Augmented Reality for Retail and Marketing

Retail and Marketing sectors have reached a tipping point in 2018 for innovation with new technologies. That’s where this Info graphic can help – all the key data relating to Immersive Technologies in the Retail and Marketing sectors.

 

“Brand managers need to think differently when it comes to AR”

Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO of Appearition, shares his viewpoints on the application of augmented reality (AR) solutions in the OOH space in an exclusive interview with Outdoor Asia’s Rajiv Raghunath.

Edited excerpts:

Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are not new to the Indian market. Yet, it has taken a long while for these technologies and applications to find a larger, ready market in India. What steps are needed to evangelise AR/ VR technologies & apps in the Indian market, more so in the OOH advertising space?

It is quite interesting to see the advent of these technologies. Both AR and VR are not new technologies, having been around for more than a few decades. Yet there remains a lack of awareness among the wider consumer audience.

The fact of the matter is that AR has been in our lives for years – used most commonly in weather reports on the news and in live sports broadcasts. AR is quite literally the augmentation (or improvement) of reality – altered with an overlay of information on a pre-existing line of sight. The difference in today’s experience is that handheld devices have replaced televisions – but the application of the basic technology has remained consistent.

In comparison, VR  is where the consumer of the technology is fully immersed in the virtual world. Common experiences include experience capsules at science museums, but due to cost implications, has been used more in a commercial sense for medical or training purposes. Once again, handheld devices have made the experience more accessible – but application of the concept remains the same.

Beyond the evolution of hardware, campaigns have too often been utilised as one-off flash-in-the-pan attempts to display brands “innovatively” – whereas at Appearition we believe that AR is a media channel, more than just a solution. A media channel, just like print, radio, television, web and mobile, before it. Just as a brand would identify a core messaging and then develop creatives and iterations for television or print – and more recently digital, concepts need to be developed to funnel through this medium – enhancing the consumer experience but staying completely aligned to core messaging.

As a media channel, the right utilisation of these technologies enable the overlay of contextual information that enables decision making including purchase decisions – a key goal of any brand managers. In a nation as broad as India this enables the application of custom language communication depending on an automatic identification of the user’s location or pre-defined preferences. In the OOH space this enables experiences triggered by the once creative – but absolutely customised to the user being exposed to the experience – be they Punjabi,  Bengali, Marathi or Tamil. This is quite powerful as a method of customised engagement.

How effective are VR/AR applications in OOH advertising in the more developed markets? Have you handled any such project in those markets?

JCDecaux recently finished a campaign where they had integrated an AR application with Batman and Superman. The opportunity was for passers-by to “evolve” into their favourite superhero. The novelty factor was very high and it certainly had a very positive response. Tesco also had a highly successful campaign where consumers could “do their shopping” whilst waiting for their bus; the AR experience was triggered off by the media board on the bus stop.

Our approach to AR is to be more of an integrated solution. We haven’t been involved in outdoor specific advertising in that context. We have however been involved in several projects where outdoor based navigation that triggers off AR experience.This was used to promote tourism. Furthermore, we have been involved in arts and theatre productions, open days, etc. The point to consider is that a brand needs to have specific content for its AR channel just as it would for the other audio-visual channels. There needs to be an overall degree of consistency in how this content is being presented and the shift needs to be in the eyes of the brand manager to move away from thinking of this area as a novelty technology solution and start to incorporate it into planning as a new communication channel. There would have been a similar shift at the introduction of each new media – initially an exciting new innovation, but eventually just another medium as part of a multi-platform approach.

Are AR/VR applications more attuned to indoor advertising media, such as airport media, mall media, etc? Is there scope for their application on traditional billboards and the like?

Absolutely. Let’s consider a sample scenario – assume a brand wishes to launch a soft drink in a nationwide campaign. The brand manager would have content and campaigns ready for the traditional channels – print, web, mall media, etc. If we take the approach mentioned earlier where we see AR as just another media channel – it provides a novel fashion to present the launch campaign. However, it also offers the opportunity to merge other media through an integrated approach.

