ to consider: augmented reality can inject a playful, fun element into in an everyday product. It adds a sense of excitement to the process which appeals to a greater number of customers. This is the aim of marketing.
After all look at all the hype and social media traffic that took place with Pokey mango app using Twitter to capture all the must have characters.

In current marketing avenues, imagine being able to see how a couch would fit in your living room before actually buying it — or being able to see which sunglasses suit your face or which lipstick looks good on you without physically trying anything on.

Each of these scenarios is already possible. These are real examples from Ikea, Ray-Ban, and Cover Girl of how companies are currently using augmented reality (AR).

AR has been piquing marketers’ interest in recent years, as it has the potential to change a range of consumer experiences, from how people find new products to how they decide which ones to buy. AR technology enhances the physical environment you see by overlaying virtual elements, such as information or images over it, either through displays such as HoloLens and Google Glass or through the camera view on your smartphone.

In order for the potential of AR to be realized, though, companies have to resist the urge to hastily create AR apps (that risk appearing gimmicky), and instead focus on better understanding how consumers will interact with the technology. Based on research I have been conducting on consumer responses to AR over the past four years, I have found that designing and implementing valuable AR apps requires the following: a better idea of how consumers would use such technology; more collaboration among computer scientists, designers, and marketers; and a strategy for integrating the applications into the existing consumer journey.

Computer science and human-computer interaction research have been tackling AR for years, and borrowing insights from those fields can greatly help marketers understand what this technology will mean in commercial contexts.

Companies first have to understand how AR differs from other digital technologies. While it is similar in some aspects (e.g., applications are frequently used on smartphones, the content is composed of text or images, and the apps are usually highly interactive), there is something inherently different about AR: the ability to overlay virtual content on the physical world and have the two interact in real time.

It was found that by using a type of interactive AR mirror in a store environment, helped the consumers to decide what to buy. The majority of them enjoyed the playful experience that allowed them to experiment with looks that would be much harder with physical testers. More importantly, when the AR app was integrated into a familiar retail setting as a part of the shopping experience, people not only thought highly of the technology but they also positively related to the products. They were more likely to buy them and view the app as a convenient tool for shopping, not just for playing around.

Another study that was conducted online showed that when participants frequently used a similar AR make-up app on their phones over a five-day period, they also reported positive reactions towards both the technology and the products. They perceived the app to be not only enjoyable but also useful for shopping for make-up, which again translated in their intentions to purchase the tried-on products.

Basically, if the AR experience is just a one-off episode, which was true of the lab study, the augmentation will most likely direct people’s attention towards the technology. But if it is well integrated into an environment or in a process, it has the capacity to positively impact purchase activities and have a more far-reaching influence.

It is important to note that because shop assistants invited consumers to use the virtual mirror and showed them how to use it, it remains unclear whether customers might have a different experience without any help.

Marketers should remember that AR is not about creating a completely new reality; it’s about enhancing what already exists. When the virtual is well fitted with the physical and interacts with it, that’s when AR magic happens. As opposed to virtual reality, which immerses you into a different world, AR intertwines virtual elements that might be missing in a specific situation within physical reality (the latest best example being HoloLens’ holo-portation feature). This is one of the reasons why people like Snapchat’s AR feature, where users can play with different visual effects to transform ordinary videos into shareable stories.

The crucial part of the AR experience is whether the technology adds real value. Simply overlaying something virtual on a phone screen doesn’t always cut it and can appear gimmicky. Having an ad pop up on your smartphone camera view from scanning a brand’s logo might be fun, but people would tire of it pretty quickly. Similarly, an app that overlays information and promotions on your phone screen when you point the camera to different stores on a street or products in a shop sounds useful, but marketers have to ask: Are consumers really going to walk down the street holding their tablets or smartphones in the air? Do they want to shop by scanning every product?

The answer at this point is probably no, even for digital natives. People will only change their behavior if they perceive the value is worth the effort of adding another information layer into an already saturated digital space. So it’s important to think about the contexts in which they may be willing to do this, for example, exploring a cultural event, an urban environment, or a historical site with an AR app (similar to how people use headsets in art museums), or wanting to learn more about an expensive product or a brand they really care about.

The real mission for commercial AR is integrating the technology so that it enhances the customer experience, makes it easier, more fun, and more convenient. We don’t want to live in a world where tangible, physical elements are replaced with digital replicas. The idea of Google Glass failed because we don’t want to walk around constantly seeing everything augmented. (The way Microsoft has been positioning HoloLens may be a different story, because it is designed for specific occasions, such as meeting rooms or workshops.) So rather than thinking of how to overlay as many places as possible with additional virtual content, the key to understanding AR is defining the specific activities where it can create real value. And for on-line E-marketers and store owners, that means more sales.

The major portion of this information was provided by Ana Javornik