How to use augmented reality in your market research

The market research industry is constantly evolving.

Augmented reality has truly come a ways in recent years and AR can now be used in your market research!

Before we get to the now of augmented reality in market market, let’s look at how I’ve used AR so far:

And the latest now includes augmented reality in market research projects.

AR is so easy for consumers to use because it can be done right from their smartphones. For companies, it can help them get even better feedback because consumers can visualize the product in their surroundings.

In this article, I discuss:

  • How to use AR in market research
  • An AR market research project with a new leaf blower
  • Who should use AR in market research?
  • What’s the future?
  • The importance of internal partners to make your AR market research project a success
  • Behind the scenes: How we implemented AR into our video survey platform

Augmented Reality in market research strategy 

Basically, AR works well in market research when your brand wants a consumer to view a product and place it into their environment without having to send the product to them. Doing that with AR is cheaper and quicker than shipping the product to the consumer or hosting a focus group.

Technology – like AR, video surveys and others – certainly has helped, but there’s an important role for the human researcher as well.

“You still have to have a human being to think through these problems,” said Jude Olinger, CEO at The Olinger Group, which was the first company to use the new AR feature in the Voxpopme platform. “The technology is great but it doesn’t do it itself. Even when it’s a DIY thing. Somebody still has to do that. In terms of augmented reality, we are always looking for new and innovative tools to bring to our clients.”

In addition to the strategy, the correct images need to be uploaded. Of course, that’s really not that different from any other projects that need specific files.

Some examples of AR in market research include:

  • Early-stage product ideation
  • Concept testing
  • Innovation testing
  • Package testing

How The Olinger Group used AR with video surveys

Jude’s company worked with a global lawn care equipment manufacturer. They wanted to test a new concept for a corded leaf blower. Olinger ran two versions of the video survey:

  • With questions but without AR of the leaf blower
  • Questions with AR of the leaf blower

“So they were able to go into their back yard or front yard or their lawn and see this product and how it would look and how they would interact with it,” Jude said. “It made it a much richer experience to get feedback from people. Much more realistic than just looking at a picture or a diagram.”

Consumers could “place” the leaf blower into their surroundings, check its size different colors and more.

“It wasn’t just conceptual now,” Jude said. “What do you think of this leaf blower? They can see the size and if it’s too big or too small.”

What companies should use AR in market research?

“Any company that has a tangible product,” he said. “Anyone that wants to get a reaction to something. And not just showing them a diagram. Especially when it something new.”

Many consumer products can certainly get an advantage in their market research using AR to show their product enhancement or idea to consumers in their environment. Then get their feedback right there through a quick video response.

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What’s the future of AR in market research?

AR certainly has been around for a few years and has evolved. Jude said on “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show” that he sees potential for future use for market researchers, but he warns: “I’ve seen a lot of things come and go. Some things stick and some don’t. But I think AR has potential.”

AR is less cumbersome than VR

It can be difficult to get people to spend money on tactics that are not proven, Jude explained. For example, a few years ago virtual reality seemed on the upswing and potentially helpful in projects.

Instead of building a hotel or part of a hotel, you could build out a model room and create it in virtual reality.

“In that instance you needed very cumbersome equipment,” Jude said. “What we found was that it was hard to find somebody to spend money on something that wasn’t proven. It took a lot of time, money and wasn’t very practical.”

The potential of AR

AR on the other hand can be done on people’s phones and in their own environments – just like video surveys.

“That gives me a lot of optimism that this will be different,” Jude said.

Companies still have to produce files and materials that are different from what they might have today for the AR project, but it’s been easier to get started than VR, Jude said.

The technical stuff

The ideal file type for iOS Augmented reality is glLTF 2.0 (.glb/.gltf). Apple’s Reality Converter can be used to convert to Universal Scene Description

AR is being accepted by consumers

Certainly a lot has changed during the pandemic and new trends will continue to emerge. Gartner estimated that 100 million consumers use augmented reality while shopping in 2020.

In addition to the TV and furniture example, consumers can use AR to try on clothes, for example.

“People are becoming more used to that kind of technology,” said Jenn Vogel, vice president of marketing at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.”

VR headsets
VR requires a headset, which many consumers don’t have. AR is easier as it can be done on your phone.

AR is also easier to use, Jude said. VR requires you to wear a headset, like I’m wearing in the picture. AR can be done from your smartphone which many of us now carry around in our pockets.

AR is comfortable for consumers and it’s also comfortable for the brands, Jude said. What makes AR easier than VR, for example, is that most everyone carries a smartphone around with them. That’s really all that is needed for a consumer to participate in AR research.

The importance of internal partners

For really any project you’ll need internal partners that are bought in, interested and want to move the project forward. Leadership support certainly is important as well.

Using AR in market research is no different. The product owners need to be involved.

“You have to set it up in a way that is really usable and works,” Jude said. “The researchers themselves aren’t usually driving the bus on this. If it’s the R&D or product development team they’ll have to get their cooperation. Otherwise you are spinning your wheels.”

Perhaps, having an interesting AR video survey can also help battle survey fatigue. Making it interesting for the consumer, can bring better results for the company.

How Voxpopme started AR in market research

The idea came out of Product Innovation Summit. The product team met in the United Kingdom and got to work. The AR idea was presented by Mobile Engineer Blain Ellis.

“We believe that enabling respondents to interact with an augmented reality stimulus will increase engagement and improve the quality of feedback,” Blain wrote in his idea pitch. “This will also provide our customers with more opportunities to perform concept studies on the Voxpopme platform.”

Respondents have been able to interact with images and links up to this point. That works for some projects but AR can be better for others.

“The respondent experience will then be presented with the interactive augmented reality experience in the same way in which they would have been presented with an image stimulus,” Blain said.

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