An AR app can be configured such that based on the temperature of the city that the consumer is in while using the app, it could initiate push message featuring specific discounts or promotions. Essentially the consumer experience when triggering off the billboard may be vastly different based on whether it is a 30-degree day or 20-degree day. Secondly the same AR app could attract on-premise customers where they take the app into a store in order to redeem vouchers  (vouchers redeemed off packing of the product), and last but not least, integration of location based e-commerce component.

This is the power of an integrated AR solution; it can spread across all traditional media channels and can bring them to life. The key to success here is not to treat them as once-off campaign, but have them all tightly linked.

Source:  Outdoor Asia | November 2016

Follow this space for part-2 of the interview.

AR-VR in Retail: More than just a tool for marketing

Highlights of the Retail Trends Vol 2 of Deloitte

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have proved their ability to enhance processes across industry verticals. They’ve proven to reduce errors, prevent mistakes and increase productivity. However, perception of these technologies in the retail space has always been a marketing tool.

Let’s look at the multiple use-case(s) that they have:

Pre-plan shopping trips

AR-VR can provide complete fore-hand information on a product – which will motivate people pressed for time to complete the long-due shopping. Often, shoppers race against time and retailers are against inverse staff to consumer ratio. AR-VR can solve this issue, two-in-one. This increases the buyer conversion rate.

Information Delivery

Target the right customer with right information. AR-VR helps retailers send personalised and targeted ads, product and offer information while shopping. This will ensure filtering unnecessary spam ads and enable customer to take notice of quintessential information.

In-store engagement

In a multi-product store or a mall, AR and VR can be used to assist customer navigation; collect information on customer preference (through a poll/game). These apps take self-help counter help to the next level.

Product customisation

Customers will be able to try multiple colours, shapes without having to physically try each product. Also, the visuals offer options to mix and match styles.

Experiential campaigns

True potent of what a retailer is trying to sell is often seen only when the actual product is delivered. AR-VR helps bridge this gap is visualisation and actual product by giving a realistic experience of the product before delivery.

Low-cost visualisation of high-cost assets

High-cost assets often carry a high cost sales cycle because of customers’ hesitation in purchasing something they can’t properly visualise. Using VR, models of high-cost assets can be developed at a much lower cost, increasing accessibility.

Lo-fi testing: Testing multiple scenarios in virtual spaces to iterate on solutions and identify the best customer solution to mitigate implementation risk.

These use-cases bust the myth that AR/VR is not just a gaming tool.

Deloitte says: the most successful adopters of VR and AR will be retailers which use the technology to enhance their relationship with customers, rather than replace it.

Excerpt from the Deloitte Vol 2 Virtual and augmented reality – a guide for Australian retailers

How AR will change the face of Retail and Advertising

Sarmistha Banerjee, Head of Solutions, Appearition talks on AR in Retail & Advertising, brand building and the future of ads:

Retail is a very competitive industry. How can one survive the cut-throat competition? (Especially in today’s time when an idea/product can spread easily, how does one manage to retain the unique selling point?)

  • There is a big difference between shopping and buying. Pause and consider it. Shopping is largely “EXPERIENTIAL” whereas buying relates to a “TRANSACTION” activity.

For example, an online e-commerce transaction i.e. buying function is the end outcome of the in-store, online or personal browsing / shopping experience which can be tactile, fun, interactive or whatever. If retailers and marketers can hone in on this one thing: Moments that Matter, they are likely to generate a competitive edge over their competition by engaging customers in a meaningful way.

  • A cloud-based PoS and retail management platform for running retail business operations seems like a no- brainer. The system would allow tracking of sales and inventory, in real-time and enable that data to be used intelligently to make faster business decisions. For example: What product sells on a weekday / weekend or during seasonal /promotional events; there is no need to wait until end of day / month to determine what’s hot and what’s not. In a nutshell, the Sales Cycle becomes short and compressed; this leads to less wastage of resources.

