tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/augmented-reality Latest Augmented reality content from Econsultancy 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69403 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 Four ways travel brands can improve the customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently attended an event held by the DMA, where the topic of the day was how to increase levels of engagement and loyalty in the travel industry. Drawing on DMA’s research, here’s a summary of some key points to consider.</p> <h3>The gap between expectation and delivery</h3> <p>The <a href="https://dma.org.uk/research/customer-engagement-focus-on-travel" target="_blank">DMA’s new report</a> is based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, with questions relating to the categories of travel accommodation, airlines, and price comparison sites.</p> <p>The first major finding cited by the event’s chairman, Scott Logie, was that consumers are more demanding. This is hardly surprising (and certainly not specific to travel), but he went on to suggest that there is still a huge gap between customer expectation and delivery.</p> <p>Essentially, travel brands are meeting customer demands to an extent, but with expectations of service and value rising so rapidly – it is difficult to keep up. Scott used the ‘razor blade’ metaphor to explain this, highlighting how consumers don’t necessarily need or expect multiple blades on a razor, but once one brand adds another, the only option for competitors is to beat it.</p> <p>That being said, the DMA found that functional features are the most important to consumers when choosing travel brands – 59% want value for money, 58% want convenience, and 58% want good customer service.</p> <p>Ultimately, this shows that operating honestly is a default expectation for consumers, not something they view as a selling point.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8789/Chart_9.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="546"></p> <h3>Brands offering greater value </h3> <p>So, which travel brands are delivering value? Here are a few examples of customer-centric brands and how they’re engaging consumers.</p> <p>US hotel chain Aloft has launched the world’s first emoji-powered room service. Called TiGi (which stands for ‘text it, get it’), it allows guests to choose between six packages, including ones specifically designed for a hangover or a day of sightseeing. Taking service to another level, it’s a good example of a brand meeting customer needs in a seamless and personalised way.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lazy to call? Just text us with emojis from our special <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AloftTiGi?src=hash">#AloftTiGi</a> menu. It's our pleasure to serve you :) <a href="https://t.co/5BneeLKP68">pic.twitter.com/5BneeLKP68</a></p> — Aloft Bangkok (@AloftBangkok) <a href="https://twitter.com/AloftBangkok/status/749482814312153089">July 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>SeatFrog aims to increase visibility around the upgrade process, allowing customers to bid in an auction for a seat upgrade.</p> <p>As well as using technology to enhance the travel experience, it also takes away the sometimes random nature of the airline experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8790/seatfrog.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="397"></p> <p>Another brand to use transparency is Delta, which was the first airline to visibly map out luggage journeys. The Fly Delta mobile app now allows travellers to see their bag’s last scanned location, helping to dispel a common source of travel stress – the dreaded lost luggage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8784/Delta.JPG" alt="" width="265" height="477"></p> <p>These examples show how brands can make the shift from meeting purely functional needs to creating long-lasting and deeper relationships with consumers. </p> <p>Of course, there is still a long way to go, with one of the biggest barriers to achieving this being trust. Scott suggested that highly transactional, tech-driven services can take away much-need warmth from travel brands. The DMA's research mirrors this, with around 50% of consumers saying they have some level of trust in brands. However, this falls to just 12% of people who say they trust a brand ‘very much’.</p> <h3>Brands driving loyalty</h3> <p>53% of consumers said that good service would keep them loyal to a hotel brand, even if they could get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Meanwhile, 40% said good deals and 39% said a rewards scheme would result in greater loyalty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8788/chart_10.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="512"></p> <p>This shows that long-term loyalty is possible for travel brands, but the key to achieving it is delivering a service that takes into account the individual’s needs. So while personalisation is somewhat of a buzzword at the moment, it’s certainly something that consumers value.</p> <p>This is reflected in the reasons certain brands are favoured by consumers. The second-most favourite, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68505-a-closer-look-at-booking-com-s-customer-focused-strategy/" target="_blank">Booking.com</a>, was chosen because of its ability to personalise and tailor offers based on previous behaviour. Similarly, the biggest factor cited for British Airways was its superior rewards scheme.</p> <p>Outside of these, there are a few standout examples of brands succeeding when it comes to loyalty.</p> <p>Hilton and its Hilton Honours Program is particularly good, mainly because it allows consumers to make use of points in situations unrelated to the brand. Members can use them in restaurants and in shops, and even pool points to share with family and friends.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/HiltonHotels">@HiltonHotels</a> for the care package to recognize Lifetime Diamond status. Loyalty pays off and I appreciate it!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hilton?src=hash">#Hilton</a> <a href="https://t.co/G5vCgh5apq">pic.twitter.com/G5vCgh5apq</a></p> — Jason Robertson (@robertson_jr3) <a href="https://twitter.com/robertson_jr3/status/887280659030519808">July 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Marriott is another hotel chain that is similarly innovative, this time using a beacon-driven loyalty scheme to allow people to earn rewards based on where they are. </p> <h3>New channels and technologies</h3> <p>Another way for travel brands to increase customer engagement is by meeting real-time demands based on various points in the customer’s journey.</p> <p>When it comes to the inspiration stage, where travellers are researching where to go and what to see, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66614-will-virtual-reality-revolutionise-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">virtual reality</a> offers huge potential. The DMA found that 50% of consumers are interested in using a VR headset to see what a destination might look like in advance. Unsurprisingly, interest in VR is even higher among younger consumers. