Why brands are turning to augmented reality

Augmented reality has long been associated with the gaming industry. But now, many brands across a wide range of industries are unlocking the power of the technology for marketing and sales purposes.
6 July 2018

Other than gaming, AR has powerful applications in brand marketing. Source: Shutterstock

When you think of augmented reality (AR) you are likely to think of Pokémon Go or Snapchat’s dancing hot dog. Both of which have entertained millions of users.

While AR has gained a large foothold in the gaming and entertainment industry, the technology is showing it’s powerful possibilities in brand sales and marketing.

Here are three ways AR is proving to be a fantastic and engaging way for advertisers to showcase their products.

Personal virtual augmentation

The use of AR is especially taking off in the beauty and fashion industry. Many brands are using the technology to allow shoppers to try out products before they buy.

Cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury is an example of a company leading the way in AR experiences. They have partnered with augmented retail solutions and software provider Holition to install AR-powered “magic mirrors” in their store.

Upon entering the store, customers can have the mirror scan the image of their face. From this, they have the option to try on a variety of the brand’s iconic looks in under a minute, without physically having to wear the makeup.

Many apparel brands are also tinkering with AR mirrors. Timberland, for example, has installed a virtual fitting room created with Kinect technology into one of their main window displays- a powerful move to attract more shoppers.

Street-level AR

Street-level advertising has long been a popular platform for brands to showcase their products. Now, some companies are using AR to create interactive displays.

Pepsi is an example of a brand pioneering in this field. Last year the company launched the “Unbelievable Bus Shelter” campaign in London.

The interactive display on the bus shelter featured alien abductions, meteor strikes, and tiger attacks, capturing the attention of shocked passers-by.

The campaign is a brilliant example of how brands can use AR in a creative way to add an experiential component to their marketing program.

Bringing in-store experiences to consumers’ homes

Brands are also using AR to bring the in-store experience to life in a virtual sense, allowing consumers to experience your products and services in their homes before making a purchase.

This is especially proving useful in the furniture industry. Ikea has created an AR app called “Ikea Place”  which aims to make furniture shopping that little bit less painful.

The app allows a shopper to browse through the Swedish furniture giant’s large offering and then see how the items would like in your actual living space.

Now you don’t have to go lug a large sofa home in order to discover it doesn’t match your magnolia curtains.

If only AR could help you actually put the furniture together.