Create photorealistic images of your products in any environment without expensive photo shoots! (Get started for free)
Augmented reality (AR) is rapidly transforming marketing by providing immersive experiences that bring products and services to life. While AR technology has existed for decades, recent advances have made it more accessible and cost-effective. As a result, forward-thinking brands are embracing AR marketing to captivate customers and gain a competitive edge.
According to one industry report, over 120 million consumers in the US have engaged with some form of AR marketing. This number is expected to grow to over 1 billion globally by 2022 as AR adoption accelerates. Clearly, AR has hit the mainstream and can no longer be ignored as a marketing channel.
One of the key benefits of AR marketing is its ability to enable customers to visualize products in real-world settings before purchase. For example, AR apps allow users to see how furniture would look in their home, try on make-up virtually and even visualize cars in their driveway. By bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds, AR gives customers confidence to purchase.
Beauty retailer Sephora achieved a 4X increase in clicks using AR experiences on their mobile app. These try-on features for lipstick, eyeshadow and false eyelashes made customers more likely to buy. Providing value beyond a simple product image is the future of digital commerce.
AR also provides engagement opportunities before and after purchases. For instance, Coca-Cola created an AR campaign that transformed 12-packs into virtual soccer experiences. This clever use of AR at the point of sale increased product interactivity. Domino's Pizza allow customers to play AR games while waiting for orders. Post-purchase, AR apps can provide product tutorials, maintenance assistance and more.
Augmented reality allows brands to bring static products to life through interactive and immersive experiences. Rather than relying on 2D product images, AR allows potential customers to visualize products in the real world. This helps brands differentiate themselves and forge emotional connections with consumers.
For example, when Cadillac launched its XT4 model, it used AR technology to place the vehicle right in users" driveways. People could walk around the car, change its color and truly experience it before visiting a showroom. Luxury brands like Audi have also adopted AR apps to make virtual test drives possible. By bringing the product experience to the customer, auto brands can start meaningful relationships.
Retailers like Ikea and Amazon are using AR so customers can visualize furniture in their homes. Rather than guessing if a couch will match their decor, people can make informed buying decisions. One survey found 61% of shoppers want retailers to use AR to eliminate risk from online purchases. The ability to "try before you buy" builds trust and loyalty.
Cosmetics brands such as L"Oreal and MAC enable virtual makeover apps through AR. Rather than relying on edited photos of models, shoppers can see real-time simulations of products on themselves. This brings the in-store experience home and makes buying makeup online more appealing. Beauty brands that resist AR risk losing customers to more innovative competitors.
Augmented reality brings customers closer to products, allowing for an intimate and personalized experience not possible with traditional ads or e-commerce. By going beyond static images, AR enables viewers to connect with brands on a deeper level.
For example, cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury uses AR mirrors in stores so customers can test out products on their actual faces. Shoppers can apply lipstick, eyeshadow, and more without needing testers or assistance. The intimate act of seeing makeup on one"s face builds confidence and trust. According to Tilbury, virtual try-ons increase conversion rates and counter returns - a win for both brand and consumer.
Luxury fashion label Burberry also leverages AR to provide customized experiences. Their app lets users scan catalogue images to unlock 3D models wearing runway looks. Customers can examine garments at every angle and get details on fabrics and construction. This behind-the-scenes view makes Burberry feel approachable rather than aspirational.
AR allows brands to guide customers through detailed product exploration at their own pace. For example, Caterpillar demonstrated their construction equipment capabilities through an AR experience. Users could virtually operate vehicles and engage in missions like breaking rock. By simulating the real thing, Caterpillar gave customers an inside look at what makes their machines special.
For some brands, AR provides a way to share their ethos and craftsmanship. Beverage company Seedlip uses AR to tell the story behind their non-alcoholic spirits. When scanning bottles, viewers enter an animated world explaining Seedlip's ingredients, distillation process and founder history. This helps customers form an emotional bond with the products.
Allowing customers to "try before they buy" is one of the most powerful use cases for AR marketing. While product images help, nothing builds confidence like experiencing an item firsthand. According to one survey, 61% of shoppers want retailers to use AR and VR to create interactive pre-shopping experiences. The ability to test out products makes customers more likely to purchase while reducing returns.
Beauty brands have led the way in virtual try-on technology. Companies like Sephora, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury and L'Oreal allow shoppers to test makeup with AR-powered virtual mirrors. Users simply point their smartphone camera at their face to apply lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes and more. This brings the in-store experience home. No more guessing what a lipstick color will look like or wasting money on the wrong foundation shade.
Fashion brands like Converse and Ray-Ban also enable customers to virtually try on sneakers and sunglasses using AR. Rather than multiple online purchases and returns, shoppers can get the right fit the first time. Eyewear retailer Warby Parker increased conversions by 15% with its AR app that lets shoppers see frames on their face. Using technology to replicate real-world trials improves satisfaction.
Home improvement stores like Lowe's and Wayfair are getting in on the action as well. Their apps allow customers to visualize furniture in their actual living spaces. AR paint visualizers from brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams let homeowners experiment with colors before pulling the trigger. No more paint sampler strips and do-overs.
AR gives customers confidence to commit to large purchases too. For instance, Hyundai developed an AR experience that placed life-sized 3D models of vehicles right in users" driveways and garages. People could inspect the cars from all angles and even take them for virtual test drives. According to the company, the AR campaign accelerated the Ford Explorer"s sales velocity by 190% compared to previous models.