“Augmented reality” (AR) can already seem pretty niche. However, it encompasses different approaches and capabilities. Here, we’ll look at nine different classes of AR and real-world use cases of businesses using these technologies to grow.

1. Product Visualization 

AR brings products into shoppers’ living rooms. With life-like 3D renderings and textures, customers can examine products in detail before purchasing. Product visualization closes the gap between seeing an item online and in-person by getting as close to the product as you want with real-world scale. 

Fashion 

Product visualization is particularly successful with fashion accessories like purses, shoes, hats, and glasses. Experiencing these products in AR provides a sense of size and material before purchasing, increasing conversion and reducing returns. In 2020, ROSE designed an AR experience for fashion brand Khaite that allowed users to explore their latest shoe line, resulting in a 400% increase in sales. 

Furniture And Decor 

Visualizing furniture using AR allows shoppers to understand the size of the furniture in their available space. Shoppers can be sure of their color and material choices by seeing furniture in the space it will occupy and directly compare furniture options. AR also helps consumers pick out other decor like paint, art, or decals. 

Deloitte reported that AR helps home-goods companies lower returns. Companies like Ikea, Wayfair, and Sherwin Williams already incorporate AR into their apps. Pinterest has also recently incorporated augmented reality into some home decor pins. 

Automotive 

Showcasing cars in AR allows shoppers to save time at the dealership and compare car models from home. AR allows users to experience interior and exterior features of the vehicle, even what the engine sounds like – all from home. According to WardsAuto, the time spent car shopping has gone down as car shopping has gone online.

Using AR also allows dealerships to have fewer cars in inventory by allowing multiple customers to explore the same vehicle at the same time, in AR. Beginning in 2017, Jeep utilized such an AR initiative, which they have since used to put virtual cars in driveways as well as demo new vehicles at trade shows. 

Large Scale Appliances 

Visualizing large appliances like ovens, refrigerators, and washer/dryers in AR provides opportunities to compare sizes, finishes, and features in shoppers’ homes. This increases confidence in their purchasing decision. The Best Buy app has an AR viewer for this reason.

AR tours and support empower consumers to get the most out of your product, increasing loyalty to your brand and satisfaction with your product. Vodafone’s real-time assistance program decreased technician dispatch rates and increased customer satisfaction scores.

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)

Product visualization for CPG saves time and money in design and manufacturing. Using AR allows you to test different packaging designs before manufacturing. 

Using AR streamlines the design approval process and provides confidence in the end product because AR shows you what the final product will look like in 3D. It also allows you to preview designs next to the competition without manufacturing a prototype. 

2. Product Customization 

What do customers like more than finding a product they love? Designing a product they love. If shoppers can’t see the product they’re customizing, this joy becomes a nightmare. AR can help.

Automotive 

AR enables consumers to customize vehicles in real time. This allows showrooms and dealerships to save on floor space, and purchase less inventory. The Jeep experience discussed above doesn’t just drop an AR vehicle in the world. It provides a dynamic experience so shoppers can see their future vehicle as they personalize it in real time.

Furniture 

Customers can customize their furniture in AR, changing things like material, color, size, and finishes, seeing changes in real time. This provides the ability to confidently purchase from the comfort of shoppers’ homes while allowing showrooms to keep less inventory.

When shoppers use AR and order directly from a manufacturer or retailer, it increases buying options. It also decreases shipping, showing, and storing on the part of the retailer.

Wine And Spirits

Users can make one-of-a-kind AR packages for custom gifts. ROSE worked with Patron Tequila to create the Virtual Bottle Wrapper, allowing users to customize gifts and send them to loved ones to view in AR. 57% of users who customized an AR bottle then purchased Patron themselves. 

Fashion 

Customers can apply materials, decals, and finishes to accessories and garments, view in AR, and directly purchase. This pairs with the next kind of AR that we’ll look at, virtual try-on.

