How Businesses Are Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Their Apps
Emily Clark wrote this article
The following is a guest post by Emily Clark of Clutch.co, the leading directory for premier mobile app developers.
Why are more businesses now implementing augmented reality features into their apps to gain more consumers? And how are they providing more immersive experiences?
In 2018, nearly 70% of consumers expected retailers to launch an augmented reality app. So what is augmented reality?
AR technology creates an interactive experience where computer-generated objects exist next to real-world information. AR uses software to add digital elements to real situations. The technology produces an enhanced reality that provides new components to people’s natural surroundings.
AR generates a mixture of illusion and reality that captivates user attention for more exciting app experiences.
When implemented correctly, augmented reality should provide an immersive experience for consumers that gives them unique benefits. Apps like IKEA Place, Sky Walk, StubHub, and Quiver have all successfully created inherent value in their implementation of AR. Businesses should add AR features to their apps to stand out in a crowded marketplace and distinguish their app from other similar kinds.
As such, your app should use augmented reality to:
– Enhance the existing experience
– Find new ways to connect and engage with users
– Offer interaction
Augmented reality has long been hailed as a sophisticated technology of the future. Still, AR has been in play since 1957 when Morton Heilig strapped himself into a vibrating chair and created the Sensorama. Heilig demonstrated the value of simulating experience when his device delivered sound, smell, vibrations, and images to the viewer. Heilig indeed pioneered the path for AR. From that point, computer scientists, businesses, and the military all began to incorporate AR technology into their systems.
How AR apps are raising the standards for engaging experiences
People demand high standards of entertainment and service, and AR can provide both.
An app loses 77% of users within the first three days of installation. People don’t want clutter on their phone, and an app that offers little unique value has no place. Augmented reality presents a new source of engagement as people can now feel connected to the app’s features.
IKEA Place, the furniture store app, gives users a chance to see how furniture would look in their home before buying it. Below, a user takes a picture of their home and then overlays a piece of furniture into the room.
IKEA Place demonstrates an easy option to envision your potential purchase. Customers now have a chance to virtually furnish their room with IKEA furniture at all times instead of trying to picture the results in the store. This app offers a more natural and clearer buying journey. Augmented reality motivates users to see the app not only as a catalog of products. AR allows people to simulate the experience of owning before the purchase. Moreover, businesses can create apps that connect their audience interests with their product through enhanced experiences.
Another example of an app that enhances user experience through AR is Vito Technology’s Star Walk. Vito Technology is a mobile software company that has created products for Windows and iOS but decided to a release an app they thought would gauge customer interest.
Star Walk, an astronomy app, uses mobile sensors and location data to distinguish constellations and stars in the sky.
Users can take a picture and immediately receive a layout of the night sky. Star Walk then gives users information about these stars, planets, and constellations. The stargazing app provides a unique experience for those interested in learning more about space and satellites.
Although Vito Technology focuses on software development, they created an app that sparked wide admiration for its unique technology and design. As such, Vito released an entire series of Sky Walk apps that have received thousands of downloads and increased revenue for the company.
AR can be a toolbox for new engaging marketing strategies
There is a lot of potential in how AR can create more eye-catching advertising. During the 2017 Super Bowl, StubHub launched its own AR feature on its mobile app that allowed users to see a virtual 3D version of the stadium. StubHub understood that people wanted to see the view where they would be sitting. If the views were significantly better in more expensive seats, customers would be motivated to buy those seats.
StubHub saw an increase in sales when people were more aware of what view exactly they would have at the game.
Augmented reality provided an excellent opportunity for StubHub to market better seats close to the action. The AR features boosted the marketing value of StubHub’s app.
Sephora has also taken advantage of AR marketing. The cosmetics brand implemented the “Virtual Artist” feature on its platform, so users can try on makeup using the app. The app takes a photo of the user’s face and then the user can test out different looks and products without having to buy them.
Further, the app integrates AI into the experience and recommends different products based on the users’ photo and purchase history. The Color IQ technology on the app scans the skin tone of the user and gives the user an IQ number, which allows people to match their shade to an exact color of foundation.
Sephora earned $17.7 billion last year, up 6% since the new technological innovations. This could be demonstrating the success of the AR implementation.
AR offers massive marketing potential as people have access to an enormous number of products, Like IKEA, people can virtually use these products before deciding to buy.
How are businesses making the AR experience interactive?
I’ve seen a lot of creativity in the apps that are adding interactive AR experiences. For example, QuiverVision uses AR to create 3D coloring books. Kids now can color in their drawings and watch these pictures become live animations. Users just have to take a photo of their drawing, and then the app will create a moving image of that drawing with music playing in the background.
Quiver’s app creates an interactive experience that makes drawing into a game for kids and adults. Users can then buy in-app purchases to create more dynamic and diverse content. Quiver demonstrates how turning the coloring experience into a fun game can earn more engagement. I would even say it will persuade people to buy more in-app purchases. AR allows users to interact actively with apps in fun ways. The more immersive the fun, the more engaged customer base.
Recognizing the potential of AR to grow audiences, museums have begun incorporating augmented reality into their exhibits to engage more people. Museum apps now have special features that unlock exclusive information through AR. For example, the National Museum of Singapore saw Pokémon Go’s success and created a similar experience in one of their exhibits, Story of the Forest. Below, visitors enter into the glass dome exhibit where paintings by William Farquhar are hung on the walls.
Visitors then use the AR features in the museum’s app to hunt different creatures in the paintings. As users find the creatures, they unlock special facts and information about the trees, creatures, and paintings. People want to be entertained, and AR provides a great chance to promote products through active interaction.
When should you incorporate AR features into your app?
Augmented reality really can contribute to the success of your app if utilized creatively and carefully. AR offers new chances to improve user experience and sell products in more interactive ways. But it can be difficult to gauge when and how to implement AR. Businesses should integrate AR into their apps when they want to increase user engagement, offer new value for their services, and know their users well.
AR features will increase your customer’s excitement to use your app as they feel directly involved with your business through the interactive and unique design. If your business is thinking of expanding its marketing strategy, consider creating an app with AR features. AR features will make your app stand out and allow consumers to test your services and products. People are motivated to buy more too if they are actively engaged in your app. Above all, use AR to offer unique value that improves the consumer’s view of your brand and product. If you are unsure about how to integrate AR features into your application, find a mobile app developer that has augmented reality experience.