How Are Augmented Reality And SEO Linked?

Firstly, it is well documented that Google has invested heavily in AR through recent years and at Google IO one of their presenters stated that: “they’re actively seeking out ways to make it easier for companies and users to create immersive augmented reality experiences.” It therefore makes sense that a technology which they see as so pivotal for society now, and in the future, plays favourably with their rankings.

Next, Google has incorporated AR into their search page functionality, meaning people browsing a SERP (search engine result page) can access an AR experience directly, which creates a more optimal digital experience.

Finally, there are a number of known factors that are important for SEO which tie in seamlessly with an AR experience. With the advent of ‘WebAR’, which allows shoppers to access an AR experience directly from a web browser vs. app, these benefits have suddenly broadened the reach of AR in everyday consumer behaviour.

What Are These Factors?

1) Dwell time: AR experiences on the product page boost dwell time as shoppers stay longer to experience a product in AR, which is widely known to boost search engine ranking. An example of this from Eyekandy is ‘try on lipstick’ which saw people spending over 80 seconds within the experience trying on the different shades.

2) Mobile usability: AR experiences are optimised for mobile devices which is critical as more than half of all Google searches are conducted from mobile devices. Google also announced years ago that they were rewarding mobile friendly sites within search rankings.

3) Bounce rate: In a study by SEMRush, they found a correlation between bounce rate and Google rankings. Data produced by Eyekandy’s Point & Place® platform shows AR can help reduce bounce rate.

4) Repeat traffic: AR is inherently social with consumers wanting opinions of family and friends when considering product purchases. The Point & Place® platform drives the ‘sharing’ of an AR experience on the shoppers’ device, which in turn leads to repeat traffic.

What Does This Mean?

With Gartner taking AR off of their ‘hype list’ in 2020, it is a clear sign that it is now a mature technology driving business. With greater technological advances year-over-year and as more brands and retailers implement activations, we continue to learn more about the benefits it provides, such as SEO gains.

 

One thing is for sure, AR is only going to become more prevalent in all aspects of our lives with the huge investments tech giants are making in it. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in reference to AR: You rarely have a new technology where business and consumer both see it as key to them.”

Augmented Reality (AR) solutions in commerce have become increasingly popular amongst marketers as they look to enhance the customer journey. This should not be a surprise to anyone reading this article, given AR provides shoppers with the tools and resources needed to make more informed purchase decisions, while elevating the brand as one that is progressive in their connections strategy. However, setting clear KPIs to measure the success of an AR experience is often more of a discussion point that still doesn’t have clear industry standards.

One question that I often receive during an initial conversation with a prospective client about augmented reality is whether AR is worth the investment. Now, as the Chief Marketing Officer of an AR Agency one would think that my immediate answer is “Yes, that’s pretty obvious!” However, I wholeheartedly believe a successful activation comes down to understanding what a brand marketer is looking to achieve and whether the creative experience and promotion of it can deliver on their objectives.

For example, if you are a consumer electronic, appliance or furniture brand that is looking to achieve more sales, then it makes sense to look at the increase in add-to-cart rate for AR. In fact, our recent Global Augmented Reality Shopping Index provides brands with benchmarks from Eyekandy on what you can expect for performance when implementing AR solutions.

The same measurement strategy does not apply to all industries. For example, CPG or Beauty brands looking to achieve sales from AR activated in retail may not see a high level of return from their investment. From a marketing perspective, I understand the challenge of needing to prove ROI over softer metrics like engagement and brand affinity; however, it is important to be honest with ourselves on what AR can achieve today.

To help guide you on measuring augmented reality; I’ve outlined a few KPIs that will help CPG brands adopt AR as a core strategy to drive innovation and keep your shoppers engaged.

COLLECT CUSTOMER DATA FOR REMARKETING

Engaging in an AR experience allows a brand to build their marketing database by capturing shopper information. By keeping the data capture simple, you now have the opportunity to derive new insights on who your customers are and can market new promotions and offers to them.

We recently partnered with Bacardi to create a fun in-store shopper marketing activation to launch everyone’s favorite carnival game — the Bacardi Augmented Reality Fruit Cannon Game. By using gamification techniques for free swag, Bacardi was able to build their marketing database by capturing contact information that can later be used for their remarketing efforts.

DRIVE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT IN-STORE

In-store activations using augmented reality offer an opportunity to empower shoppers to share their experience at POS across social channels; driving brand advocacy moments and helping to increase footfall to the retailer.

A good example of this is a recent activation we created with Marks & Spencer for their iconic brand Percy Pig™. Through the use of impactful FSDUs, strong promotion across their owned media assets and a call-to-action to share on social media; we were able to surprise and delight shoppers with a moment in the spotlight to dance with Percy. This simple, yet impactful activation went viral across Instagram with shoppers sharing their experience directly from inside Marks & Spencer stores.

