Augmented reality (AR) topped many agency lists of ‘things to look out for in 2017’ at the beginning of this year. Now we’re approaching autumn, we’re seeing that the prediction was pretty accurate. Many brands are getting to grips with AR and using it in some extremely creative campaigns. Rather than one to watch, AR is fast becoming a must in B2C marketing.
And this will only continue to flourish. Google recently announced the arrival of ARcore, a new AR development platform. The platform doesn’t require any hardware support, so apps developed using the platform will work with all Android devices running version 7.0 Nougat and above. Of course, Apple unveiled their version, ARKit in June. Once 1OS 11 is rolled out Apple say it will be "the biggest AR platform in the world." Well they would wouldn’t they, but with hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad devices, they’re probably right. There’s more information on both ARcore and ARKit here.
If you have AR on your client recommendation list, best get moving. In a tough and highly-competitive retail landscape, B2C brands need to constantly think of ways to engage customers, especially those retailers with physical stores. To help get you inspired, we’ve rounded up some particularly impressive examples of brands using AR.
Chevrolet have launched V-Showroom, an AR-based app. The app enables visitors to place a 3D replica of their Chevy Cruze model into any environment. Yes, that’s right, more than a showroom visitors can pick their car’s spec, then see it parked in the garage on their street or, slightly less relevant, on their coffee table (you can alter the size).
The car can be observed from any angle, so you’ll see what the neighbours would see and you can peek inside to see all the dashboard tech.
The app is currently available in South Korea and it’ll be available in Australia, the Middle-East and USA imminently so it’s sure to be in the UK soon.
As well as being fun, potentially persuasive (once we see the car in our garage it’s a done deal) but it also solves a huge problem for car dealerships – space. Due to the size of cars, many dealerships are forced to sell largely from brochures. This new tech presents a big step forward.
Here is a video about V-Showroom
With the help of Northampton-based, Engine Creative, Tesco have taken to AR with some gusto via their shopping-enhancing ‘Tesco discover’ app.
The Tesco discover app brings Tesco’s print brochures to life. Customers download the app, scan the pages and on their screen, they’ll access related videos, recipes, more info, competitions, games and the chance to buy at a click. It’s also integrated with social so you can share with your friends what you’re cooking for them on Saturday night or the birthday cake you just bought.
Here's a video showcasing Tesco's app
Tesco is also running extremely successfully campaign-based activity via their app. Capitalizing on in their partnership with Disney, when Tesco stocked a new range of Disney’s Frozen products in-store they used their app and AR technology to create the ultimate Frozen experience. As if kids need any encouragement to lust after Frozen goodies. They shared physical sticker books and stickers in-store, when scanned via the app, these stickers came to live offering 3D scenes from the movie within the app.
They also provided the ultimate celebrity selfie opportunity. Allowing customers to choose from a range of popular Frozen characters to have a selfie with – virtually of course. The selfies were customisable with face-tracking technology and accessories such as antlers and hats.
The next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, is in cinemas this December. No surprise, it is set to be a runaway success with the last movie grossing $1,050,988,488 at box offices worldwide. But Disney, who’ve owned the franchise since 2012, rely on merchandise rather than ticket sales. So Disney is keen to push this and given challenging times for bricks and motor, Disney’s also keen to encourage sales via physical shops selling the goods.
So to increase footfall, Disney is running an in-store AR treasure hunt, Pokémon Go style.
Here’s how it will work: Download the app, visit any of 20,000 participating stores, in-store, find a physical ‘Find the force’ logo. Scan it and a popular Star Wars character will join you (virtually of course) in store.
And to encourage repeat visits there are 15 characters to find. New characters will be unveiled each day, and different stores will have different characters. You could make a day of it.
Here's a video about Find the Force
De Beers turned to AR to market their branded diamond.
Visitors to their website are able to see what rings, earrings and pendants from their Forevermark Millemoi collection will look on themselves in 3D. They’re also able to see how they move and sparkle.
The process is slightly more complicated than an app, but the results are more refined and let’s face it a diamond is a big purchase. With a Webcam and a printer, users go to the website, print a page that has seemingly generic images (“symbols”) and cut the images as directed. On the computer screen the paper is transformed into a piece of jewelry. It’s as if the person is looking at a mirror and wearing the product.
LCST is French brand, Lacoste’s sister brand or rather cooler younger brother.
They’ve used AR to raise awareness and increase sales of trainers. Their AR app enables users to see their foot in a number of different trainers, then share their favorite on social media.
Sounds simple but there’s a number of benefits to this. Firstly, the user has to be in-store to use the app. The app’s designed to speed up the purchase process, as customers won’t need as much sales support – we’re not totally sold on this, they still need to try the real trainers on, right? And the social element will raise awareness. We all know a rather showy trainer-lover so the social-sharing element is sure to make that impulse purchase all the more persuasive.
This is a great example of how AR can provide a fun and useful customer experience, increase footfall and tie it all back to brand awareness and fulfillment.
Here's a video about LCST's app
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