Augmented reality (AR) has come a long way since the virtual yellow line markers were displayed in televised NFL games back in 1998. Today, in part to the pandemic, AR has rocketed in popularity and boosts customer engagement and sales.
Enter web-based AR, the latest kid on the AR block. Unlike app-based AR, which requires users to download and store the app on their phones, web-based is app-less and can be accessed via a hyperlink or QR code. This advantage encourages even more engagement and will likely be the AR poster child in the ’20s.
Retail Dive’s latest statistics went back to 2017 and revealed that shoppers looked up information on their smartphones while shopping even then. The number was 60% then and is likely higher today. Scanning a QR code with the phone open shouldn’t be an inconvenience, especially if it provides needed and important information.
Why is this important? If the store was out of a particular color of apparel a shopper was interested in, he/she could scan the QR code and see a holographic fashion model wearing it and learn that that color and size could be shipped to the customer the next day or two. If the customer did the same from home, it would perform the same way. And soon, customers will be able to see a 3D avatar of themselves wearing the brand in the color of their choice.
The ability to visualize a potential purchase where it will be used or seen is also important. Because most art buyers are understandably hesitant to buy for those reasons, Saatchi Art recognized this and was an early web AR adapter. Prospective purchasers can now view any of Saatchi’s more than 1 million works of art and see how it would look in their own homes.
Saks Fifth Avenue even has an AR fashion configurator in which customers can customize a virtual mannequin with apparel of their choice before deciding to purchase. Not only does this permit customers to shop and try things virtually, but it’s also an assurance of safety for those concerned about social distancing.
In addition to its convenience, web AI brings with it the ability of marketers to beta test.
This is tremendous!
This means getting real-time customer feedback before investing in and launching a full-scale campaign on a product. And because it’s web-based, marketers can also harvest real-time data and ROI.
And because marketers can choose the channels they wish to use, scale and reach are enhanced. Most importantly, marketers can also assimilate AR into their CRM.
This gives them the advantage of tailoring and publicizing other similarly potential deals to a better-defined clientele.
Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio teamed with AR firm Rock Paper Reality earlier this year to produce holographic modeling and fashion platform, which is expected to be made available to online retailers next year.
The platform will enable viewers to see an array of holographic models wearing clothing they’re interested in at a human scale in real-world settings.
The New Yorker introduced AR to its online audience in November 2019, and it’s been well-received and successful. However, a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group revealed that while 9 out of 10 use or are planning to use AR, only 1 in 10 admitted that it’s thoughtfully assimilated into their marketing strategy.
The future of augmented reality looks promising, and marketers need well-thought out strategies to utilize it to get the best advantages.
Now’s the time for that web AR New Year’s resolution!