INCREASE BRAND INTERACTION VIA DWELL TIME

Unlike more passive forms of media, Augmented Reality surrounds shoppers in an immersive environment that requires an opt-in to enter the experience. This results in a highly engaged consumer that will spend a significant amount of time (aka dwell time) interacting with your brand.

For example, we partnered with Cazadores RTD (ready-to-drink) to launch a connected packaging experience to discover the brands Mexican heritage that is packed in every can. The experience includes multiple interactive modules that provide information on the product and fun surprises to keep the user engaged. To date, we have seen a 3x lift in dwell time when compared to an average 15 second TV spot.

Can you imagine a world in marketing where someone viewed your commercial multiple times in a row? We sure can with Augmented Reality.

PROVIDE EDUCATION AND INNOVATION AT POINT OF SALE

Most CPG brands have faced the dilemma of investing millions of dollars into national media campaigns only to have their shopper confused at shelf on which product to buy once they are at the shelf of a retailer. With more product SKUs available than ever and increased competition from private label brands, augmented reality is a powerful channel to educate people at shelf about why your product is a better solution. These activations can be launched from the packaging itself using image recognition technology or via a QR code that is placed on pack or on a shelf wobbler.

Our recent work with a leading healthcare company educated shoppers at POS on the dry eye category and why their product helps across all symptoms. We developed a Brand Avatar that was launched at a leading retailer to explain the category and product benefits. It was a winning strategy for both the brand and retailer to leverage innovation in their shopper marketing efforts to drive growth!

In conclusion, I do believe we are arm’s length away from augmented reality becoming a sales driving channel for categories like CPG. However, this requires greater adoption of the retailers to integrate this engaging platform into the day-to-day shopping experiences across all their assets –– ranging from in-store to print and online. Until that day becomes reality (no pun intended), CPG brand should be rigorously testing and learning from AR to drive brand affinity, engagement and advocacy moments. The more prepared brands are for the AR shift in retail categories like Mass and Grocery, the greater the opportunity they will have to win with shoppers.

Are you looking to revolutionize the shopper journey with AR?
BOOK A MEETING with our experts today for a consultation.

 

The internet has fundamentally changed the way we shop; providing consumers with the ease and convenience of being able to make purchases from anywhere, and at anytime. In fact, a recent story on CNBC and data from the NRF (National Retail Federation) states that online sales account for 23% of the $4.53 Trillion of total US Retail Sales in 2021. However, there is a headache brewing for retailers and suppliers as this channel grows to become a significant share of total volume sales — nearly $761 Billion worth of merchandise is returned annually. In fact, the return of products purchased online increased to approximately 20.8% by the end of 2021. That is a daunting percentage of unsatisfied consumers and a big expense when you think about costs like free shipping that reduces your margins.

In order to thrive in a digital first economy, retailers must deploy new strategies to reduce returns to drive a healthy business for their shareholders. This is where tools like shopping in Augmented Reality play a critical role in driving long term value for both the shopper, the retailer and the products they sell. Augmented Reality reduces the imagination gap by letting people place products in their environment to see the physical dimensions before making a purchase. By allowing customers to virtually “try before they buy,” you’ll provide them with more information that will reduce return rates. In fact, recent findings from Eyekandy Insights has uncovered that 63.33% of shoppers state that they would favor a retailer that offers Augmented Reality services over one that does not. And, Shopify has even reported that returns decrease by as much as 40% when AR/3D visualization is added.

SO, WHAT ARE SOME EASY TACTICS THAT RETAILERS AND SUPPLIERS CAN DEPLOY IMMEDIATELY TO SOLVE THE RETAIL RETURN DILEMMA?

It does not matter if you are selling consumer electronics, furniture or cosmetics, implementing Augmented Reality on the product description pages of all ecommerce channels is the foundation to your AR strategy. Services, like Eyekandy’s Point & Place® platform allows you to easily scale AR features to enhance the on site shopping experience. The added benefit is that AR makes shopping more fun for the consumer.

Once you have a solid foundation in place; there are additional tactics you can deploy to assist the customer along on the path to purchase.

AR SALES AVATARS ‘BOTTLE THE LIGHTNING FOR THE PERFECT PITCH

Utilize AR Sales Avatars to help educate shoppers on product benefits. This technology uses animated avatars or volumetric holograms to place your best salesperson in the shoppers space to deliver the perfect pitch. It fuels shopper confidence to make an informed purchase decision, while bringing the ‘art of storyselling’ to your category and product description pages. A major benefit in executing Avatars is 100% control over the narrative on the exact product attributes and features that you want to highlight in a minute or less.

For instance, when a user visits the Product Description Pages (PDPs) of Intel® Evo™, they can launch an AR Sales Avatar that Eyekandy created to tell the brands story of purposeful technology in a highly innovative way.