Digital Transformation is the tech talk of the hour. How do you think retail sector is reacting to it? (Are they adopting, are they cautious etc)

  • Actually, Amazon has aced it. The rest are playing catch-up everywhere else. Balancing web-rooming and show-roomingis a journey for most retailers. This is highly dependent on the digital maturity of the business – how they overhaul and adapt their operations. Doing nothing will lead to inevitable demise.
  • For those who delve into luxe, integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value is synonymous. The “BRAND IS THE EXPERIENCE.”

Retail is largely a B2C industry. For those businesses supplying B2B2C, what are the challenges in supply-chain?

  • In retail, consumers on one side and providers/suppliers on the other (typical B2C) can be limiting. However, to achieve scale in a B2B2C scenario, the wholesaler must adopt business practices that connects them with multiple vendors seamlessly. Technology can therefore, be an enabler to build a retail centric ecosystem that leverages channels and community needs. With data intelligence, time to market and stocking products on shelves could be drastically reduced. B2B2C needs to compete hard for the ON-DEMAND economy and even capitalize on the SHARING ECONOMY.

How will AR/VR/MR help in branding and digital marketing?

    • The immersive / interactive mediums allow infinite possibilities to capture human attention and provide sensory experiences that are quite unique. We are only limited by our imagination as to how AR/VR/MR can exploit this technology medium to connect with customers in an intimate way with their psyche. First movers, and early adopters have obvious advantages if the marketing strategy is executed well.

In your opinion, how should one work towards audience engagement through advertisements?

    • Advertisements have become annoying and their messaging do not resonate with respective audiences any longer. That’s why people deploy Adbloc online in their browsers; people flick channels on television during Ad breaks; Print media needs innovation to keep up with new media ads; People are switching to paid streaming to avoid pop-up ads.

    Clearly, marketers need to engage people and brands differently which makes the products /services/information relevant for the consumer.

    Thus, advertising will become increasingly personalised in 2018. We’ve been on this trajectory for several years, but the use of audience data is now pervasive in all modes of digital advertising. In tandem with ad personalization, new interactive ad formats will aim to break through the noise and increase user engagement.

The Oodl story

Impressive Advertising is a leading advertising and branding enterprise, based out of Adelaide, Australia.  They produce print, online, video and audio advertisements and campaigns for their clients.

Advertisements are of many forms these days. From simple print ads to social media campaigns, there are plethora of brands targeting the consumers. However, today’s audience prefer more visuals, concise and innovative ads. An ad these days is not just consumed, but shared, liked and discussed about on social networking sites, more often than before. This form of ad consumption has paved way for more innovative presentation.

Adapting to changes in Digital Transformation has been the order of ad campaigns in the last decade. If everyone is doing the same, how does one stand out?

Met with one such need for innovation, Impressive Advertising decided to improvise using Augmented Reality (AR). The idea was to bring an image to life by augmenting it. Thereby, enabling the best of both mediums for a campaign – print and mobile.

Oodl it

Generally, while skimming through ads, extensions or teasers grabs one’s attention. Bearing that in mind, the team used Appearition’s 8AR platform to create an image recognition app called Oodl.

Oodl is an image recognition browser tool, delivering informative and relatable content embedded in everyday surroundings.

The Oodl app cloud technology allows one to visualise digital information in a completely new way, taking you from a one-dimensional experience into a whole new world of exciting discoveries.

A holistic AR experience

To build their audience engagement goals they have produced adverts that include AR experiences throughout, created full page Oodl experience newspaper adverts and produced promotional card campaigns to entice consumers to download the app.

These posters and ad campaigns contain the Oodl icon, which when scanned through the app projects augmented information.

AR allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting, says Trevor Worley, Managing Director, Impressive Advertising.

