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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.

However, the same measurement strategy does not apply to all industries. 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. Yet, 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 customer is.

We recently partnered with Bacardi to create fun in-store shopper marketing activation to launch everyone’s favorite carnival game –– the AR 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 FSDU, 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 ENGAGEMENT VIA DWELL TIME

 Unlike more passive forms of media, augmented reality surrounds shoppers in a completely immersive environment that is 100% opted in by them. The result of this highly engaged consumer is a significant increase in dwell time (time spent) with a brand.

We recently partnered with Cazadores RTD (ready-to-drink) to launch a connected packaging experience to discover the brand’s 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 surprise and delight their shopper.

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