Are you ready to embrace the possibilities of AR? Augmented Reality, otherwise known as AR, is about to change the way that consumers interact with brands, so if you run a business or own a website it’s something that you need to be aware of.

Predicted to be the Next Big Thing in the ongoing digital revolution, AR can attract more customers to your website, or to your bricks and mortar premises, encourage sales and provide you with an innovative marketing strategy.

Augmented Reality allows your website visitors and customers to interact with your brand in new and exciting ways. Unlike Virtual Reality, or VR, you don’t need to wear a special headset, and you’re not completely immersed in a digitally-constructed world. Instead, digital imagery is merged with actual reality, adding whole new layers to your product range or marketing campaign.

Pokemon Go is probably the best-known example of AR, in which players view the world through their smartphone camera lens. Digital Pokemon characters appear in the viewfinder as though they were actually present in real life, with thousands of fans intent on tracking them down and ‘capturing’ them to bump up their scores in the game.

But there’s so much more to AR than gaming. Ikea was one of the first major retailers to latch onto the benefits of the technology, by offering its customers an app that lets them see how a piece of furniture will look in their homes, before they go ahead and make the purchase.

Other brands that have been quick to see the advantages of the technology include Fanta, which offered its customers the use of a limited Snapchat filter after purchasing one of their cans of drink, and the cosmetics giant Shiseido, which allows customers to trial their products on a virtual screen to see how they will look.

Pepsi Max is credited with one of the most fun and entertaining AR campaigns of recent times, thanks to it’s AR panel fitted into a bus shelter in London. This apparently normal window onto the street caused huge excitement when aliens apparently landed, while monsters emerged from the pavement to grab unsuspecting passers-by. With well over 8 million views, this is just one example of ways in which creativity can be unleashed, creating a positive brand image.

The use of AR is still in its earliest stages, but companies who have already embraced the technology are quickly seeing the benefits. Research shows that the average internet user will watch around 2.5 seconds of a promotional video before becoming bored and clicking away, whereas AR retains the viewer’s attention for around 75 seconds – in marketing terms, that’s a significant amount of time to really get your message across and grab the viewer’s attention.

In today’s fast-paced world, social media has become a no-brainer for any company with products to sell. Word-of-mouth recommendations have been overtaken by ‘sharing’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which opens the doors for any company with a savvy marketing campaign, and a good understanding of AR, to literally take the world by storm. An innovative and entertaining use of the technology will attract thousands, if not millions of visitors, making it one of the most exciting new marketing tools available.

Keep in mind that customers nowadays want to really engage with brands. By providing your web visitors with that extra ‘wow’ factor, whether it’s a 360-degree view of your premises, or clever interactions with your products, your website will instantly become more attractive than those of your competitors, offering you unique opportunities to grow your customer base and increase sales.