Augmented Reality and the Future of Pushing Products

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This morning I saw a news segment on the “new” augmented reality technology being brought to your phone. Not the Pokémon Go or iPhone X video games that we’ve seen in the last few years…think deceased rapper hologram – but on a way smaller scale. You record yourself doing a dance and place this prism on your screen surface to see a one-inch hologram of yourself. Pretty anti-climactic. But it got me thinking how eventually this will be everywhere to push products, but how do you break out of it just being noise?

We have already seen home décor websites show you “what this furniture will look like in your home” or paint samples at Home Depot by uploading a picture of your living room and changing the color of the walls. I even came across fashion designers implementing it in shops to show you what you would look like in that perfect dress….sans bad lighting and unwanted curves. Or the “you should buy the bag” reco.

But for the daily grocery trip, wouldn’t it be awesome if we had this in a few different ways?

If you were walking down the frozen food aisle and a life-size hologram of a woman popped up in front of your cart – it would scare the crap out of you! But, if as you walked by, a transparent computer screen on the glass read the SKU’s in your cart and your personal shopper appears on screen saying “Hey, I see you are buying frozen pie crusts, try this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie” and on the back of the recipe is a coupon for a frozen vegetable mix. Or co-branded with that and cream of chicken soup to share costs and build partnerships. To take it a step further, could we also have a co-branded print ad that you place your phone or tablet over and the hologram of the products mixing together in a bowl appears. Like a fancier QR code, but those prisms we talked about would have to get a lot bigger, or our tablets will need to get a whole lot cooler – and you know they will!

Let’s try a different approach. I came across this as an Instagram ad comparing the nutritional values of various trendy pre-made cauliflower pizza crusts. When you see the comparison, you would instantly go for the advertiser’s product based on nutritional value. Well, after spending 10 minutes going to each website and realizing – maybe for cost-effectiveness, I would need to meet in the middle somewhere. Now, if I did this at the grocery store – I would probably be at the wrong one. Let’s go to the convenient breakfast foods aisle. I walk up to a (sanitized) screen and select “Gluten-free, Peanut Free, cereal” and my options appear as holograms that I can “turn” the products with my fingers and the differentiators pop-up along with the price point, and whether a coupon is available – that I can print right there. How cool is that?

It sounds far off but with how fast technology is moving, growing and becoming more-competitive – it makes it more accessible and cost-effective. Especially if our advertisers are partnering up.