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8786/VR.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="518"></p> <p>Moving on to the booking process, and this is where <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots">chatbots</a> can help make the experience much more seamless. 52% of consumers say they’d use a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots" target="_blank">chatbot</a> to ask flight-related queries, while 38% say they’d be open to booking flights via a chatbot. This shows the demand for services that can be accessed in a native social environment, where consumers are already spending much of their time.</p> <p>The travel-phase is where data-sharing comes into play once again. However, this is an area which still poses a big barrier for brands. While 51% of consumers say they’d be happy to share their data in exchange for alerts, this is only once they realise what they'll get in return.</p> <p>In his summary of the research, Scott emphasised the importance of showing consumers the value of data-sharing. This is because while the appetite for personalisation is certainly there, concerns about privacy and misuse of data can often outweigh desire.  </p> <p>Finally, augmented reality presents a big opportunity for brands during the holiday phase. 45% of consumers say they’d be interested in using AR to find out informative facts about sites of interest.</p> <p>Carnival Cruises is already using this type of in-the-moment personalisation. Its cruise wristbands send tailored offers and recommendations to guests both on-board and off, based on where they are and what they’re interacting with during their trip.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8787/Carnival_Cruise_Line.JPG" alt="" width="548" height="308"></p> <h3>Key takeaways</h3> <p>So, let’s sum up some key takeaways.</p> <ol> <li>Consumers prioritise pragmatic needs, such as honesty, authenticity, value, and good service. Brands that do not meet these expectations (or view them as standard) run the risk of losing trust.</li> <li>Customer-centric brands create deeper relationships. Offering something of value (on top of the expected) can be the key to generating longer-term loyalty. </li> <li>Transparency is key when it comes to data-sharing. Personalisation can help to improve the customer experience, so it is important to communicate this value-exchange clearly with consumers.</li> <li>In-the-moment technology can take brands to the next level. VR, AR, and chatbots can enhance and improve the travel journey, engaging consumers when it matters most.   </li> </ol> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69127-how-hotels-are-upping-the-fight-against-online-travel-agencies">How hotels are upping the fight against online travel agencies</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69405 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 Three ways the iPhone X will change CX in travel & tourism Tom Dibble <p>As has been the pattern in the past, the ripple effect from Apple advancements reach just about every industry, including travel and hospitality.</p> <p>Here are three ways the iPhone X will change travel forever.</p> <h3>Augmented reality (AR) will become mainstream</h3> <p>Augmented reality – the ability to view and interact with virtual items overlaid in the real world on screen – is about to go mainstream.</p> <p>The iPhone X, along with the forthcoming <a href="https://www.apple.com/iphone-8/" target="_blank">iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus</a>, are the first iPhone devices specifically designed for AR. Earlier this year, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69388-ar-is-on-the-brink-of-a-breakout-thanks-to-new-platforms-from-google-apple">Apple unveiled ARKit</a>, a new framework that allows developers to design AR apps for iOS 11, the operating system update available on September 19.</p> <p>As a result, iOS will be the largest AR-capable platform in the world.</p> <p>With AR capabilities soon in the hands of hundreds of millions of travelers, hospitality innovators will introduce new ways to offer guests property information, assistance and location-specific content on demand.</p> <p>From the way hotel <a href="https://youtu.be/JgOGADMJWIg" target="_blank">restaurants display their menu</a>, to real-time language translation of signage, to wayfinding, to AR-guided tours of property gardens and grounds, the potential for enhancing the guest experience is virtually limitless.</p> <h3>Facial recognition will hit hotels </h3> <p>The iPhone X offers Face ID, facial recognition technology made possible because of its TrueDepth camera system. </p> <p>In the way Touch ID evolved how iPhone users interact with their device in a secure manner, Face ID takes authentication to the next level. While the advancements will simplify and expedite how we take selfies and unlock our device, they’ll also update how hoteliers interact with guests.</p> <p>Face ID works not only with Apple Pay, but with third-party apps, which will enable new user experiences between travelers and tech-forward hospitality brands. Hotels will integrate facial recognition into their own proprietary apps, changing the way guests make reservations, access their room, authenticate payments at outlets, even check in and check out.</p> <h3>Mobile engagement will surge</h3> <p>Travelers are already using their mobile devices to research, book, document and rate their hotel experience en masse. The iPhone is already <a href="https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/20/iphone-ownership-all-time-high-us/" target="_blank">the most popular smartphone in the world</a>.</p> <p>With the release of the new iPhone models, analysts are expecting record-shattering sales, with some suggesting that Apple may see as many as 241.5 million iPhone shipments in the 12 months following the iPhone 8 launch.</p> <p>The new devices boast a higher water resistance rating than predecessors (perfect for poolside, waterslides and beach outings), an improved camera (more, better selfies and social sharing), wireless charging capabilities and a longer battery life for the all-day/all-night adventurer.</p> <p>With new phones come new apps that take advantage of advancements in technology. The forthcoming swell of innovative applications, and subsequent mobile engagement, will offer fresh ways for brands to interact with travelers on a level unlike we’ve ever seen.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-digital-trends-and-developments/"><em>Travel - Digital Trends and Developments Report</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69414-four-big-digital-trends-impacting-travel-tourism-marketing"><em>Four big digital trends impacting travel &amp; tourism marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience"><em>How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/"><em>The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69406 2017-09-11T10:20:53+01:00 2017-09-11T10:20:53+01:00 A day in the life of... MD of an augmented reality company Ben Davis <p>Before we get stuck in, remember if you've got itchy feet yourself, you could do worse than checking out all the digital marketing and ecommerce jobs listed over on the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a>.