Guest column: Five ways to leverage AR for retail


Augmented reality (AR) can transform retailers’ marketing efforts in a variety of ways.

Bring the brand to life – By using AR, retailers can “overlay” their experience directly into the real world of the consumer, delivering a new level of interaction and opportunity. When consumers see their favorite brands and characters right in their own, familiar environments, it provides a deep connection, which can lead to increased brand engagement.

For example, prior to the release of the Star Wars sequel The Last Jedi, fans were able to go to major landmarks around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge and Niagara Falls and view a life-sized Star Destroyer hovering above them in AR.

A new level of social media engagement – Brands are always seeking way to increase their social media engagement with their followers and fans. AR presents a powerful tool to deliver unique experience, visuals and videos. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are already using AR to provide new tools for their users. The more content a retail brand can provide to its fans, the more buzz it can potentially secure on social media.

Using location-based experiences for marketing – From retail stores and restaurants to hotels and concert venues, many businesses still rely on foot traffic to be successful. By adding AR to the marketing mix, they can develop compelling content to bring consumers to their location.

These location-based experiences can utilize the existing location’s footprint and add a new layer of interactivity, content and personalization. By providing unique experiences, such as AR photos with the brands images or compelling games that use the location as the “playing field,” brands can bring in traffic while separating themselves from the competition.

Keeping a brand fresh – Brands can create an app, website or Facebook page, but the challenge is developing fresh content to bring consumers back. AR can deliver something new and exciting to consumers, that encourages them to create and share content related to your brand. Retailers can continually update the experience, so that consumers have access to what is next and new. For example the Spider-Man: Far From Home App was originally launched for Spider-Man: Homecoming and was modified and updated to reflect the new film, taking advantage of the built in audience of the first movie and offering brand new features to entice users.

Converting sales – Consumers can use AR to evaluate life-sized products, in full 3D in their intended environment. For example, customers can see if a new couch would fit in their living room, or if a new eye shadow color works with their intended look. This capability is unique to AR and will soon be expected for many types of products. Not only does AR improve the conversion rate of mobile or online sales, but it also reduces the return rate of products. Which is critical for all businesses, and especially for larger-ticket items like furniture. People will soon wonder how we even made such buying decisions from small 2D photos.

We have been using AR in marketing for the last 10 years, but it still feels like early days because the technology is constantly improving and user adoption and excitement grows every day. Brands are already doing amazing things and the future is bright.

Jason Yim is CEO of Trigger