AR items can exist solely as a virtual object, increasing brand connection and awareness without physical production costs. Digital-only fashion house The Fabricant has even partnered with well-known brands like Adidas, Puma, and Under Armor.

3. Product Try-On 

Virtual try-ons allow shoppers to view cosmetics, clothing, and accessories, as the physical product would appear. This can drive sales of a product, or provide a fun branded experience.

Make-up + Hair 

Buying makeup and hair products online is usually a game of chance. (And don’t get us started on sample cosmetics at brick-and-mortar locations!)

The typical process consists of customers guessing their skin tone against a provided photo and buying the product, only to have it come and realize that it looks wrong with their complexion. AR takes the guesswork out of the process, increasing satisfaction, sales, and brand loyalty. 

Clothing + Accessories 

AR try-on allows customers to see how different styles, colors, and items look on them. These tools are already popular within the accessories industry and are increasingly popular for clothing.

Tenth Street Hats increased its conversion rate by 52% and increased its revenue per user by 41.8% for shoppers using their try-on app. Helping consumers make educated purchases by viewing the product on themselves decreases returns.

4. Brand Mascot Visualization 

You can create animated 3D brand mascots and have them come to life and interact with your customers. Whether it’s teaching about your product or underscoring brand messaging, this is a great way to immerse customers in your brand.

5. Face Filters 

The world of face filters is incredibly broad and provide great ways to connect with consumers. Face filters can alter the user’s appearance and/or their background. Increasingly, we are seeing trends with gamified face filters becoming popular.

Instagram and Snapchat already have built-in audiences – Snapchat alone has 200 million daily AR users.  Cosmetics retailer Kiehls is active on Snapchat, advertising products and promoting lifestyle causes close to the brand while inviting users to do the same.

6. AR Games 

AR games keep users engaged for longer periods of time than traditional media. Since games also engage a user’s emotions, they build stronger connections. AR games can feature your product, underscore a company story, or promote values. Use the game to encourage shoppers to do things like visit store locations or hunt digital collectibles from enhanced packaging.

7. Portals 

Portals are the perfect way to fully immerse your customers in a pure expression of your brand or a specific campaign from anywhere in the world. No longer do customers need to be in specific locations to attend launch events – they can visit a virtual event using an AR portal.

There are no limitations around physical locations, physics, or elements that can be present in the space. Create something otherworldly, or recreate something as iconic as your brand flagship. Users explore the space by walking and interacting with objects. You can even allow users to purchase the items they see represented in the space. 

8. Enhanced Packaging 

Physical packaging is the first thing consumers notice when looking at products. Combining AR with physical packaging allows deeper communication with your customer.

Use AR Enhanced Packaging To: 

  • Reveal nutritional/sourcing information
  • Give the customer inspiration for recipes, or product uses
  • Explain product benefits 
  • Show how the product is made 
  • Bring your brand mascot to life 
  • Brand/product trivia and games
  • Provide instructions 

A great example of enhanced packaging is the 19 Crimes “Living Wine Labels.” With a mobile app, users see the real-life character on each bottle come to life and tell their story.

9. Alpha Video

Using alpha video (green screen video) for AR experiences brings people into a user’s environment without using volumetric capture, which is costly and heavy in file size. By making sure the alpha video always faces the user, the user isn’t aware that the person isn’t 3D. 

Fashion 

Use alpha video to bring your runway to life inside shoppers’ homes. Shoppers can see how the clothing items and accessories fit into their lives and how they move. This is how Rose made the Khaite runway experience linked above.

Utilizing Brand Ambassadors 

Bring celebrity brand ambassadors into your customer’s living room. Think Kaley Cuoco telling you about Priceline or Isaiah Amir Mustafa talking to you about Old Spice–on a horse of course.

AR Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

AR can do a lot of things. The question isn’t “can your brand use AR?” The question is “How can your brand use AR – and which flavor of AR is right for you?”