The modern age has seen the rise of various strategies to maintain customer retention, whether through their services, or even marketing campaigns to create organic reach. From social media trend jacking to sophisticated software such as digital experience platforms (DXPs) or customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, every institution, every brand tries its best to retain relevancy if you will.
But there is one special platform that takes customer experience and retention to the next level: perhaps one could say one step closer to the customer if you will.
Augmented reality, the interactive technological experience that makes consumer base reaction with respective brands more meaningful and realistic even to make them feel connected, intertwined like a large network.
What is augmented reality?
Generally, augmented reality is defined as an interactive experience that combines elements of the real world with digital elements embedded in the augmented reality (AR) to create an environment that is interactable with both movements digitally and physically.
One of the most profound successes brought by AR experience is the popular game Pokemon Go, developed by American game developer Niantic. The game’s premise truly embodies the essence of being a Pokemon trainer, as you have to walk in real life to ‘catch’ Pokemons, find the nearest ‘Pokemon Gym’ at the area to battle out, or even stumble across a legendary Pokemon for yourself.
Another popular example of AR technology is what is pioneered by the social media platform Snapchat: face filters. Through the help of AR technology, users can use filters such as the ‘floating heart’s filter’ or the well-known ‘dog filter’ to bring their wacky game on in their social media posts.
Over the years, the utilization of AR technology has been widely used by brands and organizations to bring at least a bit of tangible experience for their customer base. Whether it is a new product, a virtual product launch, or perhaps just another of those social media-based filters, AR has gone a long way from being an interactive experience to a globally-recognized industry.
Statistics from market research company IDC estimate that global spending on AR/VR in 2020 will be up to $18.8 billion, up 78.5% from 2019. From 2019-2023, the global VR/AR market will see a 77% compound annual growth rate.
With the constant growth of the AR industry, it’s no wonder that the technology itself has caught the interest of many businesses and brands who want to get their hands on this engaging technology. But before one could dip into utilizing AR into their next big campaign, one should first understand the development of AR mobile applications.
Augmented reality app development: from the ground-up
The development of augmented reality is based on a mix of traditional mobile app development and expertise in superimposing images and other 3D elements or multimedia within the platform which then responds to the real environment it is encoded with to develop a mixed experience of physical and digital elements, working hand in hand towards an interactive platform.
When developing an augmented reality experience for your business and brand, ask yourself: what are the premises of experience and reach I want to come out of this platform? While AR itself is engaging in its sense, the ulterior motive of the brand or the service and the business you’re providing must prevail.
Think of this: the interactive experience is just one of the objectives, as viewed from a marketer’s perspective. Whether you’re creating an online face filter for your brands’ online contest, a virtual launch perhaps, or even a ‘stay-at-home’ campaign to bring the service right at your fingertips, the AR experience, while uniformly carrying the same interaction, differs on the manner it is being delivered, and how it sells itself organically to the consumer base.
Regardless, most AR experiences are developed under common platforms, which include Unity3D, Unreal Engine, ARCore, among others.
Brand/tech presence and renewed campaign platform: the whys of using the AR experience
Every brand wanting to take their hands onto the augmented reality experience may have different aspirations on wanting a custom-made AR experience for their services, but there is one common factor that draws them into these platforms: innovation.
The aspect of marketing itself is all about being in with the latest trends of today and keeping in touch with the wirings of technology. Humankind has long since evolved its marketing strategies from traditional media into something more engaging, a touch of the future if you will. And for most brands, AR is like a step into the future, the next generation and medium of upcoming campaigns they have.
Of course, marketers off the top of their mindsets also think that AR is a unique platform to boost one’s brand presence, and it is truly a unique one. Psychologically, a customer could perceive that a company engaging in a next-generation platform like AR to be a business signal that things are going for the better, which is actually the company’s motive in advertising itself to others. Our progress throughout the course of humanity has been defined as jumping into a more developed concept we can work into, and augmented reality is changing that.
Coming under the umbrella of advertising, AR then gives brands an opportunity to potentially grow their sales organically since AR itself demands a more engaging and organic approach for it to take effect. And with better sales comes better customer engagement brought by greater reach AR has done to its clientele base.
Overall, AR gives brands a unique image that they can portray, an image that speaks of relevancy against the ongoing tide changes of today, a more openly accessible brand that majority of demographics can or actually relate to, and in the current state, a more ‘safer’ version to customers interact with their favorite brands while staying at the comfort of their homes and personal spaces.
So, should everyone try it?
An app developer may always get asked all the time if a particular next-generation platform like augmented reality is applicable for organic reach and customer engagement. The answer is…well the middle of the scales. It all boils down to how a marketing department decides how the campaign will utilize AR in a way that is relatable, accessible, and at the same time, manageable. After all, the general rule of the thumb of augmented reality is that it stays to its core objective: providing engagement and reach for customers and brands alike.
Humankind has evolved a long way in developing unique experiences for humans to appreciate and augmented reality is one of those digital channels. Should the opportunity and time arise, hop on to the trend.
The author is Adam Eastburn, CEO & Founder of Adaptis.
Adaptis is a global technology development company with presence in Europe and the Asia Pacific. The company offers experience design, digital development, and team solutions. Kempinski Hotels, Toyota, and Johnnie Walker are some of its global clients.