Hello, once again earthlings! It took me fifteen hours, but finally, I am back home. Well, living on your planet has some ups and downs. While waiting in the “Non-EU” queue at Gatwick Airport holding a 10-kilo baby in my arms for one and a half hour, all I could think of was being teleported to my living room, this is very common where I came from as you may imagine. Then, I came home and the very next day I had a stupid fight with my husband. I wanted to push a button and make him disappear, or at least mute him, but these are not common techniques on earth either. So sad. I was struggling with these thoughts when I suddenly remembered this week’s blog post duty on Friday afternoon.
Something new in digital marketing… Disappearing my husband… That would be something new… Being teleported to my living room… Something appears in my living room… Oh, wait! I think I found it!
What is Augmented Reality?
According to Cambridge Dictionary (Oxford should have an easy to access online dictionary as well), augmented reality means images produced by a computer and used together with a view of the real world.
Augmented reality came into my life with Pokémon Go. It was our first week in the UK and my 33 years old husband was hunting Pokémon on the streets of Oxford. I, on the other hand, was flat hunting by myself back then, so it wasn’t annoying at all! Then almost all my friends started to share some weird pictures on Instagram, holding or kissing Pokémons.
I realized augmented reality was something in 2016. The video above was uploaded by IKEA on 26 Jul 2013. So, IKEA must be one of the pioneer brands that combined augmented reality with marketing. The idea was brilliant, the solution was much practical than using those tape measures in the stores and then imagining how it will fit, or will it ever fit your room.
While thinking of this IKEA example, I remembered Victoria‘s example in her post about facial recognition technology. Most of you will remember how Pepsi Max used a bus shelter and it was sure an augmented reality example as well. I checked if there are any other brands using this promotion technique and found this video below.
Suddenly, I had an awakening and realized that even SnapChat is using augmented reality! I knew it before 2016 then, I just wasn’t aware.
Why Customers Use AR?
Augmented reality sure brought a brand new way to communicate with the customers. But are there any benefits of using it, or is it just for fun?
Here are some examples that come to my mind in regards to how AR applications can ease our lives.
- We can place virtual objects in real-life environments to see if they fit. As mentioned above, IKEA was one of the pioneers, but their example followed and even upgraded by another company called Sayduck. Their way of modelling seems more realistic when compared to IKEA, and what is much better is Sayduck does not limit you to one brand. You can try products of different furniture brands such as Alessi, TON, or Wilde+Spieth via Sayduck’s application. When it comes to trying virtual objects, you are not limited to furniture only. With GAP’s Dressing Room application, shoppers can try on dresses without even leaving their home. All they need to do is selecting their body types through the application and voila! GAP is not the only brand benefiting from AR. Top Shop, Timberland, Lacoste, and American Apparel are some other brands that used and still using AR. Make-up industry discovered AR as well. L’oreal first created an app called Makeup Genius and now is collaborating with an app called YouCam. Basically, these apps let users try some products and make selections by considering which ones fit their skins best before buying the actual products. Sephora and Benefit are following L’oreal’s lead. If you would like to hear more of this issue, here is WSJ’s Nathan Olivarez-Giles talking about new retail apps that benefit from AR.
- We can get information about the products in supermarkets. Although it is still not very common, there are some Retail AR apps that lead you towards the products that you are looking for in the supermarket. Project Tango has been working on it since 2016, and the most recent example I could find belongs to Dent Reality. It seems like Tesco had worked on these kinds of innovative stuff but could not really proceed since 2014. Well done guys!
- We can find our way in a new city. With a pretty similar functioning to supermarket navigation, it is also possible to detect the best places to shop, have a cup of coffee – sorry tea, we are in England – or nearest hospital with AR applications. Here is the promotion video of an application called AR City, that basically navigates users through a city.
Why Brands Use AR?
Simple earthlings, because it is FUN AND ENGAGING!
According to Google (2016), “In an average day, more than 1/4 of all users only use a smartphone, which is nearly 2X as many as those who only use a computer”, and “on average, in a given hour when actively using their phone, users interact with 4.8 apps.” The same study reveals that 33% of smartphone segment use shopping apps. C’me on earthlings, you know you love your apps. Even I change my eye colour into various shades on YouCam. I know you do have your own guilty pleasures as well.
Apps are fun, they increase the curiosity about the product and hence intention to patronize and purchase amongst the customers (Beck & Crié, 2018); they created a new form of customer experience and reshaped experiential marketing (Fuentes & Svingstedt, 2017). According to Scholz and Duffy (2018), “AR can indeed result in more intimate consumer-brand relationships, if marketers are able to keep the brand and transactional aspects of the app in the background.” And here are some other benefits of AR that I can think of; augmented reality apps increase customer interaction and engagement through gamification**; they are entertaining; they create a more exciting and interactive way of storytelling**, and it is easy to track the campaign results with AR apps.
Briefly, earthlings, although it has been a little while since augmented reality was discovered, it seems like you’ll keep seeing more of it. Probably we will not be able to mute or vanish our husbands or wives in the near future, but at least we can try by telling the magic words, huh?
Nope, he is still here…
Stay safe until the next post earthlings!
Beck, M. & Crié, D. (2018). I Virtually Try It … I Want It! Virtual Fitting Room: A Tool to Increase On-line and Off-line Exploratory Behavior, Patronage and Purchase Intentions. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 40: 279–286.
Fuentes, C. & Svingstedt, A. (2017). Mobile Phones and the Practice of Shopping: A Study of How Young Adults Use Smartphones to Shop. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 38: 137–146.
Google (2016). How People Use Their Devices What Marketers Need to Know, September [online] Retrieved July 29th, 2018, from 〈https://storage.googleapis.com/think/docs/twg-how-people-use-their-devices-2016.pdf〉
Scholz, J. & Duffy, K. (2018). We ARe at Home: How Augmented Reality Reshapes Mobile Marketing and Consumer-Brand Relationships. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 44: 11-23.
* This post is dedicated to Potterheads such as myself, the words in the headline belongs to a vanishing spell used by legendary Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) in a scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. May he rest in peace.
** I put these stars just to prove you how familiar I am with marketing literature. Just kidding. These terms belong to this week’s module. I must be learning some stuff.