Today, most people regularly access websites, email, and social media sites on their smartphones, so it’s important to pay attention to trends in mobile technology. One particularly exciting trend is Augmented Reality (AR). Unlike virtual reality, which provides a simulated world or experience, AR actually links physical and virtual experiences in ways that engage, inspire, and inform.
With AR, a consumer trains a smartphone or tablet camera on a package and, via a downloadable app, can then view superimposed computer-generated images that tout ingredients or sourcing origins, or provide wine pairing recommendations or assembly instructions. Consumers may even view images of the unboxed product before making a purchase. Best of all, paperboard’s flat surfaces make it the optimal substrate to deliver this fantastic new technology.
Not surprisingly, Lego has been one of the first companies to capitalize on AR technology.
It’s incredible to see completed Lego models move across the page, but also notice how the above video demonstrates AR’s potential to drive sales. Be it at home or on the retail shelf, AR is the equivalent of a virtual salesperson, ready to engage users with tips, tricks, and extra info. Considering the current trend towards personalization, AR gives the intimate touch that we all so desire.
Regardless of whether AR will gain enough traction to become commonplace in retail environments, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which AR plays an important role in shopping rituals.
Consider Google Glass, a head-mounted computer, worn like a pair of glasses, that allows users to see webpages, photos, etc., in their fields of vision. If Google Glass represents the future of smart device usage, just imagine the possibilities for AR. With a single glance, consumers wearing such a device could walk through a store and find the retail shelves alive with vibrant, three-dimensional images and compelling information… all alive, thanks to paperboard’s flat, sturdy packaging surface.