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Augmented Reality – The future is now

26 April 2019

augmented reality - the future is now


Nicola Martin, Insight & Brand Building Specialist, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

Augmented Reality is no longer a concept of the future, it is now part of the day to day. Social media platforms and mobile gaming applications, such as Snapchat and Pokémon Go, have made AR more accessible than ever before.


IGD Retail Analysis recently published a report titled Augmented Reality in Retail (2019) which explores how the retail industry is using AR to enhance the consumer experience. Forecasting that 100 million consumers will shop in Augmented Reality online and in-store by 2020, the report identifies four ways retailers are leveraging the technology today.


The first is for in-store navigation and product finding. Lowe’s, the US based retailer created a visual navigation app using AR to provide its customers with in-store directions, helping them locate products in a fun and more efficient way.


With consumers paying more attention to where things come from, there in an upsurge in the use of AR to communicate product information. As identified in Bord Bia’s Packing Prospects report (2018), exciting innovations are emerging in the packaging world aided by Augmented Reality that allow brands to communicate in a more transparent way. The Owl and the Dust Devil wine has launched a bespoke app that enables them to bring their story to life in an immersive way for consumers. When a smartphone is held over the label, an animation is triggered about the brand’s unique story, which sees an owl emerging from the bottle and flying towards the consumer.


The beauty industry has been an early adopter of Augmented Reality, using the technology for product visualisation. The third use identified by IGD. Sephora’s use of a 3D augmented reality mirror is cited as it allows customers visualise what the various cosmetics would look like on their face through Sephora Virtual Artist. No real-life make-up application necessary.


The forth application demonstrates how retailers are using AR for experience, fun and prizes. An example of which is Burger King’s recent Burn That Ad campaign. The fast food giant invited their Brazilian consumers to burn the ads of competitors using their app. Those that did were rewarded with a free flame grilled whopper.


As more brands leverage the power of this emerging technology, Augmented Reality appears to be here to stay. How does your brand plan to embrace it?



IGD Retail Analysis (2019). Augmented Reality in retail. IGD Retail Analysis. Retrieved from: https://retailanalysis.igd.com/trends/presentation-viewer?t=augmented-reality-in-retail&i=8531

Bord Bia (2018). Packaging Prospects. Bord Bia. 

Theowlandthedustdevil.com. (2019). The Owl & The Dust Devil - Finca Decero. [online] Available at: http://www.theowlandthedustdevil.com

Sephoravirtualartist.com. (2019). Sephora Virtual Artist. [online] Available at: https://sephoravirtualartist.com/landing_5.0.php?country=US&lang=en&x=&skintone=¤tModel=

YouTube. (2019). BK - Burn That Ad. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/PGByvh25uE0