How will augmented reality shape customer experience?
The world of marketing is greatly affected by advancements in communication technology. In this modern period of rapid innovation, we are seeing the quick rise and demise of certain media. What might be progressive today may soon be fully saturated and obsolete — no longer truly reaching your target consumer.
Just as we have seen the usefulness of physical mail come and go, it’s replacement is following suit. Email is dead. Print marketing certainly still has effective applications, but is not really successful anymore.
For businesses to be forward-facing and harness the power of the next platform, they need to be able to understand how it interfaces with human behavior. They need to anticipate the potential positive and negative impacts their marketing mediums have on their brand.
One new platform that is quickly picking up pace is augmented reality. This tool blends digital interaction with the real world, deepening consumer experience. Common uses include live face-altering filters through Facetime, Snapchat or Instagram, however, there are many more current and potential uses of this revolutionary technology in marketing and business operations — keep reading to learn more.
Augmented reality is becoming more mainstream, with large Fortune 500 companies using it to their advantage. But with the development of this technology, even small enterprises and mom-and-pops can leverage augmented reality in new, engaging ways to interact with their customers, building extreme brand-loyalty. Here at SoCap, we are exploring augmented reality for marketing and consumer-based engagement inside brands and amongst consumers, in the Denver market and with international clients.
Your business can use augmented reality as an asset and enhance your customer and employee experience.
The possibilities of using augmented reality to engage your employees or customers are vast, and our hope is to show you its many possible applications. Businesses can use it to prompt engagement with product videos, demos, and dynamic PDFs that inform you on best practices and application of products. Consumers can be educated literally at their fingertips through videos, product reviews, influencer conversations or industry bloggers, deepening their connection to your products and brand.
Augmented reality can enhance traditional advertising, adding a new digital element to the consumer experience. By blending old media and digital experiences, you get the best of both worlds, providing these traditional ad mediums a new edge to stay competitive in a rapidly changing media environment.
Just as National Geographic has used their pages to provide videos and interactive experiences with their content, magazines have the opportunity to be an interactive print experience. Now an editor’s note can really be a dialogue, or even a video that speaks to their customer base. Articles and editorials can be brought to life with complimentary videos of the interview, anecdotes or content that only enhances the experience beyond what’s written on the page. Lastly but certainly not least, with one touch, advertisements can take the consumer through to products, videos and other engaging content.
Augmented reality can allow viewers to engage with an advertisement on TV by merely by holding their phone up. The camera can recognize the asset on the TV, and prompt an action, such as “add to cart.” Brands can have varying end screens on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, allowing them to see which commercial drives the most engagement and sales. This is just the beginning — the opportunity to engage consumers with augmented reality is endless.
Retail stores have a competitive edge with the ability to enhance customer experience over online shopping and e-retailers. With augmented reality, products are brought to life in person, blending the real and digital experience. Stores can potentially decrease their footprint to save on retail taxes and ship direct to consumers as well.
- Super Markets / Shopping for products (reviews)
Imagine you are walking through a store, uncertain of which products are the best. You know you don’t want to shop merely based off price, but are looking for something that is going to appease you. Beyond brand packaging, how do you tell the difference between products? What’s ideal beyond going online to see others reviews and testimonials? With use of augmented reality, consumers can hover over a product and its packaging would trigger desired actions. From reviews to testimonials, coupons and other discounts to brand specs and details, all the information you can see online is now available in-store. This is where brands get to have fun in shaping the customer experience.
- Colors & Variations of Products
Some brands have already started to play in this room, but there’s a lot of additional creativity to be had with augmented reality. Aside from merely letting customers see product color variations, companies could use augmented reality to allow consumers to customize products, and see what it would look like in real life through their camera. For example, consumers can customize shoes, jackets and backpacks and see how it looks on them — without actually having to try it on. This is just the beginning, and brands have a lot of opportunity to re-engage their customers, leveraging their feedback and interaction for product development and increased customer loyalty.
- Influence Store Layout and Design
Retail owners can shape how customers experience stores by using augmented reality, making it possible to navigate a store’s physical location. Customers can virtually tour different departments, find the product they’re searching for or explore deals the store is offering. Additionally, brands can reinvent how they actually carry inventory. In the fashion world, a client could have a fitting and identify the textures and appearance they want for their garments, and have their product shipped directly to their house. Augmented reality makes it possible to see variations in color, texture, and the like with the use of smartphones and tablets, presenting the textile touch of the brand without having to carry all of the inventory in every size.
Walking / Driving
Google glasses were ahead of their time, but the application today is more relevant and user-friendly than ever. Whether through glasses, your phone as you walked on the street or the same technology in your car, augmented reality can create engagement through retail signs, menus, historic buildings and monuments.
- Business Signs and Reviews
If you’re new to town and want to explore restaurants, entertainment or shopping you could use augmented reality to engage with company websites, videos, or other collateral as you walk down the street and hover over a store. Companies can bring their brand’s experience to life, illustrating the differentiators of your brand. These are just a few ways businesses can use augmented reality to increase foot traffic.
Ordering food can be a dynamic and engaging experience. The customer can see where the food came from, hear from the farmers and chefs, and even see how the food is prepped. They can experience how their dish came to life. Food allergies and suggestions of pairings could even be illustrated through individual icons, pictures, or other assets and tell consumers a new and exciting narrative.
- Iconic Buildings and Landmarks
Visiting a new city doesn’t need to be intimidating anymore. Your phone could recognize iconic buildings in conjunction with it’s GPS, prompting narrative videos about a landmark’s history, timeline, current occupants and more. Cities could increase tourism by sharing a location’s history, such as art that has been featured in the area. This would create a much more engaging experience that highlights and celebrates the history of the city.
The application of augmented reality doesn’t solely pertain to consumers, but has a multitude of applications internally for businesses and their employees. Training, referencing materials, and even remote guidance to problem-solve technical issues are all feasible to increase employee performance and efficiency in the workplace.
- Training and Onboarding
When entering any new position, the strength of your managers and the onboarding process is indicative of the organizational strength of a company. Today, brands are able to use augmented reality to ensure employees receive the same training materials, videos and PDFs. They can allow them to engage with their supervisors through these dynamic PDFs across the organization, too. Let’s say an employee is able to figure out how to carve off two hours of work from a 10 hour procedure that needs to be done weekly across 100 locations or departments within the country. Sharing this employees feedback bilaterally using augmented reality could save up to 2,000 hours a week — I’ll let you do the math to see the potential cost savings to your organization.
- Remote Guidance
There are times that employees don’t have immediate supervision and face a technical challenge. With the use of augmented reality they can receive remote guidance to see the status of a machine, order replacement parts, or even a walk-through from a supervisor that is offsite on how to fix technical issues. Overall, this saves the organization time and money.
- Documents & Collateral – E-Books and Manuals
Companies don’t have to restrict augmented reality use to training manuals, around the office with day-to-day tasks and conference rooms — they can also use them externally. With dynamic EPUB 3 PDFs, employees or clients can add additional photos, notes, or recommendations to processes.
In Your Home
Today, with the use of smartphones and tablets, consumers are able to download branded apps, connecting with content specific to your brand. Tomorrow, this won’t be the only application as devices, software and platforms integrate seamlessly with these augmented and virtual-reality technologies. Tomorrow’s experience will integrate into tomorrow’s smart phones and across apps for a more intuitive customer experience.
Through our partnership with JujoTech we are excited to leverage multiple applications of augmented reality. We’re exploring this new frontier of how augmented reality and marketing can be married to create a more seamless and impactful user experience. If you’re curious about how we can create dynamic customer experiences using augmented reality, contact us and we would be happy to explore solutions.