Augmented Reality (AR) and Its Impact on Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Market

The tangible experiences (surprising, exciting and fun) that can be provided through the use of AR to a wide range of audiences, makes it an easy task to convert sales for a brand or marketer in a crowded market space.

What is the current FMCG scenario?
FMCG is an area that is extremely saturated and thus has been continuously changing along to the customer needs, falling in line with various social and economic trends over the past decade or so. The emergence of social media has given marketers and brand managers a headache when trying to position their products — it is therefore extremely important for the FMCG sector to keep up with these ever-changing trends and consumer needs. The current trends show that consumers look for products that stimulate emotions at a deeper level or ones that grab instant attention — yes, brand loyalty still exists, but it is on a big downward spiral.

Which makes FMCG a sector that has a massive potential to reap benefits by unleashing the full might of AR-based excitement. Before we step into the realm of unparalleled opportunities of using AR in FMCG, let’s look at the most important moments in FMCG customer journey. Even with the growing social media influence, this remains two-fold:

  • In-store
    Most parts of buying decisions take place inside the stores in front of shelves and are considered to be low involvement decisions. This is not to say all brands are equal in a customers mind, they most certainly compare between a set of brands that are their TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) brands — in other words, brands they recognise. Getting a certain brand to the TOMA set is a mass media task, yet in-store promotions and activations could influence consumer decision to purchase your product or another from the TOMA set.
  • During Usage
    Considered to be a low-risk purchase, users more often than not reserve the final judgment of the product to the moment of use. It is also safe to say that the competing brands have little-to-no difference in the core product. Therefore, a value-added customer experience during usage could be a real differentiator. The excitement caused to the consumer could mean he/she takes to social media to spread the word about this differentiating factor — free marketing!

So what is the real opportunity?
Globally speaking, due to factors such as the advancements in technology, organisations embracing digital transformation processes and busy lifestyles, shopping has moved from brick-n-mortar (physical shops) to online shopping. This only leaves us with the problem of how a certain brand competes against the tried and tested. This is where AR can and will play a major role in providing the online customer with the tangible experience — leading to brand loyalty culminating with the ultimate goal of any brand and sales manager — free marketing and more sales.

Adding value using supportive content
Ever heard the phrase “if the content is king, then context is queen”? Using AR to boost the impact of the reach content such as nutrition facts, innovative ways to use a standard product, recipes as well as creating brand interactions through a widget to support the customer whilst using the product.

Brand engagement through contests
59% of 25- to 34-year-olds head to the kitchen with either their smartphones or tablets. The above statistic should be a reason for marketers and advertisers working with FMCG organisations to jump in joy — they can use the mobile power to run a variety of campaigns in order to increase brand engagement and social reach. Specifically using AR to organise contests for the best/most innovative dish, photo/selfie contest and not to mention gamification — this would also help an organisation reach a wider and newer customer base.

Delivering promotions
AR can also be a useful tool to unleash creative content through any “trigger image” on any touch point. These touch points can be any one thing from printed ads, TV commercials, product packaging to marketing collateral. Using a “trigger image” marketers and advertisers can deliver promotional videos, marketing content, expert reviews as well as customer reviews and ideas at the point of sale or after to influence buying and retention decisions.

Customer loyalty
Most brand managers and marketers crave customer loyalty — the ultimate goal. As per the above point, AR can be a useful tool to make sure a product is purchased at the point of sale. It can also be a very useful tool to ensure that the product then becomes a staple in the customers’ lives through integrating an AR-based loyalty system enabling brands to design, implement and manage loyalty coupons or other loyalty offer campaigns. It is also a fantastic way to promote word of mouth through engagement actions such as sharing content with friends and following brands on social networks.

A lot of FMCG brands spend a lot of money on sponsoring sporting events, teams, TV shows and live events. AR is a great medium to project fans/customer emotions towards the sponsored event/entity through various touch points thus delivering amazing brand attachment in their customers’ mind.

The conclusion
Living in a society where the usage of smartphones and tablets has become second nature, gamification of FMCG experiences along with Food & Beverage, fitness and shopping activities should become the norm. Using of AR to enhance your product or service will not only allow you to deliver a surprising and exciting experience to your customer but it will also link the experience to your customers’ mind and provide free word of mouth marketing.

Vidushitha Ashi Dhanatunge

Making Digital Simple

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