Augmented and Virtual reality made their way in our lives through science fiction tales, television movies and numerous others. From the early 1950s, creative mind from all over the world introduced us to a world beyond our wildest imagination even though the supporting technology was considered light-years away. The term "Augmented Reality" itself was coined by Tom Caudell, one of the Boeing researchers, in 1990. Before that, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality did not have a clear distinction. In the '00s, things began to change rapidly - we saw more and more business taking advantage of the new tech.
As the companies are now realizing the importance of AR and are focused on bringing what we saw as friction years back, Statista estimates that the augmented and virtual reality market will grow to $156 billion in the year 2021. The Global market is forecast to reach a value of $70.01 billion by 2023. Investment in AR has steadily increased in the past few years, and more recently, the technology has generated renewed interest from big brands.
But, despite the significant hype and investment surrounding these technologies, the AR market is still in its infancy stage and unsettled even among those driving innovation. Various factors play a significant role so as to why the brands are uncertain in adopting the AR technology for their products. Let us take you through various such factors which need to be overcome to bridge the gaps in the AR usage for the brands.
Uncertainty of the Potential success
One of the weirdest things about Augmented Reality technology is that despite experiencing broad adoption and mass public acceptance - it still has to create a benchmark of success. The industry is doing fine. There is a steady flow of investments in the augmented reality app market, and the general background is more than positive. However, all these investments are yet to pay off big time. Part of the reason is that no one had figured a distinct AR-related Business Model that will work long-term. Some startups focusing on the technology have encountered challenges that remind people it does not have a built-in return on investment.
The issues dealt with by some AR startups should not become a reason for the marketers to shy away from it entirely.
Obstacles in advertising for retail-
One of the main obstacles with AR for e-commerce and online retail is not providing enough content but also the most appropriate content for online shoppers. Brands are focusing on the use of AR for digital marketing, which promotes the new product via the AR app, encouraging more use of the app to create a channel to promote products with discounts or other deals.
This comes with additional challenges, however, like, for example, how do you reach AR shopping app users if they don’t log into the application? This forces brands to advertise their new AR product content either on the web, by print content or some other means of promotion.
LEGO found one innovative solution to this, the Digital Box, which allows customers to use their AR app to see inside of the physical box at store locations. In this way, shoppers can view and interact with the content in the store, as well as find additional deals and promotions.
Different customers have different needs and requirement. What one shopper desires in an AR shopping experience, others might find it completely useless. This is why the brands need to pay special attention to each individual shopper and tailor the application to the user's needs. Many brands find it difficult to create a platform where versatility can be achieved keeping in mind the need of the customers.
In this case, things like special features, search options, filters, purchase history and more can help retailers rise to the challenge and allow them the ability to analyze shopper behavior and meet various needs to support users with personalized content that interests them.
Return-on-Investment Measurement Difficulties
Another challenge could arise if marketers want to use AR but realize it’s more difficult than anticipated to measure the return on investment.
In January 2018, Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey to get more details about marketers’ experiences with using AR. When asked about the barriers preventing them from increasing their AR spending, 42% of the marketing executive polled mentioned that it was difficult to measure the impact or return on investment (ROI) regarding AR. Similarly, 27% said they did not have robust measuring capabilities.
Those findings are troublesome, especially if marketing team members are fully on board about working with AR but need to get nods of approval from their superiors first. If people admit they don’t have effective ways to measure the ROI, the decision-makers at a company could understandably assert that they need concrete proof of the payoff before allocating funds for AI investments.
Uncertainty About Which AR Investments Make Sense
Since AR is a relatively new technology, companies have few models they can use to emulate the success of past projects. AR hit the mainstream thanks to “Pokémon Go,” but it’s not feasible for dozens of other businesses to take the same approach as that app.
As such, some brands faltered with their AR investments because those efforts capitalized on the “wow” factor but didn’t deliver enough substance. Sometimes, companies make AR experiences that merely project an image into the real-world environment. However, it’s preferable to use AR in ways that enhance a person’s world and don’t use novelty as a crutch. When they investigate how to make AR applicable to audiences, the marketing teams at many companies will likely have disagreements about how to proceed with a campaign. When that happens, companies may end up going with the concepts that look flashy and grab momentary attention but do not generate lasting impressions on a viewer.
The Future of Augmented reality
As more and more retailers overcome the challenges in adopting and supporting viable AR shopping apps, wider adoption among retailers will surely happen over time. This means that the competition among retailers for the best product experience as well as marketing will only increase, and the race to further develop this emerging mobile technology will be in full swing. It also means that demand for affordable and versatile solutions for creating 3D models for AR shopping apps will develop and that retailers should start considering these solutions sooner rather than later.
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