Sep 6, 2018

Imagine a world with no buyer’s remorse. A world with no doubt; a world where the voice in the back of your head telling you that the shirt on sale will never in a million years look good on you, despite its fairly decent appearance on the online model. But then again, they are a model. You know what? Who cares? That was then, this is now. Now we’re dealing with a different world, one with augmented reality. - Excerpt from The Augmented Reality of Marketing.

How Augmented Reality Works

Augmented reality (AR) is the present and the future. It’s the intermingling of the real and the imaginary in which the world around you is transformed into something only you, the viewer, can see.

By overlaying a digital, computer-generated layer on real-world environments, AR can superimpose people and objects in an illusion that makes it appear as if they’re actually there.

Think of Pokémon Go. Are you actually running into wild pidgeys and rattatas as you walk through a park? Are you actually teaming up with other players to battle a legendary pokémon in a Starbucks? No, no you are not.

Now think of Snapchat. Did you actually grow dog ears or a pig’s snout? Did you actually grow a full beard in less than a second? No, no you did not.
Thanks to AR, all of this is now possible.

Augmented Reality Technology in eCommerce

What makes eCommerce so useful and convenient is also what comprises one of its drawbacks: everything is done online. From browsing to the decision to purchase, every step of the buyer’s journey is accomplished through a virtual window.

While this is a major benefit for most, it also means you have less product information to base your decision to buy or not than visiting a physical store. For example, you may know that a couch is a certain color and size, but will it actually fit properly with your other decor?

With AR, part of that problem is eliminated as you superimpose that couch in your living room and see how everything fits. Case in point, IKEA Place, an AR app from IKEA that that makes homes furnishing more fun and less frustrating.

Along similar lines, you may think that a pair of glasses would look perfect on you—after all, they look pretty good on the model—but can you truly know whether or not that’s true without actually trying them on? No, you cannot, which is why Glasses by Warby Parker, an AR app that uses the iPhone X’s face mapping to recommend glasses, will be of great help.

Augmented Reality Technology in Physical Commerce

Just like online commerce, physical commerce can also benefit from the introduction of augmented reality. After all, 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer AR over ones that don’t.

Yes, unlike eCommerce that doesn’t allow you to ‘try’ things before you buy, physical commerce does indeed allow that, but that doesn’t mean that a marrying of the virtual and real won’t be advantageous.

For example, there are always situations in which you really want to try on an outfit, but for some reason, the only colors available are those that paint you in an unflattering light. In such a situation, augmented reality devices like the Magic Mirror that UNIQLO debuted in 2012, which allowed consumers to try on the full range of colors for a variety of Fall and Winter jackets, would be most helpful.

Final Thoughts

Like we covered in the beginning, augmented reality is the present and the future. It’s here now, it’s only going to improve then, and what the journey from present to future will look like is a mystery many would love to unravel.

Will we be able to try on complete outfits without undressing or removing a stitch of clothing? Perhaps. Will we combine AR and advertising in a way that allows adverts to come to life before our very own eyes, just like 19 Crimes wine bottles do today? Maybe.

Only time will tell.


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