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  • Writer's pictureDamian Burgess

How augmented reality can boost sales

AR is the superimposition of digital data and "objects" into a real-time camera view of a live environment. This technology has been around for a long time, but has only recently begun to be significantly applied to marketing.

There are two basic versions of this technology: Overlay AR and 3D AR.

In the Overlay AR environment, the digital data or objects are not linked to the scale or specific layout of the physical world. The digital object is simply triggered by some event or data (such as a GPS coordinate.) A good example is thePokémon Go app from Niantic Inc.; users can search for imaginary Pokémon characters, and when they "find" them the character appears superimposed on the video stream from their smartphone camera.

Virtual Reality

With VR, users put on a headset or goggles, and they are "placed" into a digital/virtual representation of a physical environment so that they can look and explore it as they would in the real world, as if they were in that environment. When they move their head, they see the space as if they had looked in that direction in the real world. This effect is known as "immersion."

360 Videos

Another application type, the 360-degree video, is often confused with AR or VR. However, 360 video is a video of an actual (real life) scene that is taken with multiple cameras/lenses pointed in every direction at the same time. The effect is to give the viewer the option to "turn" in any direction and see the action unfold from that perspective, in real-time

For complex products and solutions, showing something in a digital immersive environment can be highly effective because the experience is difficult to deliver with real-world products or environments, and the customer is using the immersive platform to learn about the relevant value of the product or solution.

When deciding on how to use VR and AR in the marketing mix, think about what is a practical application given the customer's environment, and how the three key elements of engagement (sensory, intellectual, and emotional connections) will be used to deliver an effective marketing experience.

An example of this:

The retail industry is intensely competitive and standing out through innovation is key. M&S have recently used technology to drive buzz to their fashion and food range via an app that uses an internal stylist to advise users on clothing based on their body shape and the season – the app now has 50,000 active users and has considerably increased spend amongst those 50,000 users (it’s also let to insight into the brand amongst younger shoppers who wouldn’t necessarily shop there)

This is a great example of merging physical shops and ecommerce. A bit like buying a sofa or a carpet the use of augmented reality to visualise and preview something before committing to buying it. We expect this will also take off in the food industry – why not advise people on food choices for the week based on their activities and a balanced diet?! ng your post here. You can insert images and videos by clicking on the icons above.

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