</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em><strong>Richard Corps:</strong></em> I am the managing director and co-founder of Ads Reality. We help brands and retailers to engage with their customers through augmented reality (AR).</p> <p>As the MD, I oversee all elements of the company particularly the commercial side of the business as well as the day to day activities across our different teams; making sure that our customers are getting the best experiences and commercial results from using our AR solution.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> We are owned by the high-street retailer, GAME, but we operate as a separate business unit and I report directly to GAME’s CEO. My role is to provide regular business updates to the CEO and Board, including Ads Reality’s P&amp;L, how our customers and prospects are reacting to our technology, future technologies and the product roadmap.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/202733109" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p><em>The Ads Reality showreel</em></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> In my role I have to be able to communicate and motivate; inspiring my colleagues. Quite often I work closely with the team to ensure the campaigns we are running for our customers are of the highest quality and also to maximise their return on investment. It is a balance between delivering current projects plus working with the R&amp;D team on the future roadmap to ensure we stay ahead of our competitors.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Tell us about a typical working day… </h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> My daily routine varies immensely as we have offices at GAME HQ in Basingstoke, our development centre in Luton and R&amp;D based in India. So, I am travelling quite a bit around the UK and I am still heavily involved in our international expansion which includes visits to Dubai, the US and Mexico.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> I love the variety of my days but most of all getting stuck into new business, which is where my heart lies. Alongside this, sitting with the CTO and coming up with the latest and greatest products. I hate getting stuck on the M25 as I travel to Luton and I am not a big fan of meetings, which seem to have increased recently!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8817/rich_corps.jpg" alt="richard corps" width="300"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h4> <p><strong><em>RC:</em></strong> I still see Ads Reality as my baby and I want to see it grow to become one of the leading AR companies across retail/brands. Ultimately, I measure success by profitability but company awareness, an innovative product roadmap and a happy team are also great measures of success.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> As long as I have my Mac and iPhone I can work anywhere. To show off our technology, which is very visual, I am always armed with our AR-enabled business card and company AR temporary tattoo!!</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How did you get into AR, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> I was approached by two colleagues five years ago as I knew a lot of retailers and together we started applying AR within this sector. We ran <a href="http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111143/Tesco-trials-in-store-and-online-augmented-reality-tech">the first multi-channel AR retail campaign</a> globally with Tesco… which was so successful they had to add a link to their homepage as so many people were trying to find and play with our AR tech.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Which brands do you think are using AR well?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> There is a lot of talk around <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69388-ar-is-on-the-brink-of-a-breakout-thanks-to-new-platforms-from-google-apple">Apple and Google becoming the main players in the AR space</a>, however the brands that see the ROI opportunities that AR brings, not just the ‘cool tech’, are the ones that will really drive success from this technology.</p> <p>L’Oréal is a good example of a brand that has successfully used AR to engage with its customers. The cosmetic powerhouse recently launched its <a href="http://www.lorealprofessionnel.co.uk/hair-looks/style-my-hair">“Style My Hair” AR app</a> that allows customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colours and explore new looks before they visit a salon.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8819/Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_08.51.13.png" alt="loreal style my hair" width="615" height="380"></p> <p><em>Style My Hair web app</em></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you have any advice for people who want to work in AR?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> Firstly, you need to see and believe in the differences that immersive technology can bring to people and businesses. Anybody who is keen to work in AR should be looking to get involved now as we’re at such an exciting stage in this industry, with hybrid concepts such as Mixed Reality starting to take off.</p> <p>Get talking to other AR professionals and any shows you can attend to see the tech at work – this should help you to make a decision on immersive tech as a career. But I’d really recommend it!</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69388 2017-08-31T15:00:00+01:00 2017-08-31T15:00:00+01:00 AR is on the brink of a breakout thanks to new platforms from Google & Apple Patricio Robles <p>ARCore is based on Google's Tango technology, which the search giant has been working on since 2014. Tango had a huge limitation, however, that was always realistically going to hinder its adoption: the Tango technology needed special hardware to work.</p> <p>Unlike Tango, ARCore doesn't require special hardware support, so apps developed using ARCore will work with all Android devices running Android version 7.0 Nougat and above. Google says it aims to have 100m Android devices that support ARCore by the time its preview of the platform ends.</p> <h3>So what does ARCore offer?</h3> <p>According to Google, ARCore's capabilities focus on three areas: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Motion tracking.</strong> A compelling AR experience demands that virtual objects remain placed where they're expected to be. ARCore uses a phone's camera and sensor data to track the position and orientation of the phone as it moves.</li> <li> <strong>Environmental understanding.</strong> As Google explained, "It's common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. ARCore can detect horizontal surfaces using the same feature points it uses for motion tracking."</li> <li> <strong>Light estimation.