24 Jul 2019


Jul 24, 2019



In 2019, augmented reality (AR) is not a new concept anymore.

The term first appeared in 1990 within the works of Thomas P. Caudell, a researcher for Boeing. Back then, AR was being used for military purposes. Fast forward to 2016 when the Pokémon Go app was breaking all types of records worldwide, and now AR is mostly associated with the gaming industry.

Yet there is another market that has more recently become a target for AR developers.

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash
Zion Market Research


The business sector has been testing the benefits of AR in many new ways. Training employees and marketing campaigns are only a couple of recent examples.

The global AR market is expected to reach USD 133.78 billion within the next two years. That’s, without a doubt, a huge growth from its value of USD 3.33 billion in 2015, which clearly cannot all be attributed to gaming companies.

But why are so many business owners eager to explore the world of AR? Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the more exciting developments…


A marketer’s purpose is to attract and retain the customer’s attention towards their company’s product or service. He/she is the one constantly nurturing the relationships with consumers, which naturally requires new incentives as consumer needs and interests evolve over time.

Fitting rooms are a concept that most retailers embrace because they encourage customers to make a purchase immediately at their store. This is a marketing tactic that fulfills a consumer’s need for physically connecting to an item and helps them make a confident buying decision.

It might seem that with the rising popularity of e-commerce, fitting rooms would be a thing of the past. However, today’s brick-and-mortar shops often struggle with long lines forming outside of fitting rooms. In response to crowded stores and too many people waiting to try on, Converse launched a Sampler App using AR in 2010. Users were able to virtually “try on” available styles by positioning their feet in front of the camera and then scaling the shoe to fit.


The latest AR tech has made it possible for Nike to enhance their shoe app. It not only lets you visualize shoes, it also allows you to measure your feet and accurately predict the right shoe fit. This can help reduce returns and boost confidence in online purchases.

Using facial recognition, AR apps have moved from basic Snapchat filters to allowing cosmetics companies to show how a product would appear on a potential customer. AR is clearly getting attention in this segment of the market. A great example of this is how app maker Modiface was just purchased by cosmetics giant L’Oreal. Again bucking the online only trend, companies are also purchasing AR-enabled mirrors for in-store experiences like this video.

Similarly, furniture retailers can benefit from an AR app to allow consumers to visualize products within their own space. Companies such as IKEA and Wayfair have developed their own AR apps that allow customers to easily place a piece of furniture in their space and test it for size and style. We’ve actually developed our own AR app that allows companies to test pieces in a similar way, but it’s also connected with a QR code loading system. This allows the user to load models from any company, not just one large client.


AR has the potential to provide meaningful branded interactions that enhance the customer experience while simultaneously increasing brand exposure, customer loyalty and – the big jackpot – profits.

These interactions don’t need to be online only, either. They can solve physical store issues such as staffing at makeup counters and virtually displaying items not in the store. Those makeup counters can also save money on samples previously used for testing purposes. With these experiences in-store, customers can receive instant gratification by being able to purchase and use the product instantly.

What more could you ask for? Well, the marketing benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies across industries such as manufacturing and construction may also find this technology extremely helpful in their day-to-day tasks. Training programs, quality checks, and informational assistance during work tasks are all in development for AR.

AR definitely isn’t a new concept anymore and we can’t wait to explore what’s next.

Are you curious about all of
MediaLab’s AR capabilities?