Customer purchase does not necessarily depend on the need for the product; instead, it often depends on how well the product has been advertised. Most advertising companies target customer emotions and experiences to sell their product. However, with the increasing online awareness, intrusive ads and an oversaturated advertising space, customers rely more on online reviews before purchasing any product.
Companies have to think out-of-the-box to get the customers engaged with their product! Augmented Reality can help companies fetch their audience back by creating an interactive buying experience on their device that converts their casual browsing activity into a successful purchase.
It is estimated that there are around 4 billion users in the world who are actively engaged on the internet. This shows that over half of the world’s population is active online which means having an online platform will be beneficial, but there’s a large audience that requires engaging within the right way because it’s becoming the norm. For now, AR is still fairly new in the advertising world but it’s expected that by 2020, AR revenue will outweigh VR (Virtual Reality) by about $120 billion and it’s no surprise this is the case.
Ways AR can benefit businesses
There are many reasons why AR could be beneficial to a business:
Creates Emotional Connection
AR provides the platform for advertising companies to engage with their audiences in a unique way, using an immersive advertisement to create a connection that brings the consumers emotions into play. A memorable experience encourages them to make purchases because psychologically, it was an experience that they’ve had like no other and one they’re unlikely to get elsewhere. It can also help create exposure. Because of the excitement that users had, they’ll encourage others to try it too.
It’s amazing to think that such advanced technology can be cheaper than your traditional method of advertising. Print advertising can still be an extremely expensive method in many cases given that it is a high volume game and due to the costs of applying an ad on the front page of a publication. AR ads can vary depending on the quality but even some of the simplest forms of AR advertising can be affordable.
Not only is AR a useful tool for promoting goods and services, but it also provides the opportunity to increase conversions. One issue that many customers have is whether the goods they are purchasing are right for them. AR removes this barrier and enables them to ‘try out’ the product before they purchase, making it more likely for the customer to buy.
Examples of AR advertising
Early adopters have already taken up the technology for showcasing their services and products. It’s not mainstream yet but as the above figures suggest, it won’t be long before AR becomes widespread. Here are a few examples of companies using AR technology in their marketing strategy.
IKEA’s virtual furnitures
IKEA is the famous Swedish home retailer who adopted the technology back in 2013 for their iOS app. Their idea allowed potential purchasers to scan their catalogue with their mobile phone and then browse their products through the app. When they selected something that they think might be suitable for their home they could see the virtual furniture through their app or tablet in their living space. This way customers could judge whether it was the right product or not.
Pepsi Max’s Unbelievable Campaign
Pepsi didn’t necessarily use the technology to promote their product directly but instead used it to create a buzz for the brand. They installed screens into an everyday bus shelter in London and used it to layer virtual images over a real-life camera. Audiences were able to interact with the video in the bus shelter through the camera that was installed on the bus shelter. The video currently has over 8 million views on Youtube and several shares have been made through social networks.
Lacoste’s virtual trial room on a marker
Lacoste launched an app that used marker-based AR technology where users were able to stand on a marker in the store that allowed them to try on different LCST branded trainers. As mentioned before, this would be a great way for users to try on their apparel before deciding whether to purchase it.
Challenges businesses face with integrating AR into their advertising plan
Although AR is an exciting prospect for businesses and many positives can be taken from implementing it into advertising plans, it has its fair share of challenges. Let’s take a brief look into what these could be.
Mobile Application is required
AR requires a specific type of application in order to work. For consumers to engage themselves within an AR world they’ll need to be able to download the specific app to their mobile first. This means that customers will find themselves downloading different applications for the companies that released their app. This is potentially one of the reasons why some companies have chosen not to invest in AR, yet.
Solutions like augmented reality digital placement (ARDP) are in the process of resolving this problem. ARDP uses media-rich banners to bring AR to life in a consumer’s handheld device without having to download multiple apps. ARDP would require both AR and app developers to come together to make AR more accessible to users.
Poor Hardware Specifications
Similar to video and console games, the quality of graphics on an AR app greatly impacts the user experience. If you think of the power that console systems output, if a user was to come across a game they played that had poor graphics knowing the console’s capabilities, they will be less likely to play it.
In order for it to work, the handheld device would need enough hardware power to produce the ideal graphics. Phone companies such as Apple and Samsung have done this over time when they’ve released new phones. So in the near future, we should expect modern smartphones to produce top of the range AR.
Complexity in the Development Phase
Creating an AR advertisement requires a high level of expertise. Unless you have AR developers already in your in-house team, the development stage of the process may prove difficult for your business.
There are AR software development toolkits available that have made the process easier but it still requires a good level of coding knowledge. If the resources aren’t available in-house, you can either seek help from app development companies that have AR software engineering experience or you could outsource the work through websites such as Elance, Upwork, and Guru.
In short, the development process in ad creation requires a high level of coding knowledge. The increased awareness of the benefits of implementing AR advertising will alert developers everywhere and should be seen as a rising opportunity. We can expect an increase in demand for AR developers as those who have the expertise in the technology will be high on the agenda for many advertising companies and agencies who are looking to take advantage of the market to engage with their customers differently. For projects that involve AR development, augmented reality developers should be at the forefront of business creative teams, ensuring that the ideas that are created can be implemented correctly.
[author title=”About Jamie Costello”]
Jamie Costello is a student and an aspiring freelance writer based in Manchester. His interests are to write about a variety of topics but his biggest passion concerns technology. He says, “When I’m not writing or studying, I enjoy swimming and playing games consoles”.[/author]
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