The 8AR platform

8AR is a SaaS based platform, therefore is highly extensible and can be easily customized and monetized. It does not require any coding, making it easy for enterprise to augment.

Customer response

We expect Oodl to develop in AR as it has easier consumer reach, i.e. anyone with a smartphone, says the team.  The UI designed is simple and attractive. Upon logging in and scanning an object, there is an auto-pop video and further information that appear alongside.

Customer response to the Oodl AR/VR feature app has always been met with a ‘wow’ beams the team. “AR market is where we see Oodl developing as AR is less intrusive and is accessible to every person that has a smart phone. It allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting,” adds Trevor.

As more and more media options developed, Impressive Advertising was looking to combine the best of all worlds and found the answer in AR.

 

Stand out with AR. Get in touch with us to know more about launching your own 8AR platform!

AR in Packaging

Packaging to win

Think about the last time you visited a supermarket and stood in front of the milk section. Which of the products stood out for you? Did you give it much thought? There isn’t much price differentiation when it comes to largely homogeneous product categories like milk, where prices tend to vary by cents, rather than dollars (generally).

Now, imagine if you could use an application on your mobile device (conveniently located in your pocket) to scan a barcode and find out more about where your milk came from, some recipes from milk, or if there’s any special offers – customized to your requirements?

 

Packaging, more importantly, innovation in packaging has become very impactful as brands look to stand out in the clutter of modern day supermarkets. Similarly, attractive tap handle design at bars have shown to increase the likelihood of a patron selecting a particular beverage, even if only as a talking point for the evening.

In the world of fast moving consumer goods, where brands fight tooth and nail to stand out amongst the clutter, it’s not uncommon to find companies investing in merchandizing, ranging from attractive advertising banners to company representatives offering free samples. But merchandize can get damaged, staff need to be managed and surely, in 2017, there’s a better way?

 

Augmented Reality in packaging

In recent times, as consumers have become increasingly dependent on their mobile devices for reference, and in a world where every brand has released a mobile application in the interest of procuring data about their loyal users – there is a growing trend towards adoption of Augmented Reality as a tool to connect the physical (the product) and the digital (an experience about the brand) – turning packaging into a “multidimensional communication vehicle”.

Research from Deloitte showed that mobile is driving the convergence of consumer and shopper behavior and expectations, with more than one-third (34 percent) saying they use a smartphone to help choose brands during a shopping trip.

AR has proven to be a cost- & resource-efficient way to drive sales, and here are three key ways AR can help the packaging industry;

1 A dynamic marketing tool; Immersive experiences

For AR to work, a user downloads an application as directed and points the camera at the ‘target area’ on the packaging. The similarity of this function to taking a photo ensures that it’s not difficult for users to adopt and experiment. The target area can be anything on the packaging – a logo, a picture, a special creative or the entire packaging as well.

With a successful scan, an ‘experience’ plays – which can be a special deal for the user or any other communication. The ideal, naturally, is a message to encourage a purchase decision immediately.

Yasushi Kusume, innovation and creative manager for IKEA highlights three key goals of product packaging;

  1. It needs to stand out and grab the audience’s attention.
  2. It should encourage a purchase by conveying a unique and relevant value proposition.
  3. It should fit with your brand’s positioning and remain authentic to your overall stance.

 

AR has the capability to achieve all three goals, and much more.

Click here to know more about how Augmented Reality works

Click here to know the difference between AR, VR and MR 

 

2 “Hidden” communication to supplement packaging

A dichotomy in the packaging industry comes to the fore as brands are torn between a desire for minimalist design and impactful copy (to cater to the short span of human attention) and an awareness that purchase decisions are largely driven by reasonable amounts of information.

As such, AR enables brands to share “more info” on products, no longer restricted by the physical real estate of packaging.

