Thinking back to a time before the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, there was much talk of the increasing importance of e-commerce. Its fame began to grow in the late 90s, as first-mover companies rushed to meet a growing tech-savvy Millennial population online. With global retail sales in e-commerce expected to reach $ 4.9 trillion by 2021 the pandemic is the flammable oil thrown into the growing e-commerce bonfire.

The perennial question for marketers, CMO & # 39; s and CEO & # 39; s revolves around how to convert interested potential buyers into & # 39; paying customers & # 39 ;. As CEO of a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality company, I have seen firsthand how COVID-19 has enabled Augmented Reality (AR) to make its big break in retail. In an environment where retailers have to involve customers from afar. I envision the implications of using AR as a means of decision-making architecture or the construction of an environment that encourages certain actions of the public to influence consumer decision-making.

What is Augmented Reality? ]

The term Augmented Reality itself arouses suspicion in many people who see it as an abstract, futuristic concept. However, as is expected to grow to more than $ 18 billion by 2023, now is the time for business leaders and consumers alike to understand AR.

In simplest terms, AR is the real-time integration of digital information in the physical environment. The popular Snapchat filters are a well-known example of using AR to overlay digital images over a person's face or settings. Another place people have likely encountered AR is through the hit game Pokémon GO. Launched in 2016, the game involved using a smartphone to find Pokémon creatures digitally hidden in the real world. While these applications may only seem entertaining at first glance, the applications of AR are constantly evolving. The potential business uses of AR are profound: by merging digital elements with a physical world, retailers (and all other companies) can induce people to perform certain behaviors.

A recent study from Oxford University and AR company QReal found that AR can increase restaurant sales. When comparing a traditional menu to an AR menu, a menu that shows lifelike 3D models of delicious dishes, more customers would order food if they saw it first in AR. According to the study results, "participants were significantly more likely to order dessert when they viewed the options in the AR menu (41.2%) than in the control menu (18%)." Humans have evolved to depend on their senses. Rather than reading about a product and leaving it to vague interpretations, AR allows the audience to fully visualize a product. If they like what they see, they are more likely to buy.

Decision Architecture

As CEO, I know it's important to know what moves markets by understanding what potential and potential customers are looking for and how to tailor your business to their interests accordingly.

When you view AR as a tool to virtually structure how people interact with your products and services, the Oxford University research findings are enormous! Pre-COVID, physical in-store or in-restaurant experiences (like those from Tiffany and Co. and Lush) were real business differentiators because of the bond they would create with customers. In our increasingly isolated and increasingly pixelated world, this customer experience has always been online. If companies want to stay relevant they have to be where the customers are and nowadays they are online.

AR provides an invaluable way to guide people to interact with your product and increase the likelihood of subsequent purchases. AR for marketing and advertising is no longer a sole functional concern at the corporate level – it directly impacts sales and positive consumer sentiment, both of which are (or should be) important to CEOs in any industry.

Value of AR

Coincidentally, Augmented and Virtual Reality are the core of my company, The Glimpse Group . We improve products and services in various industries through our 8 subsidiaries, one of which is specifically focused on personifying marketing tactics to strengthen brand identities. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the value that AR brings to their brands in the long run through its ability to drive awareness, drive engagement and stand out in the eyes of consumers:

  • Brand Awareness: Ben and Jerry launched a new ice cream flavor through a fun and interactive AR filter on Facebook. Letting people catch marshmallows in their mouths allowed the company to bring in their audience and seamlessly promote their new product.
  • Wow Factor: Print media isn't that dead, especially if AR has something to do with it! AdWeek partnered with Glimpse in 2018 to debut M & M's Super Bowl LII spot by expanding their Super Bowl coverage for the first time. By pointing a smart device at the cover, an animation and video appear on the screen, making the already striking Super Bowl event that much fresher.

Why CEOs Should Pay Attention to AR

Often CEOs resist adapting current strategies to better suit a fluctuating external environment because of an attachment to a previous way of doing things. The issue of this management vision lies in her perception of the company as the sole engine of her destiny. In reality, the company is one of many in a sea of ​​rolling currents determining the direction it will face. The latest stream: coronavirus. The current direction: the emphasis on e-commerce and online advertising.

It is crucial for CEOs to recognize the importance of Augmented Reality by responding to an emerging need to interact with consumers in a busy virtual space. Regardless of whether this pandemic is a short-term event or no longer exists, the ability to move beyond video and 2D modes of customer interaction will be the newest measure of business success.

If you want to know more about yourself. want to meet you in AR, send me a message!

Written by Lyron Bentovim .