"Blending AR effects and messaging solves a real problem for people shopping online. There are so many situations where we need to visualize a product before we feel comfortable buying it. We often seek input from our friends and family before making a purchase. This feature — launching in closed beta — leverages the nature of messaging to help people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, customizations, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store." David Marcus, Nike's VP of Messaging Products.

Here is how the experience unfolded: First, there was what Nike called "the secret knock". Sneaker fans had to obtain and line up a sequence of four emojis, which were distributed by Messenger-based social influencers working with Nike. Then, in a communication with Nike's bot within Messenger, they entered these four as a code.

The "knock" revealed a link to a "Red Carpet'" experience which, when clicked, opened the phone's camera and allowed the user to see the sneakers atop a pedestal surrounded by a red carpet. The Red Carpets are a limited edition shoe branded by basketball star Kyrie Irving.

The user could then examine the sneaker by walking around the pedestal, viewing its superimposition over a real environment through the camera screen.
When the user exited the experience, a screen offered the opportunity to purchase the shoes. And some number of sneaker fans did, immediately. Here's a summary of the user flow.
While AR certainly has a "wow" factor going for it, this is probably going to wear off over time. So, the Nike test project might give some hints about what a successful AR-based sales event might look like, with ROI boosting the buzz generated by the excitement brought by the use of technology.

In the end, AR over reality will certainly boost a product because of the idea that still images aren't nearly as attractive as seeing them in the real world.