Some examples of information that can be shared;

  • Allergy alerts (customized to the user’s account)
  • Sources of production
  • Recipe ideas
  • Any further collateral being used by the brand
  • Cross-promotions with other products under an umbrella brand

3 Additional touch point: Customized communication

Moreover, experiences can be customized, and data accumulated about users – thanks to existing tracking such as barcodes, QR codes and other unique IDs. Alexandre Carvalho, of Tetra Pak shared the following insight in the Tetra Pak 2017 Index;

“We sell, globally, a year, 108 billion units of products. So can you imagine if every single unit has a unique ID and you can use this to interact with consumers and gather data? And this is already happening,”

At Appearition, we have worked with clients in the packaging industry, and would be more than happy to share what we have learnt along the way. Here’s a quick sample of our work;

 

At Appearition, our Research and Development team is actively working towards improving our understanding of how these technologies can work to benefit your business. Contact us to find out more.

 

Source

The future of the print industry: Linking the Physical and the Digital

 

The world is sitting on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) – changing how industries operate, bringing greater automation and accuracy to a variety of business processes.

 

In this series, we will explore how 4IR is going to affect the industries of our clients, and how we believe the right strategy can empower you to embrace the inevitable.

 

First up: The future of the print industry.

 

Forbes article: Why everyone must get ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution

 

 

Print article image 3

 

 

In the last few years, we have seen a proliferation of small and start up label printers leading to increased competition. Good digital presses cost little more than US$45,000 – not a laughable sum, but certainly more than affordable for entrepreneurs with the right idea.

 

Meanwhile in emerging regions, larger multinational corporations are expanding operations and establishing themselves as they navigate the pricing politics of new territories.

 

The LaManna Alliance projects that “In 2017, you should be pushing 20-30% growth rate. Otherwise, you’re lagging.”

 

We recently visited PacPrint 2017, the region’s “premier show for print, sign, display and graphic communications” and with over 150 exhibitors and a rumored 15-20 million dollars in sales taking place on the event floor, it’s understandable that key players in the industry are looking to shake things up and keep this momentum going.

Quick Link: Our CEO, Vivek Aiyer, recently spoke of trust and the Designer Enterprise

 

Print article image 2

How can the future of the print industry be populated with millennials Generation Y and eventually, Generation Z?

Ageing workforce: The growth of the digital industry has meant that younger, computer-literate and tech-savvy employees have been more inclined towards seeking employment outside the print industry.

Companies are increasingly realizing the need to standardize onto the one platform helps with strategic alignment across business systems and broader business processes.

Standardization, Centralization & Flexibility: Most companies in this space have different systems and machines through acquisitions or then, as with most large organizations, inherited implementations of legacy software. These, in turn lead to errors in compliance, alignment, downtime and ultimately, inefficiencies.

How can we prepare audiences for these technologies, bearing in mind that innovation doesn’t always come cheap?

Active & Intelligent Packaging (A&IP): When it comes to product security, authentication and even preservation to some extent, A&IP will grow increasingly commonplace around us. It certainly seems like these technologies for a part of the future of the print industry.

Clients now require “relationships” with “partners” – as compared to “services” from “suppliers – and this is unavoidable!

The vendor/client relationship: Clients of all sizes are becoming increasingly demanding of one-on-one service. The fact of the matter is that there are a number of players who can top quality service, and price competition isn’t the only factor anymore.

 

Previous post: Customer Experience is all about Managing Relationships

Previous post: Culture of Trust – How does your customer feel?

 

Tech-driven process/information management & workflow tools

Have systems set up for verification of jobs, improved reporting and integrated with management tools. Enable remote access of presses – improving efficiency as the press process becomes more computerized. Tech processes can also improve internal processes and stock ordering and tracking. Clients (or Partners) with their increased expectations can now be empowered to track their orders through all stages of production.

