There’s been a great deal of hype in the business world about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – but we believe that the real opportunity for research right now lies in AR. It has a huge significance for brands across the globe because it’s an effective way to engage audiences by bringing a product to life.

If you’re considering using AR in your organisation’s next campaign, take some inspiration from these 5 popular brands, Ikea, Kabaq, Disney, Lacoste and Sephora, and see why AR is one of the leading tech trends!

1. Ikea: design your dream home

The world’s largest furniture retailer picked up on the power of AR and developed an inventive app called IkeaPlace. This tool can be used by customers to ‘place’ Ikea furniture in their homes to scale, to experiment viewing life-like 3D renderings from different angles of over 2,000 products, and try different colours, styles and shapes.

Through AR technology, Ikea has helped shoppers overcome an existing problem; they no longer need to hesitate over the purchase of a piece of furniture because they’re unsure of how it’ll look in their home. By promoting sales beyond the traditional retail environment, customers can make a more reliable buying decision with this easy to use smartphone app.

2. Kabaq: say goodbye to food envy

Kabaq uses AR to help diners can experience an interactive 360 view of each dish – to see the correct portion size, visualize ingredients and be presented with complimentary food items. Humans are visual creatures and what’s more, this inventive tool helps diners decide what to eat, giving traditional menus a digital twist.

Mike Cadoux, Kabaq’s head of sales and partnerships explains, “If I was going to get the $17 pasta, but I see the $28 steak and it looks amazing, and I go for the $28 steak, that’s a huge value add to so many restaurants.” Restaurants are increasing food sales (particularly desserts!) which is a brilliant way to drive business and increase revenue.

3. Disney: bring Frozen to life

With a new range of Frozen products to promote in-store, Tesco partnered with Disney to create the ultimate experience for children. Tesco shoppers can pick up a free Disney sticker folder, and with the Tesco Discover app, re-live the magic of the Frozen movie by bringing their stickers to life. Upon its release, this AR campaign had over 300K views in one weekend.

If you’re looking to bring a marketing campaign to the top of its league, Tesco’s and Disney’s partnership demonstrates that with AR technology can drive brand awareness and engagement.

4. Lacoste: experiment with fashion

Lacoste’s retail campaign is all about “bringing the colour” to reflect its vibrant brand. It is the first global campaign to combine high resolution 3D product scanning and AR to deliver an interactive product viewing experience. In its app, users can trigger images available exclusively in-store to try on entire product ranges (such as trainers) and interact with various Lacoste content.

This fashion empire gave not only customers, but competitors, something to talk about in its one-of-a-kind AR campaign.

5. Sephora: find the perfect makeup

Sephora has developed an AR feature called the Virtual Artist. This tool scans user’s faces with incredible accuracy to determine where their features are, and then prompts customers to ‘try’ various eye shadows, false eyelashes and a range of other beauty products. According to Bridget Dolan, VP of the Sephora Innovation Lab, “When it comes to augmented and virtual reality, it can only be successful if it’s truly useful.”

Sephora teaches an important lesson: if your company is ready to invest in its digital innovation, then make sure you keep the needs of the consumers in mind to create a truly useful product.

Considered one of the leading tech trends, AR technology is bringing products to life, changing the way brands and customers interact. What other brands have you seen that use AR in inventive ways? Have your considered implementing this tool into your strategy? Share with us in the comments below!