As emerging technology takes time to prove its worth beyond the trend that it started with; marketers have to experiment with how they can leverage it beyond the ‘wow’ factor to influence consumer’s purchasing behaviour. Technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots and also Virtual Reality (VR) are taking over and the audiences are more than happy to take it all in, just in one go!
In 2013, the total revenue generation from AR was around $300 million.
Analysts predict a rapid growth for the entire augmented reality apps and services market, which is projected to go from $ 2.4 billion in 2016 to $61 billion by 2023.
AR revenue is expected to be more than $600 billion in the next two years.
One-way engagement mechanisms such as SMS, email, print, and TV advertising still have the marketers waiting around wondering, “Did they receive it?” While, technologies like augmented reality is emerging as something that delivers rich, highly interactive and a two-way experience that not only engage customers visually but also extend products and services to fingertip access for the customers, both inside and outside the store.
So what is Augmented Reality?
We all remember the ‘Pokémon Go’ craze of 2016, a killer app that got not just the kids, but also adults, out on the streets leaving their computer screens! Venturing into fresh air, young and old, alike, responded to Nintendo’s call to action that invited everyone to ‘Catch Pokémon in the real world’. Strange as it may seem, it was met with immense enthusiasm and excitement from the masses. Marketers can take notes from this for their marketing strategies. The real-time interactive blend of virtual and physical information results in a compelling customer experience which they’ve been craving for since a long time now. Augmented Reality has suddenly become a business reality!
What can loyalty marketers learn from this?
Augmented reality is slowly but steadily becoming an important component for the brands in creating a more memorable and personalized experiences for the customers. In a nutshell, augmented reality can be an effective approach for marketing as it allows the consumers to interact with any given product in a unique and a personal way. And as the researchers have suggested with their stats earlier, there is a huge potential for augmented reality’s success in terms of brand revenue generation.
Points to consider while using technologies like AR/VR/AI to drive sales and increase customer retention:
Flexibility: There ought to be an AR solution that is flexible enough to meet multiple demographics. As accepting and excited the millennials might feel about using and engaging with an AR app, older generation might feel intimidated by the same and feel less comfortable using the same.
Data Analytics: AR solutions need to capture and collect deep analytics and data that can help the marketers set up their next campaign or spur more new ideas for more efficient and targeted engagement. Retailers have been noticing that AR has turn out to be a strong mechanism that has been driving consumers to initiate an impulse purchase, which is also in turn acting as a bit of defence against all the price-driven shopping at Amazon!
72% of AR users said they purchased stuff, they weren’t planning on buying, because of AR technology, that gives them a chance to ‘Try on, or change colours or size etc..’ making them spend more time at the site or in the shop, and interacting more with the products available at hand.
Personalization: Creating a personalized AR experience for the user, and the key to which is coupling AR with predictive analytics. These when paired together with AI (Artificial Intelligence) brands can get better user engagement with personalized user experience, diving them to more usage and impulse purchases.
Recent examples of brands using AR apps for loyalty programs
Walgreen is an American company which is also the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States. Walgreens recently experimented with AR technology using the Google’s indoor mapping system, calling it Project Tango; wherein with the help of Walgreens app, the customers were navigated through the store with relevant promotion popping up along the way which included offers tied with reward points.
This New York based retailer launched a pilot program last year using Augmented Reality wherein, customers can use their smartphones to scan shopping bags and spin a virtual wheel of offers. This push toward an immersive in-store experience was a part of Century 21’s goal to help in increase of loyalty program sign ups by up to 34% last year.
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. is an American grocery manufacturing and processing company. They launched an augmented reality campaign encouraging Walmart shoppers to scan the campaign logos and signage (that link to digital assets connected to larger campaigns and sweepstakes) using their mobile devices.
Another example was, ‘Paisley Points’ which offered the customers points that were redeemable for autographed Brad Paisley merchandise once they upload images of Walmart receipts with proof of a Kraft purchase.
Augmented reality is on the verge of becoming the future of marketing and has the potential for becoming an increasing component to the loyalty marketing mix as brands aim to create more memorable, personalized experiences. It won’t be a surprise to see augmented reality tied into more loyalty strategies sooner, if marketers can engage consumers, draw them into physical locations, encourage frequency, and build brand advocacy.
Our take on it
As augmented reality has answered questions like, ‘what are we looking to accomplish?’ and ‘what customer behaviour are we trying to drive?’, ‘what technologies should we use?’, the ball still remains in the marketer’s court. Whether or not to incorporate the emerging technologies into a business is something that the marketers will need to analyse. Tools like Open Loyalty, which is loyalty software for developing dedicated loyalty applications, prepared for large-scale projects, proven by partners can be used to set up a loyalty program that suits best for your brand. While the end word from the market still remains the same, ‘Instead of the technology driving you, use the technology to drive your business.’ Need more information about how AR can change your loyalty program? Reach out to us at email@example.com.