As technology continues to evolve in the world of print, the advancements we’ve seen over the last several years have moved well beyond just new folds, cuts and finishes and into something far more user-engaging.
Augmented reality (AR) has created a bridge between print and digital experiences for years now. AR lays 3D computer-generated imagery on top of a user’s current environment through the lens of their device. In the world of direct mail, someone can use their mobile device to access additional information about a brand or offer in an impactful way. Check out our previous blog post to learn more about how AR works.
A Meaningful Connection that Happens at Home.
“Right now, people are venturing out less, which means less trips to stores. Brands that rely on in-store experiences need to rethink how they’re reaching potential customers,” says MJ Anderson, Chief Experience Officer, realityBLU®, SPC’s Augmented Reality Platform Partner. By integrating AR into retail brand direct mail campaigns, people can interact with products and services from the comfort of their own home.
Why Should You Consider AR?
There aren’t too many tactics that can compete with the “wow factor” that AR brings to a direct mail piece. SPC’s typical development time is just three weeks, so AR elements are quick to implement. When you integrate AR into a medium that is already engaging, like direct mail, you’re providing an even more memorable experience waiting in that customer’s mailbox.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of embracing AR:
- Reaching New Customers – The goal of any campaign is to get new customers, and with 90% of smart phones already enabled to view AR content, there is a large pool of consumers to reach.
- Heightened Engagement – The more time someone spends with your brand, the better your chance to turn them into a customer. Recipients of direct mail incorporating AR tend to spend 10X more time viewing a piece than standard mailers.1
- Lead Generation – Although AR has been around, it still feels like new tech. It generates excitement, which means that people who weren’t customers before are more inclined to interact with and gain interest in your brand.
- Unique Interaction – AR can be used to do things that a traditional DM piece simply can’t—from giving a 360-degree view of a product, to allowing someone to tour a space, to introducing a video—AR can help you in all directions.
- Dependability – A company that invests in AR is clearly committed to providing their audience with an experience that goes above and beyond your average job. By putting a dynamic piece in their hands, it sends a message that your brand cares about your customers.
How Should You Use Augmented Reality To Engage Potential Customers?
83% of shoppers say images are the most important thing when deciding what to purchase.2 By incorporating AR into your DM campaign, you are turning it up a notch.
The beauty of using AR is that it has the flexibility to be used in so many ways. Some of the more common and effective uses in DM include:
- Bringing a special offer or key message to life
- Showcasing a 3D version of a product
- Highlighting a call to action that allows viewers to take immediate action
- Taking potential customers on a tour of a virtual location
- Animation or a video overlay on a photo
Whatever information or experience you are providing customers through AR, just remember to keep it simple. The technology itself is impressive, so the execution can be straight-forward. Here’s how brands pulled off AR in their DM campaigns, by not over-complicating the experience.
Ricoh sent a follow-up direct mail piece to engage prospects that visited their booth at a large trade show. The post-show mailing extended the look and feel of the live event, as a reminder of the experience.
ScanNow added AR content to a postcard for customers to schedule a call with the manufacturer’s representative to discuss a new line of products. This allowed for a more simplified process that just takes the touch of a button for the potential customer.
Give AR a Shot—It Can Impact Your Bottom Line.
In the effort to bring our clients new ways to connect with customers, SPC has embraced AR as technology that is beyond the “fad” phase. We can work with you to ensure you’re using best practices to inform and enhance experiences while also creating something memorable to stand out in the mailbox.