Every purchase is an emotional decision. Apart from the logical reasons why they may need a product, consumers need to have that “feel good” attitude about making the purchase. It is either about getting a good deal, or being among the first to get a newly launched product, or being certain that the product is really going to make their lives better. And, augmented reality is helping people tremendously on the path to reaching this “feel good” mood.
Expanding Reality and Self Confirmation: The Impact of Augmented Reality on the Psyche
According to a research paper which used a control group and an experimental group of users, augmented reality has an impact on the “hedonic nature” of users. The expanded perception of a product, based on holographic interactions with it, has the ultimate effect of expanding people’s own hedonistic view of themselves, in other words, the “feel good” attitude.
Seeing a product or watching a video are external stimuli. Prospects cannot really experience how it feels to have the product in their hands, to use it and to see it in their home, among other furnishings and decorations. Thus, they cannot form an emotional bond with the product.
On the other hand, a simple augmented reality experience of placing a holographic armchair in their living room will positively impact their decision to buy the product, as demonstrated by the same research paper mentioned above.
Closing the Gap Between Intention and Actual Purchase
Another study concerning the effects of augmented reality on consumer behavior showed that more people who virtually tried on a product decided to buy it than people who were exposed to traditional marketing strategies.
More precisely, the study found that augmented reality is most effective during the search and evaluation phases of the buying process. Traditional marketing strategies involve written product descriptions and testimonials. Augmented reality marketing virtually puts the product in the prospect’s hands, allowing them to explore it and form their own conclusions on its benefits and quality.
Key Impacts of Augmented Reality on the Buying Decision
By stimulating an emotional response to the product and giving them objective, logical information about it, augmented reality creates a propitious immersive environment, as stated by Guda van Noort et al. in a paper published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing.
This environment encourages:
1. Product Education
The logical component of the buying decision is positively influenced by having a hands-on experience with the product. Consumers can discover by personal experience how easy it is to use a product, what benefits it offers and how good it looks (especially with furniture, clothes, and makeup).
2. Brand Perception
People buy from brands they trust. In this age, trust has become a complex issue, which involves good reputation and the ability of a brand to offer customers a top level shopping experience. Augmented reality is the most comfortable way to try a product, becoming familiar with it while finding the right size, color, and other customizations.
3. Emotional Attachment through Experience
The reason why the buying decision is made faster after trying a product in augmented reality is that consumers form an emotional attachment to it. They perceive its benefits and envision how much easier/more pleasant their life could be if they had the product.
Thus, augmented reality is a marketer’s best friend in speeding up consumers on the conversion path. At the same time, it is a useful tool for consumers to form their own ideas about a product, both at a logical and an emotional level. For this reason, it is more than likely that augmented reality is set to become one of the most frequently used marketing tools for retail and other industries.