Driving Customer Engagement Through Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is really interesting for brands seeking to enhance experiential marketing practices. With the integration of smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets, people can synergise their live actions from ‘the real world’ and integrate it with the virtual space. Augmented reality can bring images to life, allowing people to interact with digital in a completely different way. Businesses are looking to leverage the commercial opportunities that are arising from this new form of digital media to enhance a consumer’s experience with the brand, business and product offering.

Traditional marketing methods are still effective. With the emergence of new technology and software, companies are striving to leverage the new application developments to get prospective and current customers to engage with the experiences to motivate them to engage with the brand. Below are a few interesting examples where companies have used augmented reality to drive customer engagement and to provide a new brand experience.

The use of augmented reality as shopping windows

There are some examples from the fashion retail industry that have used augmented reality to create interesting campaigns. Topshop in the UK has experimented with shoppers virtually trying on their clothes. While Shiseido has integrated augmented reality into their ‘makeup mirror’ where women can experiment with different shades of makeup prior to purchase.

IKEA and Sayduck cleverly used augmented reality with their marketing catalogues and mobile phone apps for their users to visualize how furniture would appear within their home.

The application is clever as it displays the furniture or fixtures in their real size. The app also provides flexibility in repositioning the items at any angle to really see how well it can be used in the space at home. From a marketing perspective, the use of this application already pre-sells the customer on the product, as they should be in the mindset to go ahead with the purchase, thus improving the sales conversion funnel for the business.

Helping to educate the customer

Nowadays, people seek to learn as much as they can during the buying process. Education plays an important part in the sales process. Learning about the product information, the product benefits and the reviews is a part of the consumer buying process that will motivate the consumer to go ahead with the purchase. Companies like IBM have launched an augmented reality application that provides product information while they are looking at the product. In the marketing buying process, this experience transitions them from the consideration to the action phase if the process is executed well.

Leveraging augmented reality to trigger brand awareness

Brands are using innovative ways to use augmented reality to create buzz and to facilitate the discovery and increased interest in their brand. One of the ways that this was cleverly used was the Pepsi bus shelter prank that was done on London’s Oxford Street. Augmented reality was used with the bus stop’s screen to display unbelievable experiences such as UFO’s, robots and even meteorites crashing from the sky. You can see the campaign from YouTube below.

The experience was cleverly synced with social media marketing to magnify the buzz by encouraging people to share their experience on the short video social networking site Vine and the promotion trending virally on YouTube.

The impact for brands was not only improving their potential customers discovery in the marketing ‘Trigger phase’ but also provided them with a stronger ‘front of mind presence’. This type of experience is more cost effective as the promotional budget to develop the campaign would be significantly less to using traditional marketing branding methods such as running expensive television advertisements.

What are some of the methods that can be used by advertising and marketing agencies?

Augmented reality app development companies are encouraging marketing and advertising agencies to enhance their experiential marketing. These can be leveraged via product demonstrations, exhibitions, as a part of the shopping assistance, product trials and product, service, point of sale or brand interaction.

Take a look at the marketing activities that your company is currently conducting to see if there are any opportunities to leverage augmented reality and to further enhance the new wave of customer experience opportunities that are available.

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