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Bridging the gap: How augmented reality can solve digital buying problems

Augmented reality is a growing field that's transforming our interactions with the world around us, and one of the most powerful ways it's doing so is by enhancing the shopping process. By increasing our access to products at a time when more customers are shopping online than ever before, augmented reality can help consumers make informed decisions.
The experience gap

One of the biggest challenges with shopping online is the overall lack of product and brand experience available. In the past, when you wanted to buy a car, you went to the dealership and looked around – but you might have to make some leaps about added features or colors that weren’t available onsite. So you talked to the dealer, looked at the same features on a different model, or chose to drive to another dealership.

Now, however, some companies are using AR to bridge this experience gap. Using your phone, you can apply color or features options to the car in front of you, transforming it before your eyes. By activating the feature, buyers are able to experience vehicle shopping in a whole new way.

Pushing past research

In response to the popularity of online shopping, modern consumers have gotten great at two things: extensive research and simple uncertainty. This is what online shopping has brought us, and while it’s expanded the variety of products the average person can access, it can mean compromising on quality and trusting online reviews with big expenses.

Mattresses, for example, are an expensive investment, and the wrong choice can negatively impact your health. When buying them online, shoppers can read about the materials, check reviews, and consult friends – but we can’t test them ourselves. Many brands have responded with a kind of “one size fits all” mattress, but this is often insufficient. For many, the end result is putting a cheap topper on a pricy mattress.

Augmented reality promises to transform this problem by allowing buyers to learn more and digitally experience products before buying them. Such engagement may allow buyers to compare motion transfer properties, foam density, and other important features, and is likely to give early adopters an edge in the marketplace.

The advertising edge

Finally, while customers are embracing augmented reality to help them make informed decisions about purchases, companies are realising that these benefits, combined with the general genius of the technology that still seems like science fiction, are very attractive.

Additionally, because it’s new and engaging, augmented reality marketing can often be very simple compared to other ad campaigns. Domino’s Pizza, for example, has seen success with a program that allows customers to see deals by aiming their phones at nearby billboards.

For products that are feeling the crunch of passing years – have you thought about baseball cards lately? Augmented reality can be just the thing to help make them relevant again. This is what TOPPS has done with their 3D live trading cards. Why look at pictures of your favorite players on a flat card when you can hold them in the palm of your hand? And Pokemon Go, probably the most famous augmented reality program of the moment, has made decades of dreams come true by making Pokemon hunting a real world activity.

Augmented reality has its benefits for consumers and companies alike. In an era of online shopping uncertainty, customers can use another ally in their corner.

4 Aug 2016 09:55

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About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as Tech.co, Semrush.com, Tweakyourbiz.com, Socialnomics.net. Boris is the founder of MonetaryLibrary.com and cryptoext.com.




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