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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest eCommerce events of the year, but also the most competitive. With brands shelling out bigger and bigger discounts, it can feel like a race to the bottom. But there is another way to stand out and compete while also protecting your bottom line.

Augmented reality marketing can be even more powerful than discounts when it comes to grabbing attention and driving sales. But in combination, it's a sure-fire way to rocket boost Black Friday eCommerce sales. So why isn't everyone using AR marketing?

That's a great question, and the answer lies somewhere between the fact that mainstream access to AR is still relatively new, and also the fact that the full potential of AR marketing isn't for everyone. At least for now, some companies stand to benefit more than others from deploying this marketing tactic - as we'll explain further in this blog post.

Read on to discover more about what AR marketing is, which type of eCommerce players stand to benefit the most, the top 5 benefits and uses of AR marketing, how to find the right AR partner, and finally, tips to get started with AR in time for Black Friday!

What is Augmented Reality Marketing?

Augmented reality AR marketing is the application of AR to promote and sell products or services. In other words, the use of AR in marketing activities such as advertising, selling, and distributing. 

Although AR itself has been around for some time now, it's new as a marketing tool. And right now, it's one of the most powerful tools in a marketer's toolbox. 

According to the Drum, the best campaigns capture attention for over 85 seconds, increase interaction rates by up to 20%, and improve click-through rates to purchase by 33% – numbers that far exceed print, online, or television advertising.

To really understand these numbers, I want you to think of an example. It can be anything, like a new car, lipstick, or movie. What makes an ad or product page stand out? It's become all too easy to gloss over the photos while flipping through a magazine, change channels or keep scrolling when an ad comes up.

By comparison, an AR advertisement or interactive product page that gives the opportunity to immerse yourself in a brand or better select the right lipstick shade for you by virtually trying it on is not only more interesting, but it’s also powerful.

Which companies should consider using AR Marketing right now?

If you look at the data coming in from companies that are already successfully harnessing the potential of AR marketing, it's undeniable that the technology can have a major impact. For example, after introducing AR to their product pages, our ARsenal customers reported the following increases:

  • Rollie Nation generated a 39% increase in the monthly conversion rate compared to the previous year.
  • Buster + Punch recorded a 50% increase in time spent on product pages with AR functionality.
  • Cadena88 expanded into garden furniture and saw sales increase by 50% in the first year.

These case studies are impressive, but it's important to understand up-front why AR should not be seen as a silver bullet. Since the impact varies greatly according to which company is using it, what products they are using it for, and how well their marketing strategy is targeted and executed.

In other words, there are some companies for which AR might not be the best marketing tool. In addition, proper execution is also a determinant of success. Everything from how well-designed your marketing campaign is, to how seamless the online shopping experience, and whether or not you are using the highest-quality 3D models and AR tools.

AR is also better suited to some products over others. For example, the value-add of AR is significantly greater where the size and shape is a factor. Similarly, experiential marketing and AR stunt advertising, for example, will suit some brand identities better than others. And lastly, there's the question of who and where your customer is. 

Factors to consider for AR marketing success:

AR marketing can help solve important customer problems, such as making sure that a product perfectly fits in the space it’s meant for.
  • Product category: When it comes to product marketing, AR does two things:
  1. It solves the very practical problem of giving customers the ability to visualize true-to-life products within their own environment, which will be more advantageous for some products than others. Think sofas, paintings, rugs, and coffee makers, over things like toothpaste, underwear, or bedding.
  2. It delivers a wow factor for products that stand to gain from that level of attention. Think of a brand new sports car or designer purse versus something more everyday and ordinary, like a deodorant or power tool.
  • Identity and expectations: For now, AR marketing strategies are still new and trendy, embraced by forward-thinking companies keen to adopt the latest trends. For others, it's a matter of keeping up with customer expectations. And those expectations will vary by company and industry.
  • Target market: As a new technology, the demographics of the approximately 1 billion people that are already active users of AR is another consideration. Within this user group, the mix of ages, socio-economics, and geography suggest several distinct target groups to keep in mind. In general, acceptance of immersive tech was given a major boost as the pandemic pushed more consumers to shop online, and a reason why some earlier AR marketing efforts failed to catch on.  

Top 5 Augmented Reality Marketing Benefits

Another AR use case that’s taking off is in buying shoes. Customers love the ease of flipping through multiple pairs much faster than the physical way.

Now that we've seen what augmented reality marketing is, and which types of companies are best positioned to take advantage of this emerging trend, let's build the case for using AR as a Black Friday marketing strategy a little further. By taking a look at the benefits that AR marketing has to offer eCommerce.

1. Capture customer attention and stand out from the competition 

If your product or brand is a natural fit for AR, now is the time to get in and get ahead of the game. Because when it comes to capturing customer attention, the data is very clear. AR marketing will get you noticed. According to Statista, retail will be 5% of total AR use by next year and forecasted to reach 31% within 2 years. Already sectors like gaming (34%), healthcare (15%), and engineering (14%) have a much higher early adoption. That means that the playing field is wide open for retailers to engage and attract consumers using AR. Eventually, AR will lose its novelty. But right now, its potential has barely been scratched.

