The next big thing in technology these days is augmented reality. If you are familiar with the smash hit “Pokemon Go,” then you are familiar with the way that it works. Using a special screen, whether it’s something like Google Glass or a smartphone, you can see things that aren’t really there and interact with them as you would with real-world objects.
Although this procedure is still growing in potential, one area that is set to capitalise on this idea is marketing. Imagine a future where advertisers and brands can enhance the user experience in a more interactive way than ever before. Well, we won’t have to imagine for much longer.
According to analysts, this industry is about to explode, with a projected spending of over $650 billion dollars by 2025. But why is augmented reality such a golden opportunity for advertisers? Well, let’s see what the potential may be.
Adding Value to the Customer Experience
Let’s say that there are two similar products. You want to buy one, but you’re unsure of which one to pick. Suddenly, when looking at one of them, it comes alive and starts interacting with you. It asks you what features you prefer and then shows you how to use them, all while you’re in the store. Based on that interaction, it’s easy to guess which product you’d end up with.
Because the augmented reality is all about enhancing what’s in front of you, the possibilities here are endless. We’re already seeing some real-world examples of this with companies like IKEA and Lego, which show you how to use their products in your home, as well as how to assemble them.
For furniture companies, it could allow you to virtually place a new couch in your living room to see how it matches with your decor. For toy companies, it could mean that the products come alive and play with your children. Overall, the idea of adding an extra dimension to customer interaction is huge and can serve as a tool to allow some brands to dominate the competition.
Removing Excess Stimuli
While most people are focused on how to add things to the real world with augmented reality, there is also a ton of potential in removing things as well.
Think about it like this; you’re walking down the aisles of a department store, and all of sudden a product pops out while everything else fades from view. It ensures that it has your undivided attention, and will help guide your decision-making process as a result.
This can also be hugely helpful for consumers. Imagine programming the items that you want to buy first and having them be highlighted on your trip around the store. For example, you could opt to showcase only food items that are within your dietary range. If you’re having a party for your kid, then you can select only the products that are related to his or her favorite character.
Shopping for clothes can also be an even better experience as you can try on outfits digitally and make sure that everything you find is in your size. Changing colors and designs is as simple as swiping left or right, saving you time and money.
Enhancing Entertainment Experiences
While 3D technology has seemingly come and gone (again) from the movie theater, augmented reality could step in as the new method for engaging people in interactive storytelling. By upgrading to the “immersive” package, moviegoers can see characters and items outside of the screen that will create a better overall experience.
Concerts and live shows can also benefit from this technology as you can add a whole new element to engage with the audience in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Finally, the video game industry can have a field day with this kind of material. Instead of launching Angry Birds from your smartphone screen you could potentially see them demolish structures right in front of you, putting you right in the middle of the action.
While this technology can create a lot of buzz and excitement, there are plenty of reasons to be a bit skeptical of it. First of all, creating distractions could have a lot of consequences, particularly if people use augmented reality while driving.
Secondly, with more and more brands adopting this strategy, you could be looking at an overcrowded digital universe with every company fighting each other for your attention. Over time, consumers will have to decide which brands will have access to their AR world, which can have startling implications, particularly when it comes to continuing a fair market.
The Bottom Line
No matter what, it seems like augmented reality is going to be the next big thing. Many mid-level brands are already utilising the technology in a variety of ways, and as viewing devices become more widespread and available, it will lead to a massive shift in the way people do business and interact with brands. Overall, it seems like the future is going to be augmented.