Why Many Marketers Believe that Augmented Reality is Doomed for Failure
The following post is from Mohit Juneja MBA’18, founder of IndulgeYoSelf.com™. IndulgeYoSelf.comTM is augmented reality for virtual try-on. Specifically, “Warby Parker for Jewelry.”
Augmented Reality (AR) is the virtual overlay of contextual, digital information on a physical-world. Currently business value-add in the consumer space has been low given the primary use case of marketing. Marketers have challenges when it comes to measuring conversion in the absence of coupons, accounts or in-depth in-app analytics. In current form, AR is doomed because it suffers from a mixed market reputation. AR requires a large investment and has limited analytics built in it. Also, AR has been around for a while, but there remains friction in using mobile-based AR in the customer journey, slowing adoption.
AR provides rich options to B2C marketers to offer uniquely valuable, authentic and personal experiences that make customers’ lives easier and more joyful. AR brings rich and emotional brand and product experiences in customer journey. For example, Lowe’s has 19 stores with “Holorooms” that implement virtual experiences to show customers what a new bathroom could look like prior to investing in plumbing fixtures and tiling. However, for the network effects to play a big role, the AR content needs to be delivered on devices those customer seek out online content. According to a study in 2017 on 58,000 US online adults, 94% own a laptop or PC and 87% use it daily. 89% own mobile phone and 73% use it daily while 50% own a tablet and 56% use it daily. Customers clearly seek out online content through numerous devices and AR content needs to be built for those devices.
Another big challenge is strong positive correlation between complexity and cost of AR solutions. The video games such as Pokémon Go, 3D animations are fairly complex. Even more complex phenomena is motion tracking and facial tracking using AR. Integrating AR and analytics in the back-end, the complexity of AR development increases so AR development cost goes even higher. There is an immense opportunity to reduce the cost of AR by reducing the complexity of AR analytics solution.
Today, the lack of standards and infrastructure to affordably produce VR and AR content at scale and at an affordable price point remains a major roadblock to the deployment of these technologies in marketing. However, cosmetic companies use AR to recommend products to customers that are based on what shades of makeup match their complexions. Similar use case open potential for marketers to offer highly immersive and intimate experience on top of new storytelling capabilities. This author believes AR will soon emerge as a winner because technologies such as Indulge.Yo.Self are combining AR with analytics at a low cost and on preferred devices to enable marketers to engage consumers in more places and more frequently.