AR is a real game changer for retailers says David Norris, European Head of Creative Strategy at Snap Inc.

Speaking at MAD//Fest London in July, Norris explained that AR had been “reborn in the past 18 months” and how it has become “the fastest growing digital trend in retail”. Brands that use and engage with AR are now reaping remarkable commercial rewards.

Norris said that AR is “no longer a niche gimmick” which was great for having fun during lockdown, superimposing goats horns or ‘amusing’ goggle glasses onto ones face but not much use beyond that, let alone as an important tool for a marketer. With 200 million Snapchatters creating 5 billion AR snaps a-day Norris sees that engaging with AR is now “genuine everyday behaviour”.

AR in the context of marketing and advertising gives brands real attention, and attention is the holy grail for all marketers. Recently with shops closed and people forced to stay at home, attention has been hard to get. Therefore, as we have been spending more time looking at our screens, brands have caught wind and “recognised the role AR can play in bringing their products to life. By creating an experience you will get attention.”

Now from the comfort of one’s sofa you can now step inside a store, learn more about the product and try out and see what an item looks like on you. Gucci, Adidas and many others now have AR as a “fundamental part of their marketing and communications plan”.

The results are mightily impressive with Shopify discovering that 94% of interactions with products that used AR as a key tool showed a higher conversion rate. In addition now over half of consumers are actively scanning and searching for brand who utilise the power of AR to help them make those tough purchasing choices. It is Norris’s true belief that AR is “genuinely shifting the dial” in retail.

Yet, for brands and retailers “the best is yet to come” for Norris thinks that “at the moment we are just scratching about how we can really engage with the power of AR”. It really is a case of watch this space.

Over 8,000 people attended MAD//Fest on 7-8 July in-person and via the virtual platform. Speakers included new KFC CMO Jack Hinchliffe, S4 Capital Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell and Resi Founder Alex Depledge MBE. Full sessions are available now on our YouTube channel.