</strong> To provide for a more realistic AR experience, ARCore is capable of tracking ambient light and allowing developers to shade their virtual objects so that they look more realistic.</li> </ul> <p>Combined, ARCore makes it possible for developers to create innovative AR experiences that are smooth, realistic and that function with a high level of performance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8625/ARCore_Tinman.gif" alt="" width="448" height="252"></p> <h3>A new battlefront in the war against Apple for mobile supremacy</h3> <p>ARCore is Google's answer to Apple's ARKit, which <a href="https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/ios-11-brings-new-features-to-iphone-and-ipad-this-fall/">was unveiled</a> in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Prominent tech investor Gene Munster <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/05/gene-munster-apple-arkit-most-revolutionary-thing-from-wwdc.html">called it</a> the most "revolutionary" announcement at the conference and it's not hard to understand why.</p> <p>Like Google's ARCore, ARKit enables developers to build advanced augmented reality applications that place virtual content "on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more."</p> <p>When announced, Apple boasted that ARKit offers developers the "latest computer vision technologies" and that once iOS 11 is rolled out it will have the "the biggest AR platform in the world" consisting of hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad devices.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, developers were eager to start building AR experiences based on ARKit and as TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/29/a-preview-of-the-first-wave-of-ar-apps-coming-to-iphones/">detailed</a>, major brands are among those embracing the platform. For example, IKEA, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63574-augmented-reality-the-ikea-catalogue-and-beyond">which is no stranger to AR</a>, in seven weeks used ARKit to build a new AR feature for its iOS catalog app. This feature will allow shoppers to visualize what items would look like in their homes.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qQZIzbuymrw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Publisher Touch Press took advantage of ARKit to build an AR experience around the popular children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Because it was designed for young children, Touch Press had to be thoughtful about how it allows users to control the interactivity. Panzarino explained:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Very Hungry Caterpillar's control methodology was based on focus. The act of pointing at an object and leaving your gaze on it caused the story to progress and actions to be taken (knocking fruit out of a tree for the caterpillar to munch on or encouraging it to go to sleep on a stump). Most of the other apps relied on something as simple as a single tap for most actions. I think this control-free or control-light paradigm will be widespread. It will require some rethinking for many apps being translated.</p> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, while Google and Apple are obviously fighting for AR supremacy, Google clearly recognizes that the iOS ecosystem is important. In its AR announcement, the company stated "we think the Web will be a critical component of the future of AR." To that end, it plans to release prototype web browsers for developers that will enable them to create "AR-enhanced websites and run them on both Android/ARCore and iOS/ARKit."</p> <h3>AR's breakout</h3> <p>Companies have been experimenting with AR for years and thanks to the breakout success of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality">Pokemon Go</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69374-star-wars-uses-ar-experiential-campaign-to-drive-people-in-store/">brands like Disney</a> are increasingly feeling comfortable enough to develop large campaigns around AR.</p> <p>With Google and Apple, the makers of the two most popular mobile operating systems, now offering AR platforms on which companies can build robust, high-performing AR apps for the masses, it seems safe to declare that it's no longer a matter of if AR will achieve mainstream ubiquity but when.</p> <p>In other words, thanks to ARCore and ARKit, it's likely that AR will be incorporated into apps across a wide variety of categories, not just games, within the next year. As such, brands would be wise to get ahead of the curve now and start taking AR seriously if they're not doing so already.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69374 2017-08-29T15:00:00+01:00 2017-08-29T15:00:00+01:00 Star Wars uses AR experiential campaign to drive people in-store Patricio Robles <p>The Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful ever in the history of movies and today, the success of the franchise actually depends more on merchandise sales than ticket sales. Last year, Star Wars generated more than $5bn in merchandise sales and was the leading driver behind a 4.4% increase in total licensed merchandise sales, a now-$260bn a year business.</p> <p>It therefore goes without saying that a big part of the success of <em>Star Wars: The Last Jedi</em> will depend on merchandise sales. But with the retail industry fighting for life, Disney faces a new challenge: making sure Star Wars fans go to the store. After all, while merchandise will be available online, the company simply can't shun offline merchandise sales.</p> <p>So Disney has decided to take a page from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality">Pokémon Go</a> playbook in an effort to get Star Wars fans into stores where it hopes they will buy merchandise. The entertainment giant is adding an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67713-augmented-reality-vs-virtual-reality-where-should-brands-focus">augmented reality</a> treasure hunt to its Star Wars iOS and Android apps. As detailed in <a href="http://www.starwars.com/news/announcing-force-friday-iis-find-the-force-ar-event">an announcement</a> on the Star Wars website:</p> <blockquote> <p>From September 1-3, retailers around the world will invite fans to Find the Force by taking part in an AR treasure hunt. Here's how it works: first, download the Star Wars app, which is your one-stop-shop for all things Star Wars (those who already have the app will need to download the latest version). Then, visit any one of 20,000 participating retail locations to find a graphic that contains the Find the Force logo. When you scan the graphic using the Star Wars app, you'll reveal a character, who through AR, will appear in the room with you. </p> </blockquote> <p>In total, there are 15 characters and Star Wars fans are being encouraged to go to participating locations all three days of the treasure hunt as new characters will be unveiled each day. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y0DuA0ERkTA?