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Augmented Reality Labels, Are They The Future of Product Labelling?

Craig Upton
Augmented Reality Labels, Are They The Future of Product Labelling?

Augmented reality, aka AR, is already making its mark in everyday consumers circles. Increasingly, brands and businesses from all backgrounds are bringing AR into their marketing and promotional activities.

AR product labels in particular are steadily gaining momentum. But what exactly are AR product labels and what benefits do they bring to the customer?

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is where technology is used to blur the lines between the physical world and a ‘virtual’ digital environment. It typically involves the integration of computer generated graphics over images of the real world in order to provide the user with insights or information they would not normally have access to.

For example, an app that shows how a couch or carpet would look in your living room uses AR. As does a real-time mapping facility that uses the camera on your phone to show information about the shops and buildings you can see around you.

AR holds incredible potential for product and service marketing. It could also prove the next big thing in product labelling, given how the overwhelming majority of consumers permanently carry smartphones.

By combining what appears to be a simple product label with a sophisticated smartphone, the true power and potential of AR becomes apparent.

How Do Augmented Reality Labels Work?

Augmented reality labels work through a combination of special scannable images and corresponding smartphone apps. AR labels feature microtext, a visual cue or some other machine-readable feature that tells the corresponding app what to do.

It’s a little like scanning a QR code and being taken to a specific website, page, picture, document or online asset. Only in this instance, computer-generated images, animations and more are overlaid over what the customer is seeing in real time.

This means that in order to make full use of AR labelling, a business needs to invest in its own AR app and convince its customers to download it. There are several existing AR apps available that can be customised, including ZapWorks or Blippar, but creating a unique branded AR app is a better option if possible.

How Are AR Labels Being Used?

To say that the options are endless with AR labels would be something of an understatement. With the right software in place, there’s literally nothing you cannot do with your custom AR labels.

Understandably, knowing where to start can be half the battle for many businesses. Particularly when getting started with AR labels for the first time, inspiration can be thin on the ground.

As an example of what’s possible, here are three of the most popular applications for AR labelling technology right now:

1. Behind the Scenes Sneak-Peeks

An engaging AR label can be just the thing to humanise your brand and emphasise its personality. Behind-the-scenes content is particularly great for building stronger bonds with customers and is something that can be served up with AR labels.

For example, the customer scans the label on one of your products and is treated to a visual-based overview of how it was made. Or perhaps, a full behind-the-scenes tour of your business.

You could even create an AR label that animates where the characters and text on the product label literally burst into life. Anything that gives the customer a better indication of who you are, what you do and what makes you special.

2. Humour and Entertainment

The same approach (animated AR product labels) can be used to inject good humour into your products. Along with informing and educating the customer about your brand and your products, making every effort to entertain them could also pay dividends.

Leveraging the power of AR labels for humour and entertainment purposes requires in-depth target audience knowledge. After all, there’s a very fine line between humorous and annoying.

But if you know there’s something you can do that will make your customers laugh, you’re golden. This is another great way to build and strengthen bonds with new and existing customers alike.

3. Games and Puzzles

Another option is to use your AR product labels to challenge your customers in some way. Games and puzzles can be great for both grabbing their attention and encouraging them to come back for more.

You could even bake something into your AR applications that enables your customers to take part in contests, competitions and giveaways, simply by playing your AR games.

Of course, the more complex and advanced your use of AR, the higher the likelihood you’ll need to hire a third-party developer. By considering the benefits engaging AR labels can bring, it’s a small price to pay for what you get in return.

Printing Augmented Reality Labels

Designing and printing augmented reality product labels is fairly straightforward; they need to feature the required microtext or visual cue (with the appropriate clarity and positioning) to trigger the response, but the rest of the label’s design can be approached in any way you like.

At Mercury Labels, we specialise in full-service label printing solutions for all types of product manufacturers. We have extensive experience in printing high-quality AR labels and sticky labels for a wide variety of businesses, with a diverse range of materials and adhesive options available to suit all requirements.

For more information on any of the above or to discuss AR label printing in more detail, contact a member of the team at Mercury Labels today

Craig Upton
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