As the world starts to operate more remotely than ever before now is the time to consider how new technologies like AR can be used to support your business through these extraordinary times.

With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, governments are attempting to manage the spread of this virus by guiding people to self-isolate. Nations of people are now working remotely, trying to carry out their day to day lives from the safety of their homes.

However, pressing times also bring new opportunities, as the world starts to operate more remotely than ever before now is the time to consider how new technologies like AR can be used to support your business through these extraordinary times.
 
At Zappar, we believe now is a perfect opportunity to furnish your business with the augmented reality tool kit. With people stuck at home, equipped with smartphones but unable to visit shops, brands have the unique opportunity to deliver innovative experiences straight to customers. Now is the time to start making AR and deliver content that can influence people's lives as well as improve your business. Three main areas you can impact with AR are packaging, retail, and L&D. 


AR for packaging


Take packaging. As people self-isolate, they are being more thoughtful about which products they buy and how they use them. Does your packaging accurately display the benefits of your product, or engage with the consumer? It is also important for brands to be able to collect information about how or when the product is used within the home to gather data on how habits may be changing during this crisis.


By adding AR to packaging, brands have the opportunity to increase the customer's engagement. By providing relevant content - such as recipes - they can improve the real estate of the packaging. AR can also collect data on how people are using the product, which can then inform the company how they may want to change their strategies in the future. In short, driving a greater understanding of customers leads to better decisions. 


For example, ZapWorks user and immersive agency FlyAR made an experience for the launch of the Santun Seitan Vegekebab. Once scanned, the packaging provides straightforward steps on its use via videos for customers to follow. 


Now more than ever brands should be investing in their story, history and provenance to make more meaningful connections with this newly created captive audience. And, as it turns out, AR and packaging is the perfect delivery method for all three.

 
AR for retail 


As high street stores close for public safety the retail sector is quickly pivoting to making  their businesses 100% digital. The question is how can businesses stand out from the crowd and reach customers at home? 


To answer this question, many savvy retailers are turning to AR. By incorporating AR into their marketing strategy, brands can reach customers effectively in their own homes. Consumers are able to browse online stores and see the products in front of them as if they were in the store. This effectively allows them to ‘try before they buy’ making more informed, confident buying decisions. 


A great example of this is our work with Nespresso. Users downloaded an app which enabled them to place an AR Essenza Mini coffee machine in their home. By having a visual representation of the product, people can decide whether it would suit their home and space before making a decision, without needing to visit the retail store. Better, the company delivered the campaign via a newsletter, which helped boost their email engagement. 

 


AR for learning and development (L&D) 


Working from home brings new challenges to upskilling your workforce. Some employee training can be a hard task without a face to face instructor or access to the normal working environment and equipment., While eLearning solutions are already robust, they lack the immersion that the in person alternative provides. 


AR immerses users in the learning material, efficiently teaching them new skills from the comfort of their home. Whether it is improving their effectiveness via soft-skill training, or bringing necessary learning materials to life, AR can bring new experiences that elevate the learning process. 


Our work with Unilever for example, we were commissioned to create a way for employees to tour and familiarise themselves with their factory before they even started work. A 360 factory tour allows the user to walk through different parts of the factory whilst the use of hot spots allows for tutorials at certain points of the journey. This is something that now more than ever could be used to create effect for onboarding key workers in the fastest time to maximum effect.

 


AR for direct mail


At a time like this marketers are in the unique position of knowing exactly where their audience is, Direct Mail (even without the AR component) will yet again be coming back into focus for many marketers as they strive to reach the stay at home community. 


Direct Mail campaigns have long been a staple of the marketers playbook, but now with the inclusion of AR, direct marketing takes on a whole new shape, turning passive print into an interactive media channel serving, videos, mini-games, product visualizations and so much more. 


Take our work with Loreal. By blending physical print with digital content, the retailer was able to tell a much more compelling and engaging story, adding value to an already tried and tested marketing channel. 

 


AR to reach fans outside of the stadium 


For the millions of sports fans now unable to watch their favourite team in person, clubs should be looking at virtual ways to capture the in-game experience and make it accessible to their fan base to create a sense of connection and community regardless of location. 


AR offers a unique opportunity to transport the most ardent sports fan from their living room, to the stadium all the while capturing the thrill of front row seats. 


For example, AR portals provide the perfect way for fans to transcend the physical constraints of their current environments, providing front row seats and virtual stadium tours, at a time where fans feel disconnected from the gameday experience. 


Likewise, teams can be sending AR-enabled fan mail to deliver personalised messages from their favourite players, while offering recaps of the clubs most hard-fought victories. 


Put simply, AR can and should be a natural companion for marketers here, offering community and connection in the midst of unprecedented change and isolation. 


Learning during self-isolation


Now is a great opportunity to learn new skills that will help your company improve its reach, deliver immersive product experiences to your consumers in the comfort of their homes. or provide L&D programs to keep your employee's skills sharp. Now is a unique time to experiment with cutting-edge technologies that are guaranteed to make an impact. 


From retail to packaging, AR is a natural fit for remote activities and with the right approach, the potential could be massive for brands and creatives alike.