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Retailers in 30 countries are participating in Find the Force. In the United States, participating retailers include Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, Best Buy and Kohl's. In the UK, retailers include Smyths, John Lewis and HMV.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the Find the Force experience has been designed to be social media-friendly. The Star Wars app will allow users to take photos and record videos and then share them on social media using the hashtags #ForceFriday and #FindtheForce. Clearly, if Disney has its way, Find the Force will go viral and Star Wars fans won't be able to resist coming out of their houses and heading down to retail locations to get involved.</p> <h3>Not just a cool campaign, but a necessity?</h3> <p>On paper, Find the Force looks to be an innovative experiential marketing program that will test the longevity of the Pokémon Go concept, but it's also worth considering that it is also a demonstration of the fact that brands increasingly have no choice but to create bigger and bolder campaigns to capture attention, even for brand assets that have historically had a strong built-in fan base.</p> <p>This is particularly true when it comes to driving foot traffic, as the challenging retail market means that even Disney can't expect fans of one of its most popular franchises to go to stores and buy merchandise without a greater effort at engagement.</p> <p>As the New York Times' Brooks Barnes <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/business/media/to-get-people-in-stores-disney-offers-star-wars-treasure-hunt.html">observed</a>, "The effort illustrates what it now takes to generate excitement at traditional retail outlets, many of which have been struggling as online shopping continues to soar."</p> <p>The big question: will Find the Force actually work at driving foot traffic and will that foot traffic deliver merchandise sales?</p> <p>We will soon find out, but one thing is already abundantly clear: changing consumer shopping habits, particularly among Millennials and teenagers, have left even the most powerful brands without a formula to get consumers to go where they want them to go and they will increasingly have to look to new technologies like AR and trends like Pokémon Go for inspiration.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69124 2017-05-31T10:15:00+01:00 2017-05-31T10:15:00+01:00 The best social stories and campaigns from May 2017 Nikki Gilliland <p>Subscribers can also download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-quarterly-q2-2017/" target="_blank">Social Quarterly Q2</a> for a more in-depth look at all the social media news from the past few months.</p> <h3>Instagram launches face filters</h3> <p>First up is the introduction of augmented reality face filters into Instagram’s Stories platform. </p> <p>Hot on the heels of other Snapchat-style features like slideshows and disappearing messages, the eight face filters allow users to jazz up standard selfies with koala ears, nerdy glasses, and butterfly crowns.</p> <p>Despite the almost-identical nature, early reviews suggest that Instagram’s effort isn’t quite as slick as Snapchat’s, with the filters failing to track user movements quite so well.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6424/Instagram_face_filters.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="398"></p> <h3>#Nuggsforcarter sets Twitter record</h3> <p>Early in May, a chap named Carter stole Ellen DeGeneres’ crown for the most-retweeted Twitter post of all time – all in aid of his one-man crusade for chicken nuggets. </p> <p>Carter asked Wendy’s how many retweets he would need to win a year’s supply of nuggs, and while he failed to hit the fast food chain’s target of 18m, he still managed to beat DeGeneres’ former record with a total of 3,632,995 retweets to date. </p> <p>Wendy’s has also given into his request for nuggets every day for a year (probably much to the dismay of his doctor).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS <a href="https://t.co/4SrfHmEMo3">pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3</a></p> — Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) <a href="https://twitter.com/carterjwm/status/849813577770778624">April 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Snapchat’s growth rate disappoints</h3> <p>May saw Snapchat announce its first earnings report since its public IPO. The results were rather disappointing, as the platform reported 166m daily active users in the latest quarter, with a growth rate of just 5%. Its year-on-year growth rate also fell to 36% – down from 48% in Q4. </p> <p>Despite a slump in its growth, Snapchat did report positive earnings of $4.5m from its Spectacles and ‘other revenues’ in Q4 2016. </p> <h3>Dove’s personalised bottles</h3> <p>Dove is usually known for its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68127-a-closer-look-at-dove-s-anti-sexism-mybeautymysay-campaign/" target="_blank">positive and empowering</a> campaigns, but its latest ‘Real Beauty’ initiative turned out to be disappointingly patronising.</p> <p>The Unilever brand decided it would be a good idea to create limited edition bottles of its body wash, using six different shapes to represent the diversity of women’s bodies. We say no more.</p> <p>On the plus side, the campaign resulted in some genius tweets.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">thanks dove but i already found a bottle for my shape <a href="https://t.co/asuo1vci0O">pic.twitter.com/asuo1vci0O</a></p> — Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) <a href="https://twitter.com/carinahsieh/status/861652635727908864">May 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Sweden lists its whole country on Airbnb</h3> <p>It’s not often a country invites you to stay in it for free, but that’s exactly what Sweden has done with its recent collaboration with Airbnb.</p> <p>In celebration of the ‘Allemansrätten' principle – a law that allows people to roam freely in nature – VisitSweden listed itself on the accommodation site in order to raise awareness of the country’s rugged natural beauty and freedom.</p> <p>You can read more about why the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69109-why-visit-sweden-and-other-tourism-boards-are-teaming-up-with-airbnb/" target="_blank">tourism board partnered with Airbnb here</a>.</p> <h3>Evian babies take over Snapchat</h3> <p>The end of the month saw the return of the Evian babies, with the ‘Live Young’ campaign this time transferring from television screens to digital, out-of-home, and social media channels.</p> <p>The campaign shows the babies wearing oversized grown-up clothes, encouraging adults to remain young at heart. It also includes a Snapchat filter which is set to launch in the next few weeks, but that is already available via a Snapcode on millions of Evian bottles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6422/Evian_babies.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="561"></p> <h3>#StatusOfMind report reveals best and worst platforms for mental health</h3> <p>Also this month, The Royal Society for Public Health published a survey on the impact social media channels has on young people's mental health.