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BW Businessworld

Realities In Digital Marketing

In the coming years, brace yourself for a new range of experiences that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work

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What happens when science fiction integrates with digital marketing? Augmented Reality has brought a technological change in the way brands connect with their customers emotionally. From apps, helmets to smart glasses, Augmented Reality (AR) products are beginning to redefine the consumer experience. The increasing demand of AR and VR technology from verticals such as consumer, aerospace defence, medical etc. have caught marketer's attention too who are constantly looking out for new ways to woo their consumers. Augmented Reality, along with Virtual Reality, have become the biggest trends driving innovation at major companies globally and is expected to be the biggest industry in India in coming years. International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the market for the Virtual Reality (VR) and AR technologies will explode from about $5.2 billion in 2015 to $162 billion in 2020.

India has a growing consumer market and increasing competition to grab customers' attention is allowing more and more brands to try their hands on VR and AR. Not only big brands but small and medium brands too can be seen taking this route because of the accessibility and affordability of this technology. While VR will capture the market in the near term, AR represents the long-term commercial opportunity for many businesses, especially for the retail sector. Indeed, some of the biggest names in the global market have already forayed into the world of AR. Nintendo's Pokémon GO is the best example of AR at scale. The hugely popular game captured the imagination of people across the globe. The application of AR spans industries from retail giants to automakers to IT majors. In India, Tata Motors introduced its small car Tiago using virtual reality. Other examples of other brands who are using AR to promote their brands are: Microsoft HoloLens, BMW, I Visualiser and GAP.

How does AR affect the way consumers deal with the brand

There are many reasons why AR is poised to revolutionize the way consumers will experience the brand. From offering personalized solutions to real-time interactions, from gamifying the shopping experience to tracking the ROI, AR can change the paradigms of how businesses function. Following are five reasons how AR can affect consumer experience:

Instant interaction: Augmented Reality creates an interactive experience, engaging the customer more intuitively. The customer feels enriched and wants to come back for more. If customer was the king earlier, now he is the emperor.

Real-time feedback: The beauty of Augmented Reality is that the customer can provide instant feedback on the item bought, whether or not other customers shared them in other channels, what kind of channels they shared them in, how long they looked at a particular item and more. This kind of feedback is a great data for a digital marketer.

Personalization: It facilitates a seamless Omni channel experience for customers. Take for example, L'Oréal's Makeup Genius app. Through the app, women can see make up being applied in real time using facial recognition technology. In the case of clothing, it will allow you can see how the dress you picked will look on you as well as finding more information such as the price, location, availability, design options and more.

Gamification: Acquiring new customers is expensive and by introducing games businesses motivate shoppers to indulge their competitive instincts to drive engagement. This way, they experience the brand and earn their way towards coupons, points and rewards that are highly customized.

Tracking of ROI: Augmented Reality allows brands to track the most effective route from initial contact to the cash register. By providing a real time picture of how products are faring in the market and the related analytics, it can help digital marketers to very effectively track the RoI.

Augmented Reality is a goldmine for digital marketing: It is mobile friendly; it can act as a bridge between all the other forms of media that digital marketers already use and the ability to track data and measure the ROI makes it an indispensable tool. The rise of new, less expensive hardware will put virtual and augmented reality technologies within the grasp of a growing numbers of companies and individuals. In the coming years, brace yourself for a new range of experiences that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Piyush Gupta

The author is President of Kestone IMS Pvt. Ltd

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