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Pakko De La Torre // Creative Director

Augmented Reality: the secret weapon in market research

Augmented Reality: the secret weapon in market research

In the last year you will certainly have noticed people from a range of industries both talking about and using Augmented Reality in their operations- but where did it all come from? How can it be used for market research?

What’s the context behind the use of Augmented Reality?

While the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) had existed for several decades prior (mostly in the form of navigation assistance), 2005 saw the debut of AR for smartphones. AR Tennis for the Nokia mobile was one of the first notable examples. It saw two players, both with Nokia camera phones, engage in a simple tennis match on a digitally projected pitch, surrounded by their real-world environment. AR Tennis was a hit and ended up winning the Independent Mobile Gaming best game award of 2005, along with the technical achievement award. Players felt truly immersed in their Nokia tennis matches, blurring the lines between their world and the digital world. 

This initial success set the tone for the later rise of popularity in the use of AR within smartphones. 2016 saw the overnight sensation of Augmented Reality mobile app Pokémon Go, which broke 5 world records in its’ first month alone. It was the fastest mobile game to gross $100 million, reaching this milestone in only 20 days. Pokémon Go has since been downloaded over 1 billion times worldwide, proving AR’s ability to capture imaginations.

Nowadays, mobile phones are the most common iteration of AR. Most everyone now has a camera phone (and subsequently AR) in their pocket at all times. Almost all of the big social media names utilise AR features in their photo-taking/camera elements. A lot of people use Augmented Reality every day without even realising it.

Snapchat, a popular social network for teens and young adults, has an extensive selection of AR filters that range from simple ad-based content to complex obscuring of the face and background. AR’s popularity comes from not only its accessibility but its versatility. The merging of the real world and the digital creates a deep level of immersion within the user, and this is what makes AR so advantageous.

There are many possible use cases for Augmented Reality on mobile devices, but one of the most powerful emerging innovations is AR for consumer research. 

But how does AR coincide with market research?  

AR provides the opportunity to display anything you can possibly think of into the user’s surroundings through their smartphone’s camera. This means that, instead of sending out physical samples of your new product during consumer research, you can display a highly realistic, interactive AR product to be viewed through your respondent’s mobile phone. Any iteration of a product can be digitally placed into a user’s familiar, real-world environment using AR. Not only can respondents view a three-dimensional representation of your new product, but they can also customise all elements of the object and fully interact with it. 

Let’s say you’re conducting consumer research for a new box of chocolates. You can place an AR iteration of this box of chocolates onto your respondent’s coffee table through their phone. They can then walk around the 3D digital product to get a feel of the packaging, they can open the lid of the box, take a chocolate out, unwrap it and have a look at it. That is essentially the entire product experience, only excluding the actual taste of the chocolate. Users can reflect on the look of the product, the unboxing experience, and the way it fits into their familiar environment. This gives the opportunity to form a completely rounded opinion and therefore reduces common consumer research pain points such as the ‘say-do’ gap. There are many other benefits to implementing this technology: Augmented Reality on smartphones really is the future of consumer research.

The accessibility of AR  

As previously mentioned, pretty much everyone now has access to AR through their mobile devices. You can reach respondents from all over the world, and they can access and interact with iterations of your product with a simple tap on their screen. Additionally, you can track their responses and reactions to your stimuli remotely. There’s no need for travel, for hosting research events or even a need to be in the same continent as your respondents. This, of course, cuts costs and makes everything far quicker and more convenient not only for you but for your respondents. 

Reducing the say-do gap 

As you will have experienced in your previous consumer/market research, there is sometimes a considerable difference between what respondents say, and how they actually feel about the product/stimulus in front of them. A great way to avoid this problem, known as the ‘say-do’ gap, is to measure the non-conscious reactions of your respondents. There can be no ambiguity in genuine human responses. Utilising observational data as opposed to just reported data further eliminates this issue. Measuring natural human reactions and reflexes, such as where the user looks most and how they behave with the stimuli, makes for far more reliable results. Gorilla in the room’s Cognitive Scientist Dr Ali Goode has made several detailed vlogs on this subject, so to learn more about the say-do gap visit the Newsroom section of our website.

Catering to the user 

Your consumer is the axis on which your entire operations should orbit. Their opinions and preferences are what will catapult your business to the next level. Catering to what they find most compelling is a sure-fire way to create products that people will love. Knowing respondents’ reactions inside out from their vocalised opinions all the way down to their non-conscious responses is vital. This is why it is paramount that you conduct your consumer research at a level of detail that gives you the utmost confidence in what you put out. You need to know the exact effects of the different customisations of your products on the respondent to optimise the entire product experience. AR provides this level of detail and helps you along the path to delighting your customers.

So, where can I get access to Augmented Reality for consumer research? 

Gorilla in the room is a product innovation platform that implements AR to provide a dynamic approach to market and consumer research. Along with our AR, we measure behavioural data and accurately predict and diagnose any number of consumer choices. Transform your product concepts and packaging ideas into lifelike AR creations that look and behave like physical products. AR products are 400% more realistic than the outdated 2D images that most use in their research.

Reform your consumer research by beating many of your existing pain points. By quickly generating, screening, and iterating your ideas, you can drive straight towards confident strategic decisions. Ensure that your new products are a success and that they will delight your consumers. Using Gorilla in the room confirms the products people love and leads your business towards a more self-assured future

Click here to learn more about Gorilla in the room’s pioneering approach to market research.

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