</p> <p>The results suggest that Instagram has the worst impact, with respondents reporting a negative influence on body image, loneliness, and fear-of-missing-out. In contrast, YouTube was rated the best, ranking highly for its sense of community and access to emotional support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6421/Mental_health_report.JPG" alt="" width="770" height="135"></p> <h3>Walkers Crisps campaign backfires</h3> <p>Finally, a spectacular Twitter fail to end the month, as Walkers Crisps inadvertently featured the faces of notorious criminals in its latest campaign.</p> <p>For the chance to win Champions League Final tickets, users were asked to tweet selfies to be shown in an animated video featuring ex-footballer Gary Lineker. </p> <p>As well as blindly trusting football fans, the brand also made the rookie mistake of automating the competition, meaning that the faces of criminals including Fred West and Rolf Harris appeared in public tweets. </p> <p>Cue a hell of a lot of guffawing on social media.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">There's Gary Lineker with Joseph Stalin. Well done, Walkers. Well done. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalkersWave?src=hash">#WalkersWave</a> <a href="https://t.co/7jwMogLOdh">pic.twitter.com/7jwMogLOdh</a></p> — Ben (@Jamin2g) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jamin2g/status/867766729937735680">May 25, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><strong><em>To learn more on this topic, book yourself on to one of our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/">social media training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69122 2017-05-30T15:07:46+01:00 2017-05-30T15:07:46+01:00 Gatwick airport introduces AR navigation to help travellers pre-flight Nikki Gilliland <p>Essentially, the technology will provide an indoor navigation system (much like Google Maps) to help passengers find directions to wherever they need to go inside the airport. Here’s a bit more on the story as well as how it could do more than remove those panic-induced runs to the gate.</p> <h3>Simplifying the passenger experience</h3> <p>Due to the unreliable nature of indoor GPS, Gatwick has chosen to use a beacon-based system to enable ‘blue dot’ navigation on indoor maps. Alongside increased reliability, the battery-powered beacons also require less cost and complexity to install, with the new system reportedly taking just three weeks to complete.</p> <p>For passengers, the main benefit of the beacons will be to reduce the stress and anxiety of getting to the gate on time, taking away the need to constantly check for information on boards or ask staff. </p> <p>What’s more, it will also help passengers to navigate all other areas of the airport, helping them to find baggage carousels, check-in desks, and specific food and shopping outlets. </p> <p>This could be particularly useful for international passengers, who are likely to find it much easier to follow a visual map rather than written or spoken English. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6420/ar_gatwick.jpg" alt="ar gatwick" width="470" height="304"></p> <h3>Helping airline operations</h3> <p>While the beacon technology has already been integrated into some of Gatwick’s apps, the airport has suggested that it is keen to widen it out to airlines and other third party apps.</p> <p>This means that beacons could be used for more than just navigation. It all depends on user consent, of course, but it could allow airlines to send real-time messages and information to late or absent passengers – and even use their location to speed up departure times (if it is clear that the person will not make the flight within a certain timeframe).</p> <p>General operations on the ground could also be improved, with the technology allowing the airport to view and monitor queue density and other logistical factors that impact things like passport control.</p> <p>So, what about consumer privacy?</p> <p>According to Gatwick, no personal data will be collected other than generic information such as gender, and consent will remain paramount if third parties start to integrate the technology into their own apps.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6415/easyjet_gatwick.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <h3>Benefits for retailers   </h3> <p>Finally, the benefits could also extend to retailers operating in Gatwick, with the technology offering up huge potential for proximity-based marketing.</p> <p>Not only could it allow brands to send proximity-based offers and discounts, but to target and retarget customers based on more specific types of behaviour. For example, taking into consideration where they are in the airport, whether they have previously visited elsewhere, and even in terms of how they navigate the store and whether or not they make a purchase.</p> <p>With 75% of consumers reportedly using their mobile devices while shopping in-store, it could be a highly effective way to drive sales. What’s more, it also aligns with the growing trend of airport shopping as part of the over-arching travel experience – not just a way to while away half an hour before boarding. </p> <p>So, while it is good news for passengers, Gatwick’s new AR navigation system could be even greater news for retailers, with people perhaps even more inclined to spend money pre-flight.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6413/airport_shopping.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69018-how-airline-brands-are-improving-customer-experience-in-flight/">How airline brands are improving customer experience in flight</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/" target="_blank">Why travel retail is big business for beauty brands</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69093 2017-05-16T09:45:00+01:00 2017-05-16T09:45:00+01:00 How WAH Nails is using VR to enhance the salon experience Nikki Gilliland <p>For WAH Nails, a London-based nail brand and boutique, a desire to speed up the process prompted the creation of a virtual reality app for its new Soho salon.</p> <p>Here's a bit more on how WAH is using VR, as well as how it fits into the brand’s wider strategy to dazzle and delight young beauty consumers. </p> <h3>Functional rather than gimmicky</h3> <p>There are thousands of options to choose from when you visit a nail salon like Wah. It’s not just colour either – there are endless combinations of designs, overlays, and shades, meaning it's difficult for customers to even know where to start.</p> <p>So much so in fact that WAH decided to create a virtual reality app in order to streamline the entire process. However, the brand’s founder Sharmadean Reid was adamant that the technology be something customers would use long-term – not just as a one-off gimmick.