Augmented reality (AR) has the power to turn any passive touch-point – from products to packaging to places – into an interactive digital discovery channel, enabling a direct dialogue with your end-users. And, as an always-on digital channel that you control as owned media, you’re no longer confined by the space and real estate that media agencies and social networks can sell you. The AR world is your oyster!
Here are five ways your business can harness this technology to drive growth, increase sales, and engage your customers.
- More mileage from media spend — AR can get you extra mileage out of the media spend you’ve already put forward across POS, print, packaging, and OOH – providing another way to layer immersive, interactive and responsive mechanics into your existing media inventory and messaging. In neuroscience studies, AR was shown to almost double the levels of visual attention and memory encoding when compared to other media. Using AR as an always-on, omnichannel method of media buying and deployment can drive efficiencies and effectiveness for your current marketing spend, with a proportionally minimal additional cost.
- Connected packaging — Today’s consumer has more choices than ever before and have simultaneously never been more prudent about their buying decisions, taking factors like sustainability, ethics, and provenance into consideration. AR can give you a powerful medium through which to share that story, acting as a portal to more information, videos and even games demonstrating brand values and environmental initiatives. WebAR has made this more possible than ever with scanning technology that no longer requires an app download or social media, rather allowing consumers to view AR experiences in a web browser. Additionally, AR is proving beneficial for identifying counterfeit goods. While consumers scan and enjoy the front-end AR experience, the software can run background checks on the product’s authenticity and has the ability to alert both customers and brand owners to any issues that come up.
- Revitalizing retail — One of the most effective ways that companies have been able to engage their audience at the retail level is through rewards and loyalty programs. Through AR, customers have an incredibly memorable and effective way of activating and redeeming reward points or coupons. This also allows for a more accurate marketing attribution – from engagement to transactional value. This happens at the individual customer level so the data it turns around can be extremely valuable. Not only is this a great environment for rewarding and subsequently learning more about what customers are looking for, but is also a wonderful platform for brand partnerships in the form of promotional programs. Combining these factors can drive customer engagement and purchase behavior.
- Transforming L&D — AR does not have to be something that only functions in a customer-focused capacity. It has proven equally valuable for internal communications and learning, training and development. The science of how AR affects the way we learn is extensive, and amounts to a single fact: it is among the most powerful methods of learning we have available to us. My company’s own research, as well as others, have shown that AR can significantly reduce time to competency and completions in learning new material, while increasing the level of accuracy. Moreover, AR can positively engage your workforce in what may otherwise be dull or difficult subject matter, from a new IT protocol to fire regulations. Training your workforce effectively will keep your employees engaged, competent, and ready for the work ahead of them.
- Enhancing trade shows and events — This is a massive area of spend for businesses and brands and AR can help address three inherent challenges: getting more people to participate in downloading an event’s companion app beforehand in order to collect valuable data; drawing as much traffic as possible to your booth while also delivering relevant info to drive your ROI; and (from the perspective of an attendee), provide an efficient way to receive and retrieve information both during and after the show. AR can also function as a practical, immersive B2B tool for product demonstrations at a low cost. It can essentially alleviate expensive equipment transportation costs while still enabling fully functional demonstrations.
Adopting AR into your business arsenal has never been easier than it is today. Whether you are an enterprise business or an SMB, AR grants you a new palette of creativity to work with in an increasingly mobile world. Most people are looking through some sort of lens when they look at brands nowadays. Business owners and brand managers should be asking themselves “when people view my brand through the camera, what do they see?” AR can help you have a strong answer to that question.