Necessity is the mother of innovation and the current times have proved this right. With the need for social distancing, remote working and sheltering at home has become a norm and businesses are innovating in their marketing strategy to remain relevant to their customers and stakeholders. As marketing is being driven by the wants and needs of the customer, today it has become pertinent to use newly viable technology to meet consumer expectations and deliver seamless experiences.
Augmented reality (AR), thus, becomes a ‘must-have’ for omnichannel retailers and ecommerce to survive and stay close and relevant to their consumers through the pandemic.
Marketers care about reach and engagement and other upper funnel metrics. They seek solutions that’ll help them further amplify their reach, number of impressions, traffic on the website in a more enhanced and effective manner; a solution that automatically has virality with a promise to get more return on ad spend.
AR helps brands to achieve these goals by giving their consumers unique 3D life-size experiences with convenience and safety and the ability to create their own content. Our research has shown that immersive experiences whether they are AR or VR (virtual reality) or XR (mixed reality) have an engagement that is seven times higher than a 2D video with a UGC rate of up to 40%.
AR, An Aid To Convert Intent To Purchase
The dynamics of retail and consumption are changing rapidly since the onset of the pandemic. It is no longer the customer that must initiate and reach the brand instead it is the vice-versa now. There is no other technology today that can drive down the difference between online and offline. People cannot go to the store, so the store must come to them. People cannot evaluate products in offline space, so the products need to come to them.
All of this can be achieved through mixing AR, VR, XR technologies in the marketing paradigm of the business. Research shows that AR/XR produces 150% or more click-through rates (CTRs) and conversions at the bottom of the funnel compared to 2D videos and 300% higher than 2D images.
Marketers can also collect extensive data on the consumers interacting with their brand, as these platforms involve a significant degree of access to personal information. This data also assists them in their full-funnel marketing strategy to convert the prospective audience into core customers.
AR, A Jack Of All Trades With Cross-Funnel And Cross-Category Applications
Another great aspect of AR/ VR technology is its ‘applicability’ which is not limited to one business. “At-Home Discovery” using augmented reality is applicable across a multitude of industries – from auto to home improvement, apparel to FMCG, and gaming to electronics.
Recently, MG Motors offered a life-size 3D car visualization experience that delivered 5 million AR impressions to its consumers during the Auto Expo 2020 period making it one of the largest AR campaigns in the country. Fashion e-tailer Myntra also used an Influencer-led AR experience with a popular Indian celebrity that resonated well with their customers.
Many other companies have also taken stock of the advantages of AR and thus are now focussing on building different mobile-based AR apps to attract customers using smartphones or tablets as this increases the audience. Advanced AR/VR app options like “shop the look” offers marketers an untapped, lucrative revenue channel that is highly targeted.
Because of the digital nature of the apps, they can track engagement with products to determine which are resonating with consumers. These apps aren’t just improving the customer experience but driving results for companies across industries.
A marketer can only create new consumer sticky habits if you check off two factors – mobility and convenience. But the post-Covid world asks for one more parameter to be added and that is – hygiene. AR is the only tool through which he can check all the three factors off and get a 10X experience. With the digital and physical worlds getting merged visually, it will be fair to say that AR is the most suitable technology to drive down the online-offline experience gap for marketers.