Op-Ed: AR Gives Consumers A Sense Of Ownership

Op-Ed: AR Gives Consumers A Sense Of Ownership
Automotive

Richard Cumming, co-founder of immersive content studio Two Goats, examines how brands like BMW are using augmented reality to help shoppers visualize and customize a product in their own environment

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 24 april 2018

AR certainly gives retailers new opportunities by helping consumers remember a brand and gain faith in the purchase. Viewing a product in AR on their own device ‘tricks’ consumers into a sense of authority over the product, in comparison to just viewing on a web page. This is due to augmented reality’s more tactile properties—the technology that can virtually project images or information onto the real environment with just a smartphone camera.

For example, would-be car owners can download the BMW app to their smartphones and hold the device in the desired environment to explore their dream car. Consumers are able to view the car and build in their desired aesthetics, color, wheel trim and interiors.

“Our vehicles are emotional products and to get that emotional feeling, you really need to experience them,” Andrea Castronovo, BMW Group’s VP of sales strategy and future retail, commented when the feature first launched last year. By creating this experience, BMW is trying to increase customers’ satisfaction levels through content-filled and emotionally driven interactions, without a trip to the dealership.

360 VR video content became the new marketing tool that enabled brands to take their customers on test drives without leaving the inner-city showroom or trade show floor—an instant hit that yielded an uplift in sales by 190% and a 40:1 ROI. But these experiences required hardware such as Gear VR headsets and integrated motorized chairs. What excites me about AR is its ability to give scale and reach to the experiences. This year, there will be over 1.6 billion devices that are enabled with full AR capabilities. Furthermore, online sales via mobile devices are increasing year over year.

Engaging interactive 3D experiences specifically for these devices go way beyond flat images and offer brands incredible opportunities and huge financial potential. Through plane detection, we are able to give consumers the opportunity to augment their dream car directly onto their own driveway, walk up to and around, open doors, view interiors, change colors and access information on features and benefits. If they then desire, customers can then place their phone into a headset and take the car that they’ve just customized on a VR test drive.

Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber said, “Augmented Reality and 3D rendering are fundamental for driving and changing the shopping experience.” What this means for retailers is that this fringe technology known as augmented reality has suddenly become mainstream, and it is revolutionizing how brands showcase their products. From IKEA’s ‘Place’ app to Amazon’s AR View, marketers now have a completely new way to showcase products and enhance the customer experience.

Over 52% of consumers perceive brands that use new and emerging technologies to market their products as leaders and more trustworthy than those that don’t. Two Goats has been creating branded AR experiences for years but now, with an estimated 120 million regular U.S. users of AR by 2020, 3D/AR and soon volumetric 360 video and animated 3D are certainly the next big thing, and marketers are adopting it fast.

Being able to view the product in AR in their own environment and select bespoke properties for it gives the consumer authority. Taking the BMW example, the AR app provides aspirational feelings even for those who can’t afford the car, thus acting as a marketing tool for the brand. It’s win-win for brands, meaning that we’re only going to see more of these to come.

Richard Cumming is co-founder and Head of Innovation of Two Goats, a marketing and production agency for lifestyle brands and entertainment. Two Goats’ award-winning team has delivered integrated marketing campaigns and consumer-centric experiences, producing over 300 shows and live events and more than 50 AR/VR/Mixed Reality experiences for clients around the world, including Lamborghini, BBC, FIFA, Nike, Adidas, AEG Entertainment, MasterCard, New Balance, Toyota, Olympics, RFL, Viacom, A&E and NBCUniversal.

Richard will be leading a roundtable discussion at PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference on May 18 in New York City—details and tickets available here.


Lead Image: BMW Group

AR certainly gives retailers new opportunities by helping consumers remember a brand and gain faith in the purchase. Viewing a product in AR on their own device ‘tricks’ consumers into a sense of authority over the product, in comparison to just viewing on a web page. This is due to augmented reality’s more tactile properties—the technology that can virtually project images or information onto the real environment with just a smartphone camera.

+AR
+AR & VR
+augmented reality
+Automotive
+bmw
+Brand Introduction
+consumer goods
+Fashion
+fashion / apparel
+fitness / sport
+home
+ikea
+Innovation
+Luxury
+Marketing
+mobile
+nike
+op-ed
+psfk op-eds
+Public
+retail
+sport & fitness
+Sustainability
+technology
+toyota
+USA

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