Marketers are using the technology to add digital information in the form of pictures, sounds, web content, animations and more to a real-world environment. Augmented reality is a computer generated layer over the actual world that you can only see through a computer with a webcam, smartphone or tablet with a camera. Another example you may be familiar with is the review site Yelp.com. Yelp’s augmented reality technology works with your smartphone’s compass and location software to show you reviewed restaurants and bar information as you move down a street.
Augmented reality is an innovative marketing and sales tool that may still be cost prohibitive for small businesses but imagine the possibility of your potential customer seeing themselves wearing your product or seeing your product displayed in their home while they are deciding if they should buy it. This adds better interactivity to the sales process creating a more psychological connection for the consumer.
Car companies are one of the earlier adopters of AR. They let potential customers to take virtual test drives, or get a better look at a car without going to a showroom. BMW is always a leader in bringing new technology to their marketing, and you can experience a BMW through their AR portals.
Besides allowing a customer to feel more of a connection to a product, augmented reality has additional marketing benefits. First off, it is still relatively new so any company using this now will appear forward thinking and creative. Additionally, many of these applications are personalized such as taking a picture of yourself and having it superimposed on a ski slope to promote skiing in Colorado, ski lessons or ski boots for example. That personalization will help connect the person to your product plus they may share the new image on social media sites sending your product viral.
Marketers are only just beginning to explore the possibilities of using augmented reality. According to a recent study from ABI Research, in 2010 revenue from this technology amounted to only $21 million but is projected to generate more than $3 billion in 2017. Increase in smartphone sales and usage will help drive that number up as will innovative augmented reality marketing campaigns that allow customers to feel more engaged with a product.
HoloKit: Cardboard-like Augmented / Mixed Reality Headset For Everyone. Compatible with iPhone and Android via ARKit, ARCore, Tango.
Lastly, check out these two excellent books to get a deeper understanding of AR:
Augmented Reality: Principles and Practice (Usability)
Practical Augmented Reality: A Guide to the Technologies, Applications, and Human Factors for AR and VR