</p> <p>The result was the WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer – an app that works with a Samsung Gear VR headset and on a Leap Motion device. </p> <p>When customers place their hands in front of the headset, they are able to select their skin colour and experiment with various digital designs. They can then either print it on the WAH Nail Printer, order the colours to be delivered at home, or send the designs to the in-house nail technician to use there and then. </p> <p>By showcasing designs in this way, the aim is to help customers better visualise how the nails will look in real life, as well as encourage greater experimentation. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6102/WAH_VR.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="434"></p> <h3>Extension of the experience-focused salon</h3> <p>It’s unsurprising that technology is a core component of WAH’s Soho salon. The brand has had a digital-first mind-set from the start, using its blog and social media to build on word of mouth popularity.</p> <p>The brand first began with a boutique in Dalston before expanding with a pop-up shop in Topshop. Gradually going on to establish a cult-like status, its two storey ‘salon of the future’ in Soho is a physical representation of the brand’s online presence. </p> <p>So, not only does the VR app serve a functional purpose, but it also fits in with the immersive nature of the entire salon experience. As part of the ‘play and discover’ area, it complements the bottom floor which includes a cocktail bar and hangout area for customers to enjoy before or after they’ve had their manicure.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6103/WAH_London.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="485"></p> <h3>Engaging with target demographic</h3> <p>It’s not unusual for beauty brands to use retail spaces to create immersive experiences. Estee Lauder’s flagship Carnaby Street store, Estee Edit, is just one example, using original features like a ‘selfie wall’ to engage customers.</p> <p>WAH Nails is similar. However, it is even more dedicated to reflecting the style and interests of its young demographic – typically made up of Generation Z and young millennials. </p> <p>Again, the VR app is an extension of this, taking inspiration from popular video games like the Sims and even Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Perhaps the latter has been an inspiration in an entrepreneurial sense, too. Last year, WAH’s founder Sharmadean Reid also released a collection of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories for ASOS, reflecting Kardashian's forays into ecommerce and technology. </p> <p>Incorporating a mix of slogan phrases and luxury sports-wear, it was guaranteed to appeal to the teens and twenty-somethings who already love the brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6104/WAH_London_ASOS.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="314"></p> <h3>Will nail salons become even more high-tech?</h3> <p>WAH’s VR app is certainly innovative, but it is interesting to note that it’s not exactly what the brand originally set out to create. </p> <p>The initial idea was an augmented reality app that would overlay nail designs onto hands – much like Snapchat face filters. However, with the realisation that this technology did not yet exist (and with too many issues over the similarity of skin and nail colour) the VR app was the second-best option.</p> <p>While AR for nails might be too progressive at this stage, perhaps it is a glimpse of what might be possible in future. Just like nail colours, the possibilities are seemingly endless.   </p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality/" target="_blank">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67834-why-virtual-reality-is-the-ultimate-storytelling-tool-for-marketers/" target="_blank">Why Virtual Reality is the ultimate storytelling tool for marketers</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68401-virtual-reality-content-marketing-s-next-big-trend/" target="_blank"><em>Virtual reality: Content marketing’s next big trend</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69049 2017-05-02T11:25:16+01:00 2017-05-02T11:25:16+01:00 The best social stories and campaigns from April 2017 Nikki Gilliland <h3>Airbnb introduces ‘humanless host’ on April Fool’s Day</h3> <p>Airbnb was just one of many brands to mark April Fool’s Day this year, using the opportunity to introduce the ultimate in home rental innovation – the ‘humanless host’. The ad features Brandon, a robot that – in Airbnb's own words – bridges the gap between ‘what is magical and what is easy’.</p> <p>Despite the convenience, it turns out technology can't always be trusted. Brandon eventually runs out of battery, proving why the human-approach isn’t so bad after all.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vpLy4D8Tg4Q?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Instagram reaches 700m monthly users</h3> <p>Instagram hit yet another milestone last month, announcing that it now has 700m monthly users. </p> <p>The platform’s growth appears to be accelerating at a rapid rate, with the news coming just four months after it reached 600m. This could suggest that it won’t be too long before it joins Facebook and WhatsApp in the one-billion-users club. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We’re thrilled to announce that our community has grown to 700 million. From all of us at Instagram, thank you! <a href="https://t.co/1ynZNkKf3m">https://t.co/1ynZNkKf3m</a> <a href="https://t.co/9FfCLvz4Fy">pic.twitter.com/9FfCLvz4Fy</a></p> — Instagram (@instagram) <a href="https://twitter.com/instagram/status/857218250509340672">April 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Pepsi criticised over tasteless ad</h3> <p>At the beginning of April, Pepsi released a controversial ad that appeared to trivialise the Black Lives Matter movement. It involved Kendall Jenner joining some kind of demonstration and magically defusing the situation with a good ol' can of pop.</p> <p>Despite Pepsi defending the ad, saying that it depicts ‘a moment of unity’, it was widely criticised for trivialising social justice in order to sell soft drinks. The ad was eventually pulled from YouTube and the campaign was cancelled.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5829/Pepsi.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="403"></p> <h3>Heineken uses real-life social experiment for ‘Open Your World’ campaign </h3> <p>In contrast to Pepsi's misjudged attempt, Heineken unveiled a campaign based on the premise that having a simple conversation over a beer can help bring people together – even those with jarring political beliefs. </p> <p>The ‘Worlds Apart’ ad involves a real-life social experiment whereby three sets of strangers with opposing beliefs were asked to complete a series of tasks together. Only later did they discover the extent of their differences, before being given a choice to leave or discuss things over a beer.</p> <p>The fact that the ad comes hot on the heels of Pepsi’s recent failure appears to be a coincidence, yet many have praised the beer brand’s mature and meaningful approach.  </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8wYXw4K0A3g?wmode=transparent" width="518" height="301"></iframe></p> <h3>LinkedIn reaches half a billion members worldwide</h3> <p>April was also a good month for LinkedIn, as the networking platform celebrated reaching 500m members worldwide. </p> <p>Brits appear to be particularly active on the platform, with 23m members coming from the UK alone. London also tops the list for the most connected city in the world, with users having an average of 307 connections. </p> <p>This comes after the platform unveiled a (controversial) redesigned version of its desktop site, complete with new messaging and search features. </p> <h3>Dolce &amp; Gabbana receives backlash over China campaign</h3> <p>Dolce &amp; Gabbana was another brand on the recieving end of criticism. This time, it was for using stereotypical images in its D&amp;GLovesChina campaign – part of promotional activity for its first Beijing fashion show.</p> <p>Social media users argued that the brand was glorifying ‘backward’ stereotypes instead of showing the progressive side of modern China. As a result, D&amp;G quietly removed the images from its Weibo and WeChat accounts. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5828/Dolce_and_Gabbana.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="450"></p> <h3>Burger King sneakily activates Google Assistants during ad</h3> <p>Burger King released a particularly clever ad last month, designed to activate Google Assistants on viewer’s phones and home devices. The 15-second video involves a Burger King employee leaning into the camera and asking “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?”</p> <p>However, Burger King was perhaps a little too sneaky for Google’s liking, as reports suggest that devices stopped responding to the prompt a few hours after the ad was launched.</p> <p>Google has not confirmed whether or not it updated software to prevent it. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U_O54le4__I?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Facebook unveils developments in F8 event</h3> <p>Finally, Facebook announced a number of developments during F8 last month, including new AR and VR technology.</p> <p>I recommend reading <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69013-what-do-facebook-s-new-vr-and-ar-platforms-mean-for-marketers/" target="_blank">Ben Davis's article</a> for an in-depth breakdown.  </p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/"><em>Social media training courses</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide/"><em>Social media best practice guide</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69016 2017-04-25T13:00:00+01:00 2017-04-25T13:00:00+01:00 Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality Nikki Gilliland <p>How exactly? Well it’s all down to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/5637-can-augmented-reality-be-a-commercial-success-for-e-commerce/" target="_blank">augmented reality</a>. </p> <p>Sephora is the latest brand to introduce AR into its app, with its ‘Virtual Artist’ feature allowing users to ‘try on’ different looks by overlaying make-up onto photos. A tutorials feature also demonstrates exactly how to achieve specific looks.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5543/Sephora_app.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="439"></p> <p>With brands like L’Oréal and OPI also offering users the chance to virtually experiment with beauty products, it’s becoming par for the course for big brands. Here’s just three reasons why.</p> <h4>Personalising beauty content</h4> <p>There’s certainly no shortage of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68087-six-brilliant-blogs-from-the-beauty-industry/" target="_blank">beauty-related content</a> online, with brands and influencers posting a constant stream of blogs, tutorials, hauls and ‘how-to’s. </p> <p>This means that consumers can find information about pretty much any product out there. However, what they <em>can’t</em> do is determine how it will look on their own face. </p> <p>Augmented reality introduces this concept, and along with it - real personalisation. Instead of watching an influencer demonstrate how to apply eyeliner, an AR feature like Sephora’s ‘Virtual Tutorial’ will tailor it to the user’s unique and individual features. </p> <p>Not only does this fulfil the learning aspect, but it makes the experience far more personal, which in turn, is also more memorable. </p> <h4>Adding an interactive element</h4> <p>While beauty content serves a functional purpose, it is mostly passive, with consumers merely watching videos or reading blogs to learn and discover. </p> <p>In contrast, there’s a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality/" target="_blank">gaming element to AR</a> which elevates it to something that can be purely entertaining. It also means that users can experiment with it in their own time, whether they want to use it to discover new products, learn techniques or just have fun. </p> <p>After all, there’s an experimental and nostalgic aspect to beauty that is really rather relatable. From trying your mum’s lipstick as a child to outlandish trends as teenagers – AR brings back the opportunity for self-expression and creativity, allowing make-up to become something fun and artistic again rather than a daily chore.</p> <p>It’s also time saving, of course, with technology allowing users to experiment without physically lifting a finger. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5544/L_oreal_make_up_genius.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="365"></p> <h4>Bridging the online and offline gap</h4> <p>According to Sephora, women buy the wrong colour foundation around seven times before finding the right shade. Of course, this tends to be the problem with buying anything online, with the absence of in-store help and advice resulting in poorly-judged purchases. </p> <p>AR solves this issue, allowing users to make smarter and better-informed decisions without the need to physically visit a store. </p> <p>Even better, AR also allows consumers to find products they would otherwise ignore or fail to notice.</p> <p>For instance, Iman Cosmetics has developed an app that helps users find their ‘colour signature’. As well as helping to find the right shade of foundation, this also means that it will recommend products to help match and complement unique skin tones and complexion types.</p> <p>So, will augmented reality lead to fewer beauty retail stores as a result? </p> <p>Not necessarily, because while AR certainly takes away the need for a physical shopping experience, it doesn’t remove the consumer’s desire for it. Yet with a multitude of brands demonstrating that AR technology can complement both online and offline shopping – we’re likely to see even more examples in future. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68689-how-the-beauty-industry-is-embracing-the-internet-of-things/" target="_blank">How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/" target="_blank">Why travel retail is big business for beauty brands</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67884-seven-ways-social-media-is-shaping-the-beauty-industry/" target="_blank">Seven ways social media is shaping the beauty industry</a></em></li> </ul>