Nihit is a man with unparalleled domain knowledge and a compelling trade network. Being an industry veteran, he is known for delivering path-breaking events & curating effective strategies. Mr. Kumar has been associated with organizations such as Shipra Group and DLF Limited in the past. A proud alumnus of Delhi University, Nihit has worked with DLF for over eight years and currently with ILC Group as General Manager & Head – Marketing.
In this digital world, the way technologies are getting involved within companies is of great interest. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the latest tools to satisfy customers and increase productivity.
Many people believe that AR technology is just for entertainment and for playing interactive games or for map navigation. In actuality, AR is the evolution of digital transformation, it creates a bridge between the physical and digital world by combining computer-generated images on a screen with the real object or scene that you are looking at. It can be easily said that it is the 4th wave of digital transformation. Ultimate goal of AR is to create a system such that a user cannot identify the difference between the real world and the virtual augmentation of it. The future of AR is extremely promising as it is one of the most versatile platforms to engage the end users before they buy the product. Companies have started adopting AR due to its special and vast features that support numerous industries. It’s much more cost-effective and decreases the number of errors significantly and can assist in troubleshooting.
VR on the other hand is a fully immersive experience in which everything a user sees is a computer-generated 3D environment where spatial data produces a rendering of a building or product design making it “real”. It’s a technology that allows us to experience virtual worlds and to move and touch as if we were in that space.
Digital technology for advertising conventionally uses online video, pop-ups, pop-under, displays, banners, etc. Several users found these annoying and intrusive. As a result, blockers started appearing, and this reduced the effectiveness of the advertisements. It was felt that new techniques were required to provide novel experiences to the target audience. Use of VR and AR for marketing changed the playing field dramatically. Alongside providing unique experiences to shoppers, the use of AR & VR is growing across various industries, enabling integration of digital technology with marketing strategies, transforming the shopping experience to a new level.
AR and VR also provide in-store experience in the comfort of home without having to physically visit the marketplace, which is a great selling point in the current scenario. e-Commerce platforms are increasingly using AR to enable customers to experience the product as if present in the real-life setting. Use of AR and VR in retail stores, e-commerce and advertising is the next big thing ready to disrupt marketing concepts.
Businesses are increasingly integrating the multi-media promotional activities that encourage interaction between the customer and the brand, create a greater level of emotional engagement, increase customer loyalty, enhance publicity and building long-term relationships. These technologies are integrated with marketing strategies for providing richer and more realistic feel of their products (AR catwalks, AR showrooms), for enabling shoppers to try-on products (AR mirrors) and for raising awareness of their brand (creative and interactive AR campaigns).
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can even aide in solving some of the most common and tedious problems in retail stores such as inventory management, product detail tracking, reporting, and enhancing the user experience. Customers can now virtually try on things before purchase without the need of physical trials thereby saving the time of the customer and reducing the cost of the store as well because they won’t need to assign an extra employee to manage the try-on service. There is no need for salesman to inform the customer about the price nor is a price tag needed. Just by scanning the product one can get all the details. These time consuming and cost-effective steps are cancelled out by AR and VR.
In comparison, AR is relatively more effective as it involves lower costs and helps customers in making shopping decisions while engaged with the content. Having said that, AR and VR technologies are making the in-store experience truly fun and innovative. They improve interactivity, level of engagement and offer great excitement. The experience cannot be equalled by online shopping and will be of great assistance to the brick-and-mortar retail stores to considerably increase the numbers of shoppers. This is more applicable to India, where physical stores are struggling against huge discounts being offered by online shopping sites. The technologies can be explored in several ways by retailers to improve their customer base and enhance customer satisfaction. These technologies are adaptable for many uses as they integrate physical and digital worlds.
While AR and VR technologies have been around for quite some time, businesses are only just learning and experiencing their true potential. There is plenty still to be explored to make AR and VR technologies work to promote businesses and brands. These technologies have great scope to provide opportunities to explore and experiment with out-of-the-box brand engagement to increase sales and help strengthen the bond with customers.