The entire goal of augmented reality (AR) is to combine real-life experiences with interesting images accessed via mobile devices or headsets. Experts predict that consumers will purchase about 5.4 million augmented reality glasses by the year 2020.
At first glance, AR provides visual eye candy because it is fresh and interesting. However, AR is so much more than just visual fascination. It brings some elements to your branding efforts that help you stand out from the competition and gain a competitive edge.
1. Ties Into Social Aspects
One way that augmented reality goes beyond just interesting visuals is through the social aspects of AR. Think about the popularity of Pokemon Go and how people everywhere were talking about the game, sharing their adventures on social media and interacting with others while out and about. Not only did the game allow people to connect, but it got people off their couches and out exploring the world as they searched for different creatures to collect via the game.
The possibilities for how you use AR for social traction are limitless. Think about the activities your site visitors already participate in and decide how augmented reality can play a role. Encourage users to share their experience on social media. Also consider adding a forum where they can interact with one another or turn the entire experience into a game.
2. Helps With Overall UX
AR can also help with the overall user experience on your website. Many experts believe advanced smartphone capabilities will bring the next wave of AR advances. There are several benefits to this — you gain the ability to add in videos with advanced graphics and features that allow users to see how an item might look in their home, but you also gain an advantage of reaching mobile users right where they are.
Mobile device usages trend upward. Making sure your website responsive to mobile devices is one step to take before you introduce AR elements to your page. If your site doesn’t already offer mobile visitors a positive experience, adding AR won’t improve that situation. Perfect your mobile responsiveness first and then focus on AR.
3. Find Marketing Hooks
AR allows you to find marketing hooks you otherwise might not have thought of. Imagine selling golf clubs and having the ability for the user to step into the role of a character, swing and see how the club feels in their hands.
You can tie AR into an overall web design or install it into brick and mortar storefronts. You can also use AR to train people in how to use machines without the risk of getting your hands next to running machinery. Tying into the many benefits of using AR is a unique marketing hook that sets your business apart from the competition and gives you an edge.
4. Add Interest to Graphic Designs
Have you grown bored with the same old design concepts? AR allows you to think outside the box. You can add exciting animations and elements you otherwise might not add to a standard website. Not only can you add interesting elements from an aesthetic standpoint, but it helps the usability of your site as well.
For example, if you sell jewelry, you can add an augmented reality model that allows the user to see a ring on someone’s hand. They the user is able to tilt it to various angles to see how the gemstone picks up the light. The ability to almost see the ring in person adds to the overall shopping experience for the user. Not to mention it increases the interest to your website overall. A consumer is more likely to purchase something when they have detailed information on a product. So, the more detail you provide, the better.
5. Integrate AR With Real Life
Brick and mortar stores now embrace AR in a variety of ways, which adds to the shopper experience. Seventy-four percent of people now assume that retailers offer an enhanced shopping experience. However, some stores simply use a bit of AR to inform foot traffic of specials. And other stores offer a sort of host to guide the shopper to specific things.
Online stores are also using AR in this way. Overstock.com allows users to try a piece of furniture in their own living room and with their own layout — all online. Other companies developed apps to drive consumer purchases. Look at AkzoNobel, who allow consumers to choose a paint color and see what it looks like in a completed room.
6. Print Advertising
AR shows up even in print advertising. The medium of print is on a downturn, but AR could potentially save print advertising. Rather than simply thumbing through a magazine, users would interact via their smartphones, bringing an advertisement to life as a video appeared or a game activated.
In Nivea’s ad for child sunscreen, they included a wristband that came out of the ad to be placed on a child’s wrist. The wristband then interacts with an app that alerts parents if the child gets too far away or to an area the parents didn’t want the child in, such as by the shore.
Influence of Augmented Reality
The influence of augmented reality grows continuously. As advances are made in smartphone technology and more brands turn to AR for the full user experience, expect to see more companies using AR. Getting in on the trend now, before it is commonplace, sets your brand apart from the competition. What are some ways you can add augmented reality specifically to your branding today and get in on this trend?
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.