Augmented Reality (AR) marketing is an emerging trend in marketing and sales strategies that allows brands to provide unique user experiences for customers using mobile devices. This means that potential customers can test products on their devices before purchase.

But what does this really mean? And how are companies utilising this technology differently?

An example of this is IKEA’s new AR app ‘IKEA Studio

The app allows you to virtually ‘place’ furnishings, in 3D and to scale, in your home so you can decide whether it is the right size, design and functionality for the space.

Another example of AR marketing is the AMC Theatre app:

The new AR addition to the AMC app allows users to scan posters of upcoming posters in a theatre, and receive relevant information, including a cast list and trailer. If the consumer is interested in the movie after reading the information, they can continue to purchase the tickets.

Does this marketing strategy actually make a difference to consumer engagement?

Research has shown that AR marketing can be an effective and engaging tool that increases spending and browsing habit. But only when it provides a high-quality experience.

One study explored the impact of AR on customer creativity and engagement. Participants in the study were asked to redesign a room either with website photos or an AR-based experience. The results showed that AR expanded customers’ engagement with purchasing decisions and increased self-perceptions of creativity.

Another experiment also investigated customer attitudes towards the technology, as well as value placed on the experience. The findings showed that the AR-experience directly impacted customer attitudes, increasing positivity towards technology and increased their perceived value of the experience.

Will this exclude those who are not digital natives?

For those familiar with some of Trajectory’s previous work, you will know that there is demographic of people who are more digitally excluded than others, mainly made up of those aged 65+. There is concern that the implementation of more complex technologies, such as AR, could deter those less inclined to engage with newer forms of online consumer engagement.

What are the implications of AR marketing?

AR marketing can have dramatic effects on customer engagement, behaviours and sales.

A key implication of AR marketing is the potential to increase sales and customer engagement. Research has shown that those who engaged with AR marketing spend 21% more time on the app compared to those not using AR. The study also found that those browsing products with AR were 20% more likely to make a purchase during that session.

Another common implication of AR marketing is giving brands the ability to create unique experiences that are tailored to each customer. This experience is also enhanced because customers can experience this from their mobile phone. Increasing customer engagement and accessibility.

However, there are some things to consider before implementing AR into a marketing strategy. The most important being: will this benefit or improve current customer experiences? If the technology and marketing strategy does not work for the service or items you are providing, the implementation of AR could deter consumers rather than engage them.

Other considerations include the cost of implementation, which can vary depending on the technology and the industry the organisation operates in, time of development, which can take between four to six months on average, as well as the decision to either build the app in-house or using a third party app builder.

To ensure an organisation is utilising the most benefits from AR style marketing, they must have the talent to produce and implement the app, a large quantity of current user input information to ensure the quality of the app, as well as the time and resources to maintain the quality of the experience.

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