Retail through a new lens: differentiate your shopping season strategy with AR
As the festive shopping season begins, brands who want to stand out from the rest should lean into innovative, immersive formats like augmented reality (AR). Here’s why.
The power of AR goes beyond brand discovery and engagement
To put it simply, retail has changed, and people are no longer shopping the way they used to. The world of commerce has shifted, and tomorrow’s retail showroom fits right in your pocket. Multiple behavioral shifts are taking place and the economic environment is challenging. For advertisers to cut through the clutter and capture the hearts, minds, and shopping dollars of consumers, they will need to pivot strategies and think outside the box to immerse their audiences in every moment of the shopping journey.
When planning for the festive shopping season, advertisers often mark tentpole events like Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve in their marketing calendars as opportunities to capitalize on moments where shoppers are expected to be in a spending frame of mind – but today’s reality is somewhat different now.
“The festive shopping season is made up of hundreds of ownable moments, big and small – from sharing that morning coffee routine to playing a game while waiting in line for that sale,” explains Fintan Gillespie, head of UK enterprise business solutions at Snap. “Each of these moments are an opportunity to connect with and convert shoppers, but brands who really want to stand out need to think beyond a single impression or celebration, consider every moment, and engage through immersive experiences.”
Make it personal
According to Deloitte, more than 100 million consumers are shopping with AR, both online and in store. Research commissioned by Snap Inc. shows that more than one in three global shoppers expect AR to be available now when shopping for items such as clothes, beauty, furniture, luxury, and cars, with two in five consumers expecting AR to be available in the coming year.
Why? Because AR offers consumers the opportunity to create an experience that they want. Given that 80% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, meeting these expectations is not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. And AR truly delivers, with 41% of brands more likely to be considered if they have a branded AR experience.
“The festive season in particular is a time when people get personal – celebrating relationships and finding the perfect gifts for friends, family, and themselves,” says Gillespie. “AR delivers personalization when it matters, and that’s what makes it invaluable. And what’s more personal than your face, your space, and your life? Whether it’s trying on glasses with an AR Lens or seeing how a product looks in a room, every shopper will have an AR experience designed to be relevant and feel more personal.”
These factors, along with the endless possibilities of AR, encourage consumers who use the technology to actively engage with brands, rather than mindlessly scrolling – and that drives attention, consideration, and retention. According to Publicis, seven out of the 10 top drivers for purchase intent are AR features – including product try-on, visualization, and smart features – versus more traditional ways of shopping like online display, video, and online marketplace search and suggestions.
Solve real business problems
When the busy festive shopping season hits, competition will be fierce. To break through the clutter and keep customers engaged, AR is a vital tool for advertising – but there are broader business and environmental benefits, too.
In a recent study commissioned by Snap, AR was proven to provide a 7-point lift in ad recall among those at the beginning of their purchase journey who were not immediately considering making a purchase. This represents a significant advantage for brands if they can be present at the point when shoppers begin making lists and shopping for friends and family.
With 80% of shoppers feeling more confident in their purchases when using AR, two in three say they are less likely to return a product as a result of using AR. When you consider that 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned and nearly 55% of consumers make online purchases knowing they’re likely to return at least some of the items, it’s clear that AR is helping to minimize returns while improving brand and product loyalty.
Find your point of difference
At a time when competition is high and brands need to differentiate themselves, immersive experiences will be essential in breaking through and building loyalty.
The power of AR goes beyond brand discovery and engagement – it also drives purchase intent and converted sales. According to Snap, Snapchatters who experienced a shoppable Lens were 2.4x more likely to purchase than those who didn’t, and those who saw a Lens drove 14% higher sales than those who saw video only.
By offering attention-grabbing, emotionally engaging, immersive experiences, ads become more memorable, and shoppers are more likely to convert, ultimately helping to achieve higher ROI. Having an always-on AR strategy to entice and engage their audience – at any time, from anywhere – gives advertisers the differentiator needed to cut through the clutter, build real connections, and drive performance in a shopping season unlike any other.
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