 

Customer/Client/Partner engagement & New business

Technology proliferation has led to a variety of methods to increase and improve engagement. For example, QR codes, NFC, RFID, Augmented Reality and randomized designs. Understanding how these technologies serve well as data collection points and having them integrated into information managements systems help track interaction and build insight. In addition, improved traceability and big data enable the client relationship evolve into one of consulting – and partnering for growth and offering unique and individualized experiences.

 

Print article image 5

 

 

On the outset – it all seems tremendously exciting and simple. But that is the fallacy of innovation. Installing systems doesn’t just mean clicking one button – it includes change management. Upgrading machinery isn’t just reinstalling software – sometimes it’s training staff who are afraid of failing (or trying). Terms like myopia and pain avoidance are a lot more real than the buzzwords they are dismissed to be sometimes.

 

Opportunities like bundling print and digital ad sales to push greater RoI sounds great, but how does that mean the adsales team needs to be re-structured? For example, having a sales team that also possesses analytical skills and understands programmatic sales becomes critical. In such scenarios – if that’s the preferred mode of linking digital to physical – then print companies must understand marketing requirements, more so than before – as these multimedia experiences reach out to audiences with more targeted accuracy than ever before.

 

 

Innovation is no longer “nice-to-have” but that’s not to say it’s something to jump into. The key remains identifying a larger strategy that can assist with the growth of the clients you work with. Adding value to the labels and packaging produced, but also understanding how these products are being disbursed and the user experience of the final consumer.

 

At Appearition, we understand that the print industry has traditionally operated within certain models – for example, buying hardware outright or leasing systems for slow and steady returns. Crossing the chasm of technology is one that isn’t so simple. Our goal is to enable others success – and finding the neutral state of partnership so we can all grow together. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

3 Amazing Augmented Reality Ads

Augmented reality ads is fast-becoming one of the most popular advertising tools at a brand or agency’s disposal. With augmented reality proving to boost customer engagement and over 22% of the world’s population owning a smartphone, augmented reality is the perfect route for advertising to take.

Augmented reality, by its definition, gives brands the opportunity to integrate the digital world with the real world, which appeals to everybody from younger tech-lovers – bored of traditional advertising methods, to an older generation engaged by its great visual appeal.

Here are some brands that have utilised augmented reality in their advertising already:

Pepsi Unbelievable Bus Shelter

Pepsi took on London with this branded adventure on New Oxford Street. Pepsi took an average looking, busy bus stop and fitted it out to make it a seamless augmented reality experience for the people who happen to stop by.

A video feed showcased the footpath through the ad and some amazing augmented reality visuals then came to life. From meteorites and extra-terrestrials to lions and balloons, this ‘Unbelievable’ Bus Shelter Installation from Pepsi is a bit of branded fun.

Into the Storm

Similar to the Pepsi ad mentioned above, this ‘Into The Storm’ Augmented Reality Ad is made by the same guys. The ad streams a live feed of the road in-front of the AdShell through to passers-by on the other side. At first glance, it looks surreal and almost normal, that is, until the Augmented Reality part kicks in and starts to shoot lightning bolts, create tornados and other weather effects that look like they are happening right up that road in-front of their eyes!

Kit Kat – Times of India

This Kit Kat advert provided a bit of Android interactivity for readers of The Times of India, India’s most-read English newspaper.

The Artvertiser

This is a software platform that replaces advertisements with art in real time. Although first started in 2008 this is a fairly new, exciting way of advertising.
http://theartvertiser.com/

Image source: (x)

Read more here about how to use augmented reality in your advertising and whether it’s beneficial for your business.

 

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Augmented Reality – The 8th Mass Medium

We love this engaging and educational TEDx Talk by Tomi Ahonen that demonstrates some of the latest thinking and explains why augmented reality will literally change the way that we look at the world.

Some of the facts and predictions might surprise you!

Tomi Ahonen was rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in January 2012. He released his twelfth book in 2011 and is the most published author in the mobile industry. A widely respected figure in the industry, Tomi is referenced in over 120 books.

 

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