A Deloitte study for Snapchat found that by 2025, almost 75% of the world’s population – and almost all smartphone users – will be frequent users of augmented reality (AR). But despite the trillions of times users have already engaged with the technology, the use of AR in the buying process is nascent, with early adopters typically using the technology for marketing.
This should change. Virtual try-on technology is becoming more and more precise. According to Snapchat, some businesses are currently earning less than $0.01 per virtual trial of their products, which positively impacts return rates and reduces waste.
But AR isn’t just good for testing, it’s also a powerful tool for storytelling and customer experience. “Lenses” – social AR photo and video filters used by 250 million Snapchat users every day – are supported by a community of more than 250,000 creators, developers and partners who create millions of AR experiences for people. end consumers.
At VOICES 2022, BoF’s annual event where global thought leaders and experts come together to drive innovation with the future in mind, Snapchat’s Global Head of Luxury Geoffrey Perez and creative technologist Ommy Akhe discussed with guests how brands can use AR to increase acquisition rates and deepen their connection with consumers.
The discussion was conducted in accordance with the Chatham House Rule, which excludes attribution of statements made by specific individuals or companies, allowing participants to share freely and openly with their peers.
Now, BoF is sharing condensed and anonymized insights from the intimate discussion to provide actionable insights to our global community.
Improve acquisition and retention rates
“Today, we have over 350 million daily active users on the Snapchat app in the US, and over 70% of them – or over 250 million people – engage in reality. augmented,” were some of the opening remarks made at the start. of the conversation. “Our research shows that when people experience a product through AR, they have a better understanding of the product’s size and appearance, leading to up to a 28% decrease in returns.”
One attendee shared data that reinforced the value of AR for fashion brands concerned with consumer acquisition and retention. “The click-through rate for 3D models is between 20 and 40%. Your conversion rate can go up to 200%, then your return rates will be halved.”
Complement the physical experience with augmented reality
“You can create virtual stores,” said an AR Activations participant. “Users can have gaming and entertainment experiences around them with AR. It’s another dimension of storytelling.
One participant disputed that, just like physical fashion, virtual fashion also runs the risk of being exclusionary. “It’s still a wardrobe for your digital avatar. It’s only accessible to you unless I’m wearing AR glasses. Won’t that just create a hierarchy anyway?”
Users can have gaming and entertainment experiences around them with AR. This is another dimension of storytelling.
Another participant disagreed, affirming the potential of augmented reality as a tool for personal validation rather than exclusion: “People are now starting to shape experiences to match their preferences, rather than change ourselves to match those experiences.With the power of technology and augmented reality, we have a digital playground of ideas and the ability to experiment without fear of repercussions in real life. a truly authentic experience and helping people achieve their purpose or objective is where the real value of augmented reality lies.”
Telling stories through new media
“One thing that’s very new, very interesting about AR is that it’s a new medium, and people are opting into it as an advertising experience,” one participant said of the ability of AR to foster a personal connection between brands and consumers.
“I feel like AR is one of the few online digital use cases where consumers choose to engage with that experience, they want to engage with that brand, or they want that brand to improve their own image.
Consumer self-expression platform
Some participants agreed that the additive nature of AR, whereby it sits atop the real, physical world, is what allows users to use it as a tool for self-expression. “Augmented reality as a concept is additive, as opposed to virtual reality which is a completely immersive environment,” said one participant. “Brands that allow for an element of storytelling and personalization leverage augmented reality very well.”
With the power of technology and augmented reality, we have a digital playground of ideas and the ability to experiment without fear of real-life repercussions.
“Giving consumers the ability to personalize products in real time, whether based on factual information like their location or what they want to express, eliminates the need to buy a hundred iterations of the same product. You can gather your toolbox, break down barriers, and encourage immediacy without having an over-manufactured physical product, which is so easy with augmented reality.
Nurture dedicated communities
All participants agreed that targeting tech-savvy consumers with AR initiatives requires an authentic approach. To nurture a sense of community, brands must “inspire people to be themselves and teach them that they can create for themselves,” said one attendee.
“By creating that conversation, you create a sense of community and a sense of belonging. The ability to dip your toes in the water without having to dive deep inside is key, and that’s where augmented reality Is usefull.
However, they noted that some mediation between the physical and digital worlds is still needed. “Our community connects with us through our courage to live our authentic truth in real life. You can post great photos on social media, but if you do in real life, there’s always that respect for how you present yourself. So that’s something that AR has to marry, the values that we all have as human beings and their manifestation in real life.
This is a sponsored feature paid for by Snapchat as part of a BoF partnership.
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