The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, and businesses are making preparations to capitalize on it. Involvement from consumers, spending, and the possibility of long-lasting brand impressions can all rise during the holiday season. However, in today’s competitive retail and marketing environment, it is essential to use creative approaches that engage and excite customers.
One such strategy that has gained significant traction is augmented reality (AR). With augmented reality technology, the user becomes an integral part of the narrative and an engaged consumer of branded content. Incorporating augmented reality (AR) into your holiday marketing strategy allows you to connect with customers on a deeper level, surprise and delight them, and provide them with more value.
Get People to Visit Your Store
In a time when online shopping has exploded in popularity, it can be difficult to get people to visit brick-and-mortar stores for the holidays. Augmented reality, however, offers a novel approach to overcoming this obstacle. Using augmented reality, stores can offer customers engaging, location-based, interactive experiences that keep them coming back.
According to eMarketer, brick-and-mortar holiday spending reached $1 trillion in 2022, marking a 3.9% increase from the previous year. Consumers’ desire to frequent brick-and-mortar outlets again after the pandemic is largely responsible for the uptick in foot traffic. To capitalize on this trend, retailers must employ innovative strategies that consistently draw people back into their stores.
Coca-Cola’s Halloween Collection campaign is a good example of how augmented reality can be used to attract customers. On the campus of the University of Southern California, the company replaced real vending machines with virtual ones that dispensed treats. Five augmented reality (AR) vending machines were placed around campus, and students could use a virtual map on the Coca-Cola Halloween Collection microsite to find them. Once activated, students would be transported to a creepier parallel universe where a digital replica of the vending machine stood in its place. The campaign boosted campus vending machine traffic by creating an atmosphere of urgency among students to frequent the machines.
WebAR, a web-based augmented reality technology that does not require users to download a separate app, was used in this campaign. Coca-Cola used WebAR to make their augmented reality experience accessible and user-friendly, leading to more interaction with and visits to their vending machines.
Boost Revenue and Success Rates
Customers’ satisfaction with their online shopping experiences has the potential to increase thanks to augmented reality’s inclusion in the process. Sixty-one percent of consumers surveyed for Niantic’s 2023 Consumer Sentiment of AR Report highlighted the significance of augmented reality visualization during the shopping process. Customers who were early adopters of augmented reality showed significantly higher intent to buy (15-20%) than those who weren’t.
Retailers can take advantage of AR’s potential to boost sales by allowing customers to virtually try on or “view in AR” products. Whether they’re looking at clothes, makeup, or accessories, consumers can get a better idea of how the items will look and feel on them with the help of these tools.
KHAITE, a clothing company headquartered in New York City, is one example of a company that has successfully integrated augmented reality visualization into their business strategy. Working with creative agency ROSE, KHAITE provided customers and industry buyers with a deep visual experience of their Spring-Summer and Pre-Fall 2021 collections using WebAR. Users were able to examine the finer points of KHAITE’s apparel and footwear in an interactive environment. The use of photogrammetry allowed the designs to be realized as 3D models with realistic textures and materials. Users could set the scenes, resize and rotate the models, and look at everything from every angle. With an average dwell time of over 4 minutes, this augmented reality experience led to a significant increase in sales for the highlighted collection.
By empowering shoppers to explore and visualize how products seamlessly integrate into their daily lives, augmented reality reduces the likelihood of returns, fosters enduring brand loyalty, and accelerates purchase decisions.
Make Shopping Fun Again With Gamification
The benefits of augmented reality in retail extend beyond improving the online shopping experience. Scavenger hunts and other interactive challenges powered by augmented reality (AR) can be used in-store to attract customers, keep them entertained, and ultimately increase sales.
For example, Westfield Mall in Australia and New Zealand released a massive augmented reality holiday scavenger hunt at all 42 of their locations. Visitors to the Westfield Santa Squad installations could scan QR codes for access to exclusive WebAR mini-games and a life-size portal to Santa’s village. Users could travel to the North Pole by playing these minigames like “Blizzard Squad” and “Frosting Squad,” which featured interactive augmented reality portals and challenges. By incorporating elements of gaming into the shopping experience, Westfield Mall was able to increase customer satisfaction, the likelihood of repeat purchases, and brand loyalty.
See first source: Adweek
Why is Augmented Reality (AR) gaining traction in holiday marketing strategies?
AR engages customers in an interactive narrative, enhancing brand connection and providing added value, which can be particularly impactful during the lively holiday shopping season.
How can AR help in driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores?
AR offers engaging, location-based interactive experiences in stores, enticing customers to visit and enjoy a novel shopping experience, especially when online shopping has become predominant.
What was the impact of AR on brick-and-mortar spending during the holidays according to eMarketer?
In 2022, brick-and-mortar holiday spending hit $1 trillion, a 3.9% rise from the prior year, attributed to consumers returning to physical stores post-pandemic, with AR being a potential driver to sustain this trend.
Can you provide an example of a successful AR campaign that drove in-store traffic?
Coca-Cola’s Halloween Collection campaign utilized AR vending machines at the University of Southern California, creating an interactive hunt that boosted vending machine traffic on campus.
How does WebAR contribute to the AR experience?
WebAR, utilized in Coca-Cola’s campaign, is a web-based AR technology that doesn’t require a separate app download, making AR experiences more accessible and user-friendly.
How does AR influence online shopping satisfaction?
61% of consumers in a Niantic survey underscored AR visualization’s importance in shopping, with early adopters showing 15-20% higher purchase intent, enriching the online shopping experience.
What benefits can retailers expect from integrating AR in their sales strategy?
AR allows virtual product trials, enhancing visualization, reducing return likelihood, fostering brand loyalty, and expediting purchase decisions, which can boost sales.
How did KHAITE utilize AR to enhance their business strategy?
KHAITE collaborated with creative agency ROSE to provide an interactive WebAR experience of their collections, enabling detailed product exploration and significantly increasing sales for the featured collection.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Barbara Zandoval; Unsplash – Thank you!