Post Categories: August 2016

Expert Viewpoints: Augmented Reality in Retail


There’s a new phenomenon bringing throngs of smartphone holders into the streets, wandering through parks, businesses and other public areas at all hours of the day and night—all in search of, believe it or not, tiny digital creatures (Pikachu). There’s no doubt that the newly released Pokémon GO game is taking the world by storm. But the augmented reality concept it’s based on is not new—not even to the retail world. We sat down with Interactions’ Creative Director Ryan James Dee and Senior Vice President of IT and Digital for Interactions and Daymon Worldwide Rekha Ramesh to learn more about augmented reality and how it could be leveraged by retailers and brands.

RNI: What do you think is behind the fervor for this new augmented reality game?

Dee: Pokémon GO is the perfect blend of what everyone—mainly millennials—wants right now, namely social activity, shareable moments, fun competition, immediate gratification, pop culture, nostalgia and technology.

Ramesh: There’s also a level of immersion we’ve never seen before. The entire world map is utilized. Few other games have incorporated the world map to the degree that Pokémon GO has, and few have made it so necessary to travel around a given city in order to progress.

RNI: A few retailers and brands have created augmented reality apps before, but it hasn’t become a major trend. Do you think that could change now?

Dee: The success of this game is already changing how businesses, large and small, feel about and use augmented reality. Within the game, there are virtual stations called PokéStops at which players can stock up on free in-game items. Savvy business owners have requested PokéStops be placed near their locations to drive traffic—and it’s working.

Ramesh: It will be hard to achieve a similar level of instant popularity that Pokémon GO has simply due to the lack of already having an established name. But there are a few aspects that other AR apps can incorporate. The most glaring example would probably be creating an analogous version of Pokémon’s “lure modules.” A lure module can be placed at PokéStops to generate an increased frequency of Pokémon appearances. When this occurs, players typically gather around it to reap the benefits. It would be beneficial for future AR apps to include similar features that create opportunity to cause a sort of crowding effect and to encourage the general networking effect that the game has, which increases the general enjoyment of it.

RNI: Has Daymon Worldwide or Interactions worked on any AR projects?

Dee: We haven’t used it yet at Interactions. But there are definitely opportunities. For example, a retailer or brand could develop an augmented reality game in which shoppers are led to “capture” secret deals on the products they love, or products they might want to try based on preferences recorded in the shopper loyalty data.

Ramesh: We are working on some test cases at Daymon Worldwide, such as embedding recipe videos and product information into our product designs. When consumers scan the image through an AR app, a recipe video will pop up with additional product information. For example, if we are creating a design for pasta, we embed videos and when consumers play the video they can click on the “Buy” button, which will transfer all of the recipe ingredients into the shopping cart.

RNI: Any final thoughts on AR for retailers and brands? 

Dee: The simple beauty of Pokémon GO is that it gives its players what they want, when they want it. For brands and retailers interested in using augmented reality, they need to know their consumers and shoppers, find out what drives them, what they are passionate about, and use that knowledge to drive what they do with the technology.

Ramesh: The positive externalities are pretty significant (meeting new people, actually being outside and walking around, higher sales for businesses, etc.), so it will definitely be a plus to get more acceptance of AR technology embedded marketing.