Mixed reality — a concept which was introduced in 1994 but has gained popularity in the last five years — is increasingly demonstrating its high potential in the marketing domain to generate optimum results by engaging users. It is often seen as an advanced form of augmented reality (AR).
Typically, in the case of mixed reality (MR), the immersive technology combines the real and virtual worlds; objects from these worlds exist simultaneously, interact in real time and create a completely new environment/visualisation for the end-user. Such an experience when offered by any brand enables it to strike a chord with consumers almost instantly.
Role of MR in marketing
The growing concept of MR is increasingly being seen with curious eyes by present day marketers for various reasons including:
* Improving customer experience: It is necessary for any brand to create the best possible customer experience to gain their attention. Here, it goes without saying that through MR, brands can easily generate a comprehensive customer experience.
*Makes interactive selling possible leading to increased customer conversion rate. It is very difficult for customers to imagine how certain things (if bought) would look, like a particular piece of furniture in their room, piece of clothing on their body, etc. This confusion is usually followed by reckless buying, returns and then regrets (especially when the product or service is costly). However, MR puts an end to this by enabling customers to see things rather than just visualising them in their mind. IKEA through its app allows users to place 3D models of furniture in a real environment. GAP has created an app that allows people to try clothes right at their homes — people have to add their personal information and then the virtual 3D model based on their measurements is created in front of them. This instantly developed 3D view helps customers take a prompt decision.
* Makes storytelling more interesting: Any marketer’s main job is to tell compelling stories so as to entice customers and convert them to potential leads. AR/MR leases a new life to these stories and makes them interesting. To quote an example, in November 2016, for the launch of the new blend of Macallan Whiskey, an ad was printed in Esquire that had the iconic mascot of the magazine pouring a glass of whiskey. The advertisement offered a 3D AR experience through the free Aurasma app.
In November 2017, PepsiCo’s Doritos went the AR way in India by collaborating with Snapchat.
Tapping the trends
As per a report by BIS Research, “In 2017, the MR market was estimated to be $46.8 million and is now expected to reach $3.68 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 72% during 2018-2025”. Even in India, trends are positive. It is believed that with growing smartphones and tablets usage, the AR and VR market in India will observe a CAGR of 55.3% during 2016-2021.
MR is here to stay
A Deloitte report states that as of 2018, almost 90% of companies with annual revenues ranging between $100 million-$1 billion are making use of AR or VR technology globally. As for smaller firms, a Purch’s poll reveals that about 72% companies are planning to use AR in 2018.
Employing AR and MR technology in marketing is increasingly helping brands to build long-term customer relationships, boost product/service sales and add to their overall experience. Hence, there is no doubt that MR will take the marketing arena by storm in the near future.
Prateek Kumar is MD & CEO, NeoNiche Integrated Solutions