Is augmented reality in retail maturing?

Since Pokémon Go brought Augmented Reality (AR) to the mainstream five years ago, the technology has been increasingly adopted by brands looking to incorporate it into their marketing material. The onset of the pandemic, which has seen consumers increasingly connecting with brands on mobile, is now making these kinds of dynamic digital signage activations even more important.

Done right, AR can make mobile experiences more interactive, immersive, and informative. But is AR in retail really maturing enough to make this a reality? Speaking to Retail Dive, Allison Ferenci, co-founder and CEO of software company Camera IQ, argues that it is.

“Not only are brands using AR as an always-on format, but they’re also using AR as a full-funnel solution. They’re trying to use AR at every customer touch point from driving awareness, to getting deeper consumer engagement, to increasing conversion at checkout.”

Allison argues that AR offers brands the potential to give new and existing customers more control over their experience. Today, the most popular applications include virtual try-ons of clothes and cosmetics, and photorealistic demonstrations of home furnishings. However, wider applications are likely.

 

The future of AR in retail

Continuous improvements in smartphone technology, combined with the rollout of higher speed 5G networks, will make AR content easier for consumers to download and interact with. These technological leaps are also giving brands more creative freedom when developing AR strategy.

“The big thing when it comes to AR is to not just focus on that bottom-of-funnel conversion,” Ferenci said. “Instead, think about the creative format and that you’re really delivering an experience to your customer. The opportunity is to deliver an experience in an always-on format.”

She recommends that the next step for AR in retail is for marketers to start focusing on AR content based closely around their overall brand objectives, whether that be driving awareness, direct sales, or both.

The potential for awareness campaigns is significant and varied. Brands can include elements that encourage consumers to engage with an AR object, and to familiarise themselves with a brand and share on social media.

“That’s how the creative that you authored starts to change based on where the consumer is and what your goal is in the outcome,” Ferenci said. “In an AR experience, there’s actually a lot of nuance based on the objective you have.”

At The Delta Group, in addition to our manufacturing of quality printed marketing display materials, we also provide a wide range of digital solutions including AR content generation. Get in touch to find out more: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk.

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