How to leverage AR for your retail marketing
By Grace Vassallo
We are heading into a transformational five years for retail as thought-leading brands are increasingly reaping the benefits from the increased engagement, dwell times, memory recall and sales success that AR affords.
For brands, this throws up incredible new opportunities to connect with consumers on the device through their camera and the use of spatial storytelling.
5 innovative opportunities for retail marketing:
Surprise and delight: Augmenting your shopper marketing promotion
What do nearly all of your potential customers have in common?
How your customers’ smartphones can be used effectively to promote your campaigns is where AR becomes the real opportunity. Technology that allows you to utilise an app or the mobile web to connect with your audience wherever you choose, increasing engagement, boosting market share in terms of time spent interacting with your brand and products and driving repeat visits.
Engage and inform: Virtual product visualisation and try-on
This is undeniably an iterative, long-term strategy for brands looking to not only engage a younger audience through digital technology, but also those who are wanting to tackle the impact of Covid-19, whilst improving conversion and reducing returns.
The success seen by companies like IKEA and The Home Depot in using AR to allow customers to visualize their products pre-sale has been taken by fashion brands like Gucci and Christian Louboutin with Mytheresa, especially over the past year, and accelerated to utilise AR technology for virtual try on.
Expanding the retail space: Creating digital real estate in-store
AR is allowing retail stores to become the destination rather than just part of the buyer journey. Creating interactive experiences that are connected to all static, passive in store materials means that they can be easily updated and refreshed over time increasing engagement, giving your customers a reason to return time and time again.
Sponsorship & Partnership programs
Virtual treasure hunts
Reimagining customer loyalty: Rewards schemes, redemption and collectibles
Unsurprisingly digital rewards schemes have been growing in popularity over the past few years and any business taking a customer-first approach will have considered the rise in online-first behaviours. Providing digital loyalty schemes has been keeping customers engaged and if definitely favourable from a sustainability and CSR standpoint (plastic toys in fast food meals or cereal boxes to name one instance).
There is however an opportunity to take this to the next level, gamification, games for rewards, is only one potential way customer loyalty can be won. The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the increasing value placed on how we behave online – becoming in many cases the primary method of communication, socially and professionally especially for younger generations. This increased value has had an impact on the concept of virtual goods and the value they now hold – Gucci’s virtual 25 sneaker being a perfect example. Opening up new and interesting opportunities that can be leveraged with AR technology.
Looking forwards: Digital twins, avatars and the retail metaverse
We’re increasingly living in a world where we have a digital twin: we have our real selves and our digital personas that exist in social media and online.
With the growth in gaming culture and advances in 3D animation and capture this digital twin is increasingly taking a new form in avatars as seen in MMOGs’ like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft; also in social apps for Bitmoji in Snap and the equivalent in Line in AsiaPac; and of course console gaming for Nintendo’s most recent console, the Switch and XBox games where avatars are part of the account flow and your online gaming persona from the moment you hit the ‘on’ button. With the rise in spatial computing and as we move headlong into multiple virtual worlds in the metaverse and the advent of telepresence and holographs, things are about to get weirder still!