2. Reduce return rates by helping customers make better-informed purchase decisions

AR technology makes it possible for companies to better communicate and sell their products or services, while also enabling customers to make better-informed purchase decisions through the ability to virtually try and test products at home. As a result, companies that have adopted AR report significant decreases in return rates, as the increase in information helps to answer customer questions and eliminate consumer doubt.

3. Drive sales and higher conversion rates by offering a better shopping experience

AR-enabled product pages offer customers a much better online shopping experience. You don't have to pull out a measuring tape or go down to the store or strain your imagination when you can visualize the product in true-to-size dimensions right where it counts. Whether that's a painting on a wall or a piece of furniture in a room, or even a fashion accessory like a pair of sunglasses, AR helps simplify the shopping journey leading to higher conversion rates and sales.  

4. Build better brand affinity and customer loyalty

According to research by Thrive Analytics, 73% of consumers reported either satisfaction or very high satisfaction after using mobile AR. And high customer satisfaction is a cornerstone of customer loyalty. Companies already using 3D and augmented reality solutions also report that it has helped them build better brand affinity through giving customers more immersive, memorable, and unique experiences of their products and brand. In fact, it's been reported that customers are even willing to pay more for the convenience.

5. Bridge the gap between your eCommerce and physical stores

AR and eCommerce are often seen as a threat to brick and mortar stores. But it can be the opposite. Research by Lumusvision shows that 61% of respondents actually prefer to shop in stores that offer augmented reality experiences compared to those that don't. For many, AR is helping to revive traditional stores by offering potential customers a new augmented reality experience and a wider range of choices than what an individual store can physically stock, especially convenient for companies with a large physical inventory. In this way, AR helps bridge the gap between the two outlets by enhancing the in-store experience, and then letting customers bring the experience home.

How to Find the Right AR Partner

Big companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google are throwing some serious investment into building out the next generation of 3D and AR capabilities through the internet and tech. And their involvement is great news for the future of the global AR market. According to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, “AR will be as important as eating three meals a day.” While Mark Zuckerberg recently went on the record to say that, “We believe that [AR] is going to be the successor to the mobile internet.”

But augmented reality technology is not exclusive to the bigger players. In fact, it's actually become really affordable and cost-effective. Anyone can learn how to get started with AR and implement augmented reality on their website with ARsenal by CGTrader for the cost of a 3D model. With prices per model starting at 50 USD, that's definitely within the range of most budgets. Not only has the cost of AR fallen significantly, but it will continue to decline as the technology matures.

While the costs are indeed low, finding the right AR partner is important to ensure the highest quality. A high-quality 3D model of a product will be virtually indistinguishable from a real-life photograph, and if the AR plug-in or embed is done properly, there should be no wonky load or downtime.

As the augmented and virtual reality market continues to grow, the number of companies offering AR functionality is on the rise. In the business for over 10 years, CGTrader is one of the first 3D players and today trusted by 150+ Fortune500 companies. With a growing customer base that includes Made.com, Elsie, and Rebecca Minkoff, CGTrader’s B2B arm ARsenal provides major eCommerce players with interactive 3D and AR experiences directly through an all-in-one platform that works with all the main eCommerce providers.

How to Get Started with AR Before Black Friday

If new to AR, it's not too late! You can still offer a unique AR experience on your eCommerce site easily and quickly - in time for the big Black Friday event. Here's how to do it.

  • Select a batch of bestselling products, or those earmarked for Black Friday discounts. We recommend starting with a smaller batch first and gradually transition your full product line.
  • Convert products to low-poly 3D models using ARsenal's world-class platform that makes it easy to request and approve models, as well as store and distribute your files.
  • Embed our 3D and AR viewer by copy-pasting the automatically generated code from our platform into your eCommerce back-end. Here's a quick guide on how to embed 3D solutions on any eCommerce platform.
  • Update your product descriptions. Complete, catchy, and up-to-date copy is an important element of your product page. If AR is a new offering for your customers, let them know about it!
  • Create a new category page with your AR-enabled products so that customers can easily navigate through this group of products.
  • Run a marketing campaign to spread the word about your new AR capability. And include a banner on your homepage to redirect customers to your brand new AR product pages.
  • Measure and record the growth to see how consumers interact with your new product pages and explore the true brand value of AR.
  • And follow these 15 top website conversion optimization tips! 

Get in touch and start creating immersive AR experiences today.

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How to use Augmented Reality Marketing to boost Black Friday eCommerce sales

Lara Oliveira is a Content Writer at CGTrader ARsenal. A meticulous researcher and copywriter, Lara has over a decade of B2B experience writing for wildly different industries - now focused on 3D and AR in eCommerce. Thanks to an odd childhood growing up around the world, Lara speaks 5 languages, and in her remaining spare time, writes a food, travel, and lifestyle blog.

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