2013 is going to be a big year for the tech sector. With a boom in augmented reality app development, more mobile devices in consumer’s hands than ever before, and no end in sight to the power of the enhanced landscape that will be offered via devices like Google’s new AR glasses, there’s no reason not to consider the ways in which augmented reality can and should be used to improve your company’s marketing plan.
Here’s a short list of ways that any company can make the success of augmented reality a success for their own business.
First, consider this common scenario: A couple is looking for a place to eat dinner. They want something quiet, with a nice atmosphere, but neither is too hungry, so they’d like something light. They don’t mind spending a little extra as long as they don’t have to travel too far. Now, they can walk around looking in windows and reading menus, or they can take a number of time saving steps by using their mobile devices.
So he: holds up his phone and uses its camera and GPS, gliding across the few restaurants within view, noticing what rating they’ve been given on Yelp as little bars float across the phone’s screen indicating customer satisfaction in stars, and checking prices and maybe reading menu options.
While she: opens an app on her tablet, speaks into the phone saying, “small plates,” and waits. Within a few moments a short list of options generated. She picks one, selects it, and is suddenly standing with a digital waiter who is interacting with her, answering her questions about the food and giving her directions.
Now, both options are great. But given the choice, most folks would probably say the second is a better, newer, edgier way to locate some good grub. The second option isn’t just standard digital marketing using social media and other previously established means of reaching customers; it’s a whole new way of experiencing the world. It’s digital marketing taken to the next level.
1. Interactive Ads
This is the difference that a truly immersive AR campaign can make in your advertising. Imagine a world where, if a woman holds her phone’s camera above an advertisement for the shoes your company makes, she will be provided with a wealth of additional information. Where to buy, what they’re made of, what others have said, and all of this presented by a virtual “shoe salesperson” who can go so far as to answer product questions. The advertisement, enhanced. Non-invasive, interactive, and fun.
2. Customer Service
AR customer service doesn’t end when the customer walks away from the advertisement. Imagine a piece of furniture or a toy that requires some assembly, but not to worry, the company that sells these items is well prepared! They have an AR service app that allows a customer service representative to communicate, demonstrate, and assist with any complicated questions or set up.
This is more than a pre-recorded how-to guide or a pamphlet and some plastic tools. It’s a truly immersive experience that makes everything easier and more fluid for the customer.
3. Virtual Shopping
Speaking of making things easy on the customer, what could be easier than ordering items from the comfort of home? The success of online shopping has already been well established. It ain’t broke, but it could stand for some improvements.
You’ve probably heard someone say: I’d buy this, but I need to try it on first. For online retailers, this statement has been an enormous challenge. Not just with apparel, but with many items people like to see things in context before they invest. For many, this simply means seeing an object in person, or trying it on, and getting a sense of how it will fit in to their lives, but some folks need to take items home to learn they don’t want them.
So imagine: a customer shopping for lamps that will fit in that special corner of the room, can use their mobile device’s camera and place the lamp in the corner themselves without lifting a finger or leaving the house.
Add interactive digital catalogues, virtual clothes, and kiosks at which objects and items can be tested and tried on, and your company will be a leader of the AR marketing revolution.