Augmented Reality Means Business

Knowing where to begin, when considering implementing an Augmented Reality (AR) strategy into your business, can be the biggest hurdle. Understanding your customers and what they want is a great starting point. As is looking to International markets, where AR and VR are already being tested with impressive results. There are many case studies available online that can be provide inspiration and help you identify the opportunities within your sector.

In Australia, 44 per cent of consumers said that they’d be more likely to purchase online if they could virtually see what an item looked like on them or in their home before buying (Paypal mCommerce in Australia Index 2018).

The most forward-thinking businesses are already opening up new, imaginative worlds for their customers with the aid of immersive technologies such as AR and VR and whilst they are still uncommon, they represent a great way to enhance the customer-brand relationship.

In terms of business adoption, just 5 per cent of online businesses in Australia offer AR, while 32 per cent are currently developing or intending to develop an AR experience (Paypal mCommerce in Australia Index 2018).

There is no doubt AR and VR will become more and more widespread as businesses realise their potential, in terms of customer engagement and enhanced experience. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop using augmented reality. In just a few years’ time, AR and VR may be as common and familiar as mobiles are today. “Within five years augmented reality will not look as clunky and mechanical as it does today, it will be comfortable, and we will be using it on our couches,” says futurist Doug Stephens.

Considering the gap between consumer appetite and the low volume of businesses currently vying for a share of their attention, this presents an incredible opportunity for those willing to invest in immersive technology.

Tony Been, Houzz ANZ Director told Women Love Tech: “Since Houzz launched its initial version of View in My Room 3D within its app for iPhone and iPad in May 2017, over two million people have used AR when buying products in the Houzz app. People who engaged with the tool were 11x more likely to purchase and spent 2.7x more time in the app.”

Success will increasingly depend on your ability to offer customers a personalised, seamless experience in any environment, ultimately bridging the gap between online and offline worlds and providing a new level of utility and experience.

AR and VR are poised to play an interesting role in a market where everyone is hyper-connected and moving seamlessly between online and offline worlds.

To help you on your journey, we’ve put together our top four tips:

Make it useful — Beware you don’t fall into the ‘us too’ category. By knowing your customers and what they are looking for in terms of utility or gamification, you can craft a solution that adds value to their lives — as opposed to a gimmick they will try once and abandon.

The Ikea ‘Place’ app is a great example of this, solving the age-old issue of helping shoppers place items in their house to virtually ‘try before they buy’. When it comes to augmented and virtual reality, success will be dependent on two things; utility and/or entertainment.

Make it scalable — As with any new technology being implemented into your business, considerable resource is poured into launching a new initiative. Once you wow your customers, they will be hungry for more, so look for AR solutions that are easy to scale to other verticals or new products and services.

Shout about it — Eventually, AR will become mainstream, making it harder to gain media and consumer attention for your work. So, a solid marketing plan is essential to getting PR mileage and consumer interest for your AR app or activations. Again, by understanding your customers and what they are looking for, you will be able to craft a narrative that ensures you connect with existing and prospective customers and hopefully snag some online attention at the same time.

Make is shareable — Augmented reality naturally appeals to more tech-savvy consumers; and encouraging those consumers to become brand ambassadors by recording and sharing their augmented reality experiences online can be one of the most powerful outcomes for your business.

Pepsi’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter AR campaign proved the effectiveness of AR when a company truly knows their audience. The video of the bus shelter’s AR technology attracted over six million views on YouTube, making it one of YouTube’s most viewed advertising campaigns.

As network speeds get faster (5G is tipped to launch in Australia 2019/2020), we’ll be able to use our phones to do things that we can hardly even imagine today.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the CEO of Apple Tim Cook — “Simply put, we believe augmented reality is going to change the way we use technology forever. We’re already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn.”

Jade Harley is Head of Partnerships & Marketing at AR Tech and Sweep.

Get in contact to learn more about immersive technologies and custom solutions for your business — jade@sweep.im

The world’s FIRST community-based Augmented Reality (AR) shopping app. Sweep helps you find, claim and share deals near you.

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