Augmented reality was once reserved for the world of sci-fi films, video games and geeks. Today it is a serious and remarkable communication tool for brands and their storytelling technique. A game like Pokémon Go, based on augmented reality, sets the flow of the next big thing in digital. It has democratised the tool and got people accustomed to this technology. Brands are seizing this opportunity to introduce this tool in order to revolutionise marketing and attract more clients. This article will look at the ways in which augmented reality is beneficial for companies and brands, on both short and long-term. It will shed light on how it contributes to the creation of customer satisfaction.

How is augmented reality used? 

Superposing information or virtual images to a real-life scene is what augmented reality is all about. It is very practical. For example, it can help you try out your furniture before you buy it. Ikea offered this possibility for its last catalogues to help customers visualising their projects and choose more easily, even without going to the store. This is possible by choosing the article desired and then pointing the phone to the location where the furniture should be.
Similarly, Burton of London surfed this new wave and did a partnership with La Poste. It consisted in a new catalogue that, scanned with the corresponding app, animated itself in front of you.
Also, this technology can be used to animate a physical location. Brands, such as Lego, use 3D technology to animate their stores: customers can see the actual finished Lego constructions without having to inspect a closed box. This is achieved thanks to a terminal of virtual reality that projects the scanned box. This technique opens wide possibilities to any small stores, with restricted spaces, to showcase all their products through a virtual animation.
Others, like Glasses Direct, use augmented reality as an ongoing process, not just as a particular campaign. It is often given as a positive example on how brands should use augmented reality to enhance customers’ experience and drive long-term brand benefits.
These are simple examples of how augmented reality is here to stay.

How to boost your image

Augmented reality is also used by brands to catch the customers’ attention and be memorable. Linking fun with an innovative experience is clearly a key to success. L’Oréal and Sephora showcase their product on a face, visible through a smartphone’s screen. La Poste sold a new collection of stamps for the Euro 2016 that animated itself through an app scan. These examples are not so common and therefore when used they provide a positive impression on their viewer and differentiate the brand from the market. Besides the magical and surprise effect provoked by augmented reality, this new technology allows new proximity to the customer that wasn’t possible with traditional marketing.

What are the long-term marketing effects of augmented reality?

According to Yuan and Wu, marketing campaigns use augmented reality as a form of new experimental marketing, because it focuses not only on a product but on an entire experience. Farhad explains that there is little understanding of the long-term effects of augmented reality due to the scarceness of measurable elements. Different researchers, starting in 2000, investigated the relationship between values and customer satisfaction. In particular, Schmitt believes that experiential marketing should deliver emotional and functional value. Even though it is agreed that value and customer satisfaction are linked, it is not recognised what elements create the customers’ perceived value. However, customer satisfaction is quintessential in the success of any business and in the increase of its profitability. (Yuan and Wu, 2008). Customer satisfaction can be related to a specific transaction or to the overall experience of a brand.   Finally, augmented reality can do both of them. However, in this article what is important to know is that this technology gives customers the opportunity to pre-own the product. This will enhance the customers’ reflection upon their pre-purchasing stages. They would be able to project an object as if they already owned it and see it that suited them even before owning it. This is an advance incentive and an essential trigger to purchase (triggering the purchase). To conclude, back in 2016, Tim Cook accentuated the important role that augmented reality is going to play. So we can say that it is still the start of this revolution, but with the infatuation of a big player like Apple, one can be sure that this technology is young and will certainly have a thing or two to tell us about how to change our ways of doing marketing…