BLEND LIVE VIDEO WITH AR TO BOOST SHOPPER CONFIDENCE

Integrating Live Chat technology with Augmented Reality is a great way to bring your actual in-store sales team into the consumers home for higher consideration items. From that new workout equipment to your baby registry, live video allows your sales team to guide the shopper on a journey, while consulting them on how the product fits (or looks). It’s a more personalized approach that brings human elements to shopping in AR.

For example, Ebuyer uses live video technology to sell more laptops. As a digital pure play, many of their products are high end servers that require a face to face conversation for the buyer to fully understand the technicalities. The more they can communicate during the selling process, the less likely the transaction will result in an unhappy customer — a win, win for the retailer and the brand!

In conclusion, returns can have a significant impact on your business that results in excess inventory and costs to your bottom line. However, savvy retailers and brands are accelerating their digital toolkits to quickly offer services like Augmented Reality to their customers. It’s a surefire way to future proof your business!

Are you looking to revolutionize the shopper journey with AR?
BOOK A MEETING with our experts today for a consultation.

Consumers are driving a retail revolution as they adopt new ways to discover products. The path to purchase has become a complex fusion of multiple channels, platforms and devices — and, some retailers have struggled to pivot at the speed of technology.

However, the past year has shined a new light on innovation. Whether good or bad, the pandemic forced retailers to accelerate their digital roadmaps to meet the needs of people around the globe. When you look back to reflect, retail companies mobilized concepts like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) at the flick of a switch. That is no simple task!

There is also another incredibly powerful advancement for retail that has been quietly metamorphosing over time. Augmented Reality (AR), once viewed as gimmicky, has now become a personalized strategy to connect in-store experiences to a Shoppers home.

Augmented Reality is simply a must have today, especially as Global Tech Giants and Telecom companies make massive investments to revolutionize this growing ecosystem in the next 18 months. In today’s commerce environment, there are three reasons why you must implement AR to delight your customers and convert them to buyers.

1) Consumer Behavior has Changed Forever

Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 Trillion by the end of 2021 according to Forbes and IBM has even reported that the pandemic accelerated the shift to digital shopping by roughly 5 years.

However, the ability to place products directly in your home via Augmented Reality is nothing new. It was born out of a necessity in industries like automotive and home decor. Consumers are now accustomed to “try-before-you-buy” across all classes of trade ranging from virtually seeing the latest shade of lipstick, to deciding if they should get the 65” or 75” OLED TV.

In fact, 63.33% of respondents in a recent Eyekandy study said that they would favor a retailer that offers Augmented Reality services over one that does not. This behavior change and desire for innovation will never go backwards, as it proves what we all have known for quite some time — people demand speed and convenience.

“We were really excited when Eyekandy approached us looking for a UK partner to launch their AR + Live Video solution. The pandemic has meant that bridging online and offline sales became important almost overnight. Whilst our physical stores were lucky enough to remain open during 2020, we, like many others, saw a huge uptick in online business and Eyekandy helped us meet that demand. When I trialled their solutions for myself I was blown away. I was sending screenshots to all my contacts! In a short period of time, over 40% of people who were shown the solution on velorution.com chose to use it – it’s allowed the team at Velorution to close sales efficiently and wholly online, without the customer ever setting foot in store”

Jonathan Cole

Chairman, Velorution

 

2) Retailers are Capturing Ad Revenue Through the Rise of Retail Media

Source: Forrester

Brands are seeking greater accountability for their media investments, while retailers are capitalizing on this need by developing robust retail media offerings that leverage their digital assets as prime real estate. Walmart has been a leader in this space for quite some time, however, companies like Target, Walgreens, The Home Depot and Macy’s are all now seeking a piece of the pie in a market that reached $17 billion in 2020.

As part of these solutions, brands are still looking for a blend of innovation and performance. Augmented reality complements these solutions by offering the ability for retailers to enhance product description pages (PDPs) with rich content experiences that enhance the shopper journey. Many retailers have even stated that adding AR to these pages delivers improvement to their SEO strategy.

 

3) Technology Advancements Has Removed the Friction in AR

The biggest barrier for deploying augmented reality for any retailer was previously limited by technology. In the early days, a shopper would need to download an app or hardware to activate an experience.

With the advent of WebAR, people can now seamlessly access an experience directly from their internet browser. This instantaneously gives retailers access to over 3.6 Billion smartphone users according to Statista.

If you are a retailer that is still considering whether augmented reality is the right opportunity for your business, I can confidently tell you that the answer is YES. The perfect storm has come together between both shopper and brand needs, allowing you to drive incremental revenue through this immersive and engaging platform.

Are you ready to revolutionize your customer journey with augmented reality? Sign up for a free consultation from one of our experts today.

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