Lose touch with reality or enhance your life with possibility?
The blurring of reality and fantasy has made headway in 2019, with AR (Augmented Reality) technology thriving in social media marketing as well as digital website platforms. Now, you may ask what augmented reality even is – the term itself was coined in the 90s by Boeing researchers to explain changing the perception of reality through adding or altering elements through superimposed images with the aid of a camera. Although it was initially used by the military and for television, the rise of the internet has enabled it to naturally weave itself into online platforms.
One of the most popular and widely used AR technology in social media applications is Snapchat, which allows users to use camera masking filters which can provide them with flower crowns or even enable them to swap faces with someone else. However, fun face filters are not the only usage for AR although they undeniably helped open the consumer market to the idea of using AR in their everyday lives. This increasing popularity of AR throughout various platforms can be tied to its successful integration into helping brands as a marketing tool.
Augmented Reality as a marketing tool and how it has changed marketing
Consumers are now more tech savvy than ever and tapping into understanding their consumer needs and desires has been catalysed with advancements in technology such as AR, which aids to shape and improve their experience with products.
According to a survey conducted by Walmart, E-commerce and AR technology has helped increase sales up to 42% and that around 63% of customers believe that AR used in marketing will help to add value to their shopping experience. With numbers like these, more and more companies have come to realise that not using AR as a marketing tool will result in the loss of a crucial competitive advantage in securing business and profits.
L’Oreal and the Makeup Genius App
The main reason that AR is such an effective marketing tool is that it allows potential customers to be able to view, try or engage with a product before making the decision to purchase it. Traditional marketing strategies already seek to achieve this through fitting rooms, test drives and samples but AR has the advantage of allowing potential customers to view, try or engage products without it necessarily being there physically.
L’Oreal, being one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world is seeking to maintain its position at the top through innovating with AR to offer its consumers and potential customers a better shopping experience whether it be in its physical stores or on E-commerce platforms. Through the Makeup Genius app, it has allowed consumers and potential customers to snap pictures and apply L’Oreal products onto themselves virtually. Not only does this save a lot of money for the company through the removal of physical samples, it also boots sales through allowing consumers to visualise the makeup on their face ahead of making a purchase decision.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?
Building on the app, L’Oreal boutiques in Shanghai, Wuhan and Changsha have ‘Magic Mirrors’ which are wide screens that look like mirrors and allow customers to try on different makeup on their face by just by standing in front of it. In fact, you can even turn our head to view the makeup from different angles just as you would have if you had actually put it on physically. Furthermore, consumers can purchase their favoured product directly from the mirror as it is connected to their e-store and even have it delivered to their address. Now talk about convenience!
It has become apparent that there are boundless possibilities that can further blur the line between fantasy and reality through AR technology, and the future of AR looks bright. Companies are expected to continue to find innovative methods to use AR to improve the experience of their products and services.
In hopes of AR fundamentally changing marketing as we know it, it is truly an exciting time to be both in the industry as well as a consumer. Reality, fantasy or both? Its now your choice!