Virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D products for prototyping, branding, product placements and immersive marketing offer companies the opportunity to keep up with demanding consumer needs.
The FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector and consumer goods are business sectors that need to constantly adapt to the demanding needs of its customers. Companies operating in the retail sector regularly have to keep up with emerging digital trends and constantly reposition themselves when it comes to product enhancements and direct contact with customers. However, one thing remains the same for consumer goods companies: consumers are looking for products that stimulate their emotions on a deeper level and give them a constant incentive to reconnect with the brand. In the constant competition for brand loyalty, the focus is therefore on the constant and sustainably generated attention of the consumer.
This makes the consumer goods sector an area that brings with it enormous potential for the use of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and 3D product visualizations. Not only the technical implementation of product design, but also the connection of the consumer to the product, is taken to a new level with immersive technologies.
A brief insight into the many possible applications for the FMCG and retail sectors:
Virtual Reality: Prototypes and 3D Design
In the area of product design and 3D visualization, virtual prototypes are used to advance the possibilities of development and design testing massively faster and, above all, more cost-effectively. Not only the appearance and ergonomics can be tested in advance in the virtual world in real time but also through virtual reality applications, the object representation can be varied and adjusted in real form during the design process. Thus, the visual design process is optimized in a more efficient and resource-friendly way. This represents a major advantage compared to classic 2D screen programs or physical prototypes.
Through the use of virtual reality, it is possible to optimally combine the familiarity of an object with the innovation claim through a variety of created designs and virtual product prototypes and thus specifically hit the sweet spot of the consumer. After all, the design and ergonomics of products significantly determine the purchase decision of the physical product – and in the long term, brand loyalty. This can be implemented both in the form of VR software applications, but also in web implementation through 3D online configurators with interfaces to VR and AR glasses.
VR applications also make it possible to bring together interdisciplinary teams in a (virtual) space – and to do so across long distances such as cities or countries. This is an advantage from which not only large teams benefit but also working together, data can be collected and jointly worked on. In particular, test groups or subjects can also evaluate the prototypes and design variants in advance, before a physical prototype exists.
AR for product placement
Product placement using augmented reality through smartphones or tablets represent a simple and cost-effective way to place products directly in stores even before they are on the shelves. Most purchasing decisions take place in stores in front of the shelves – with Augmented Reality, this step can be extensively tested in advance.
Not only that, it is possible to place products by means of Augmented Reality, in any environment. Eye tracking can also be used to record and analyze eye movements in conjunction with product placement. As part of the evaluation process, an analysis and evaluation is then carried out with regard to the neuroscientific processes of the focused shopper. The comparison of the findings of perception and advertising psychology subsequently enables a well-founded comparison of the data. These in turn lead to the improvement of brand loyalty and product development. Especially with regard to facing, i.e. the placement of a product in retail, good analysis data can be achieved quickly, and without much effort. Also for the POP (Point-of-Purchase) and the POS (Point-of-Sales), the points of sale can be actively expanded by means of augmented reality with regard to the analysis of impulse purchases as measures for sales promotion.
Augmented Reality: Branding and Design on Products
Branding and product design are emotional influencers for potential customers. The appearance of brands and the placement of logos, lettering and information statements can be viewed and adapted in a simple way, using special applications through smartphones and tablets, even on existing products, in a flexible way by means of augmented reality. This allows in particular an increased measurement of the moment-of-truth (MOT), which defines the moment of interaction between the consumer and the product or brand and can strongly influence the purchase decision process. By means of the uplift model, the effectiveness of marketing actions can also be measured in advance and used in customer relationship management.
VR and AR marketing on products and for products
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality applications are not actually new trends in retail and consumer goods marketing. In recent years, they have already been used by numerous companies to bridge the gap between the physical item and the customer’s interest in purchasing items. However, surprisingly few companies are yet exploiting the long-term potential here to increase a brand’s sales in a crowded market element.
Augmented Reality, in particular, can create entirely new brand experiences for consumers. By using smartphones, which are available to virtually every consumer individually, it is possible to surprise, excite and emotionalize through various unique use cases. Cross-media marketing and storytelling are the keywords here. The interaction of smartphones and tablets with unique FMCG experiences will become the norm. Hyper-personalized marketing solutions that enrich the customer experience and drive commerce are key. VR and AR offer new ways for FMCG brands to interact and communicate with consumers enabled – from interactive games to AR-enabled packaging