Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and quick response (QR) can all easily bring customers and brands closer together, in a more immersive, interactive, and practical way than ever before. In the early stages development, these technologies were met with some understandable skepticism from consumers, but now the brands harnessing these technologies are those reaping the rewards. The Apple Vision Pro (launching in 2025) aims to combine AR and VR to create a fully immersive computing product. While this has been dubbed the critical point for immersive technology entering the mainstream, early adopters have been using it to their advantage for the past decade. Over a third of companies outperforming their forecasts have fully integrated digital strategies, while over 50% of CEOs have attributed a spike in revenue to digital improvements.
The brands embracing immersive technology for all the right reasons:
IKEA uses AR technology to overlay virtual products into the real world. Specifically, they have developed an AR-based kitchen planning tool that allows customers to customise and arrange surfaces, cabinets, appliances, and accessories making it quicker and easier to arrive at a desired layout and aesthetic.
By developing advanced AR recognition filters, Vice were able to curate an alternative experience of the British Museum: The Unfiltered History Tour. To address the controversial subject of looted historical artefacts from countries including Egypt, China and Nigeria, Vice encouraged museum goers to scan the items on display for an unbiased take on where, when, and why the objects were stolen.
Amazon has leveraged AI to implement virtual product placement (VPP) within Prime Video. This is a post-production technique that allows marketers to insert relevant products or branded content into existing scenes, all of which can be fine-tuned to the specific streamer. Get ready, your favourite show’s about to collaborate with your favourite brand.
Patagonia has swapped out physical product tags for QR codes, which are printed directly onto the lining of their clothes. Customers can now simply scan the code to access washing, material, and measurement information. Not only does this deliver a more engaging experience for the customer, but Patagonia have seen significant reductions in packaging waste.
Tottenham Hostpur F.C.
Since 2022, Tottenham Hotspur FC have offered VR experiences to prospective season ticket holders. By experiencing the exact same stadium view that they will have on matchday, fans can be confident that the seat they’re selecting has the best view in the house.
What steps can brands make to embrace digital transformation?
There are a few things that all brands can do to embrace interconnectivity and improve the customer experience:
- Develop a clear strategy. Brands need to develop a clear strategy for how they’ll use interconnectivity to improve the customer experience. This strategy should be based on the brand’s overarching goals and objectives, and more importantly, should be used to overcome an existing hurdle.
- Invest in the right technologies. Brands need to invest in the right technologies to create immersive and interactive experiences for customers. The cost will vary significantly depending on the complexity of your project; generating a QR code for an exhibition stand will set you back nothing, whereas building an AI chatbot for your services will require time and money to develop effectively.
- Invest in the right people. Investing in the right software is meaningless if there’s nobody on your side who can use it. Building immersive solutions can often be a complex process requiring development from industry specialists.
- Test and learn. Brands need to be willing to test and learn as they implement interconnectivity. It’s important to pay close attention to customer usage data to identify what works and what doesn’t, and to improve processes over time.
By embracing immersive technology, brands can create more engaging and memorable experiences for customers while simultaneously tackling other challenges like ESG, accessibility or growing audiences. So, whether it’s reducing the need for product returns through AR or replacing physical menus with QR, it’s no surprise that 52% of marketers consider digital transformation their top driver for growth.