Augmented Reality or AR is a relatively new technology, gaining momentum in the mobile world. This technology blurs the line between the real world and virtual reality with the help of computer graphics. According to Pocket-Lint.com, augmented reality “is the art of super-imposing of computer generated content over a live view of the world. It is quite literally the practice of enhancing what’s already around us”.
The new era mobile phones and advanced technologies has helped augmented reality to become a full-on marketing strategy, which marketers are now using to engage customers by providing unique and a fun-filled entertainment and retail shopping experience. In fact, augmented reality has become a compelling selling point for retailers and various entertainment brands. The reason behind its popularity is the ability of AR technology to make traditional advertising way more interactive, making it easier to feature important product and brand content. Besides, it does not need any shelf space. In fact, augmented reality helps to create an endless shelf of brand and product information while providing a memorable shopping experience to the customers. All the consumers need to do is wave their smartphone over the bill board or product packaging to shoot the marker on board or the package and get an instant access to interactive product information.
The Mobile Augmented Reality report published by Juniper Research states that by 2017, around 2.5 billion augmented reality apps will be installed per year in smartphones and tablets. The figure is 3.5 times more the number of Angry Birds was downloaded in 2011. According to this report, retail and entertainment segment will drive adoption of augmented reality apps.
Charlotte Miller, one of the research analysts at Juniper Research said, “Adding AR to a magazine and encouraging readers to download and try it is a great way of educating consumers about what AR can offer them, but we won’t see an explosion in user numbers until major retail brands embrace and adopt AR in their own apps.”
The entertainment and retail industry has just begun to see the effects of the new augmented reality trends. IBM too will be launching an augmented reality app soon for grocery stores, allowing shoppers to create their profiles of features mattering most to them. The shopper can then point the camera of their smartphone at the merchandise while browsing the aisles to see information like ingredients, reviews, price and discounts available on the product. Such augmented reality apps will help brands to better understand their loyal customers in a non-intrusive way.
Edeka Hessenring, the German grocery chain has used augmented reality technology to develop a promotional campaign in association with Ball Packaging Europe to promote their new Cool Cola drink. The can features an animated 3D character. After downloading the augmented reality mobile app, consumers can view this 3D animal character with the help of a sticker located on the packaging. The cartoon character poses for every photo when you point the camera of your phone at the zipper design. Shoppers can take picture together with this 3D character and post them on Facebook. This is a great way of incorporating social networks into augmented reality campaigns to create a viral marketing effect.