Around for many years but popularized by Pokémon GO, augmented reality (AR) technology has been embraced by pioneering brands around the world. AR combines real life with virtual objects for an interactive experience and its practical uses extend far beyond video games. Gartner believes that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
According to a report from DigitalBridge, there is an increasing “imagination gap” impacting purchasing decisions in the UK. The research found that a third of consumers delayed or decided against buying items when they couldn’t visualize how they would look like in real life. The majority of consumers revealed they would use a visualization tool if it was offered, and more than 55 percent believe it would make them more likely to make a purchase.
Ikea has embraced this challenge by allowing users of its mobile app to place AR furniture inside a room. Using the physical Ikea catalog and the official app, shoppers can visualize and play around with styles before purchasing.
Visualization is especially important in the cosmetics industry, since opened products cannot be returned and bad hair cuts don’t grow back overnight. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius and Style My Hair apps let consumers experiment with new looks, styles and “try on” the latest trends risk-free.
According to a Demandware study, 72 percent of US beauty brands are testing a form of “guided selling” to push sales—like Snapchat lenses and augmented reality—and L’Oreal isn’t the only beauty brand to embrace an age of social media.
The fashion industry has been an eager adopter of new technology such as VR, AR and social media. During Fashion Week, designer Lindsay Freimond presented her latest styles with a first-of-its-kind AR fashion show. Through their mobile devices, the audience was able to view real-time digital effects alongside the models, along with information about the models and clothes.
Mars celebrated the launch of M&Ms Caramel by hosting an AR experience in Times Square. The “ARcade” featured real-life games, photo ops and interactive AR games courtesy of the Blippar app. Hungry fans can access these games by pointing the Blippar app at a bag of M&Ms Caramel.
— M&M'S® Brand (@mmschocolate) May 11, 2017
Disney has filed a patent for a projector-based AR system that would allow park visitors to interact with virtual objects without a headset. Like many patents, there’s never a guarantee that this idea will ever come to fruition, but never put anything past the Mouse House.