In a world that’s dominated by digital, direct mail can seem old and rather boring. Why would you want to send something in the post when you can fire off an email or reach people in seconds via social media? But direct mail is far from outdated. It’s a brilliant way to connect with customers on a more personal level. And the proof is in the pudding: over 100.7 million U.S. adults made a catalog purchase in 2016. What’s more, the response rate is greater than email, paid search, online display, and social media marketing combined.
Smart marketers in retail companies have discovered how they can grow digital sales by combining direct mailings with augmented reality. With augmented reality — the ability to add digital information, graphics and video to print, essentially bringing print to life — it’s possible to combine the benefits of print with smartphone technology to increase online sales.
Disclaimer: This article is brought to you by Augmara. Augmara is one of the leading Swiss companies in the field of Augmented Reality. With its proprietary augmented reality CMS solution, SDK and white label mobile application, Augmara offers an efficient and user-friendly solution for marketing teams to deploy and manage Augmented Reality content.
How AR delivers value to direct mail marketing
Augmented reality takes a tried-and-trusted form of marketing to a whole new level. What were once 2D images can become 3D models that jump off the page, complete with product videos and additional information that leaves nothing to interpretation.
Through an app on a smartphone or tablet, AR can be used to:
Despite the obvious benefits, however, the technology is yet to be widely adopted. This bodes well for your own company as it gives you the chance to steal a march on the competition. And those companies that have identified the power of augmented reality as a marketing tool have reaped the rewards.
Examples of companies using AR in Direct Mailings successfully
Dobi – boost in online purchases
Dobi is a fascinating case study of a low-cost, high ROI augmented reality campaign thanks to the Augmara white label mobile application technology. Switzerland’s largest B2B wholesaler of beauty products runs its own Beauty Academy that includes a monthly magazine for customers featuring useful tips, tricks, and techniques, as well as special offers. By using the Augmara CMS, Dobi integrated AR into its magazine to give readers a more interactive experience, allowing them to hover over specific items on pages to purchase products and enjoy video content. The campaign let to an increase in traffic to the brand’s website and a noticeable boost in online purchases.
The use of augmented reality in Dobi’s B2B magazine significantly increased in-app sales.
United Mail – 100+ % increase in app downloads
Direct marketing company United Mail used augmented reality as a way to show the capabilities of the technology to its clients. 90 AR Christmas cards were sent out to clients with an invitation to download an app and interact with an AR image. One month after the card was sent out, the download rate for the app was 23%. Five months on, downloads had increased by 106% on iPhone and 915% on Android, which shows that recipients not only held on to the card but shared it with others.
It’s an example of how AR can deliver that ‘WOW factor’ that gets people engaged.
The Christmas card with a difference – you can achieve lasting visibility with a Christmas greeting card which you also show to your friends because of your creativity.
Ikea product catalog – 8.5 million downloads!
Ikea was one of the first brands to see the benefits of augmented reality. The company’s AR product catalog, which gave customers the ability to scan selected pages and place virtual furniture in their home, highlights how the technology can merge with print to enhance the customer experience. Leader of digital transformation at Ikea, Michael Valdsgaard, described the uplift in sales from AR as a “dream scenario.”
“Most people postpone a purchase of a new sofa because they’re not comfortable making the decision if they aren’t sure the color is going to match [the rest of the room] or it fits the style,” he said. “Now, we can give them [those answers] in their hands, while letting them have fun with home furnishing for free and with no effort,” he told Digiday.
According to Ikea, the app that accompanied the catalog was downloaded 8.5 million times.
With the IKEA Place App you can set up and view the furniture virtually right at your home.
MediaMarkt – Increased off- to online traffic & engagement
Consumer electronics company Media Markt used the Augmara CMS and Augmented Reality SDK to provide a unique shopping experience for customers by allowing them to see products up close, find out additional details and make purchases in seconds. With the extra information and the ability to see how a product looks, customers are able to make confident buying decisions.
With the MediaMarkt App their customers could find out even more about the products thanks to the integration of AR. This is how AR delivers value to direct mail marketing.
How to use Augmented Reality to increase Sales
The increasing availability of self-service tools to manage AR content means that it’s possible for anyone to make direct mail interactive in a few clicks — no coding skills required. CMS systems let you easily drag-and-drop animations, graphics, 3D models, videos and links into your print materials. Our free app (or an app of your own) can then be used to explore the content.
However, the simplicity of creating AR content shouldn’t lead you to assume your audience knows what to do. Your biggest priority should be to make it easy. Show or tell customers what app to download and make it clear what content is enhanced by AR.
The next thing to do is to make it worthwhile. Make your content worth the customer’s time and effort. Ikea showing customers how a chair will look in their room or Dobi taking readers directly to a product landing page are perfect examples of worthwhile content.
Finally, make it fun. Augmented reality is fun. Exploring extra content and learning new things should be an enjoyable experience. Use the technology to entertain and engage your customers.
With AR, your direct mailings are more eye-catching and more forward-thinking. Your printed brochure goes from something the customer reads to something they experience. And that not only increases digital sales but puts you ahead of the competition.