Blog | 30 April, 2018

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Augmented Reality is Here to Stay – Key Considerations for Marketers

As a leader in activating consumers through intelligent media delivery, our team at Valassis shares key considerations for marketers and retailers as they look to leverage augmented reality (AR) technology in their campaigns. RetailMeNot reports that nearly all (99 percent) of retailers wish to improve the shopping experience to better engage and convert customers – and AR could be a valuable asset to do so.

The past year served as a major turning point for mainstream AR adoption, with Apple launching ARKit and Google following suit. With worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) expected to reach $17.8 billion in 2018, more innovation and opportunity are anticipated in this space.

Brands should keep the following in mind when considering the deployment of AR technologies and strategies:

  • The consumer research and planning phase is crucial: Our research at Valassis shows that over 90 percent of consumers create a list before visiting a store, gathering information through online reviews and word-of-mouth. AR takes this research phase one step further, allowing individuals to truly visualise an item before making a purchase decision, providing an innovative “try before you buy” shopping model. For example, from the convenience of their phone, a consumer can see an image of a furniture item in their home, helping determine whether it fits in their respective space so they can make an informed buying decision.
  • AR doesn’t stand on its own: While AR is a new touchpoint for consumers, it should be incorporated into a broader, integrated marketing strategy. AR should be used in combination with other engagement strategies – including social media, email and direct mail.
  • Print and digital are an AR match made in heaven: To date, much of the AR focus has been placed on digital, although print still plays a critical role in connecting brands and consumers – and AR technology further elevates that experience. More and more marketers are placing codes and images on print materials, which readers can scan with their mobile devices to view a 3D image or relevant details such as price, colour/texture options, purchase locations and more.

It’s important for brands to strike a balance between new innovations such as AR and tried-and-true tactics. This will ensure they’re effectively meeting their target audience when and where it matters most.