5 ways you can use Augmented Reality in your business
Augmented Reality has been gaining steady popularity in the recent years. I like to believe that it is because it is not just another recipe for engagement, but a base ingredient with which businesses can make great products for all kinds of uses. Lately, we've been using AR with our clients for marketing and engagement (off course..), but also as a sales tool, and even an educational one.
Before we go into the content of this post, I want to be clear in defining what Augmented Reality is, and what it is not. Unlike Virtual Reality, we're not talking about completely immersing the user into a digital world like you've probably seen with Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift using 360-degree videos or video games. AR is the juxtaposition of digital elements in the real world, by means of using your environment, a trigger image, or even a GPS location. As I started saying, I believe this can be transformed into several things depending on the nature of your business, and your goals.
Here are 5 examples:
- VISUAL AID
One of my favorite examples of this was developed by Ikea. They allowed their clients to go beyond imagining how a product would look on their house into actually placing it there using AR. Although this was made years ago, and the reliability of the tools wasn't what it is today, the app was a huge success (it had 8.3 million users!). They understood not only how to engage their clients, but how to provide them more accurate information. In other words, they found out how to give applicability to their app (you would think this was more common sense) and made it not only fun, but useful.
You might have noticed that printed advertising is rapidly declining in popularity. One of the obvious reasons is the limited availability of information that can be compressed into a one-page ad, or even a whole catalog. Google's latest research on consumption emphasizes that brands need to be there in their consumers critical moment of decision, and that means be there with relevant information. A cool way that we pitched this for an agency a while ago was to provide users with a way to try out all of a brand's watches (and I mean all of their watches) in and out of the store where users might be privy to a few-to-no physical SKUs available for them to try. The result was an impressive way to bring content to a client that just might not be there at the moment.
New technologies engage. I believe there is an expiration date on the ability to call AR a 'new' technology, but as long as its not mainstream, people will keep sharing their experiences with AR both in and out of their houses and stores on social media. Lego did a really cool project by allowing people to see their products built in store with the help of a TV, a camera, and AR.
As long as its not mainstream, people will keep sharing their experiences with AR on social media
The campaign received loads of free publicity, among which there was an article in fastcompany.com calling Lego The Apple of Toys.
- SALES AID / ENGAGEMENT
Most people don't think of apps in general as having a function in companies beyond the marketing department, but some of our most successful projects have actually been exclusive to the sales, HR, or logistics departments within companies.
One cool example was using AR to provide Duracell's sales team with an opportunity to increase their sales by focusing on placing more branded displays in the stores. By using markerless detection (using the environment's own textures and colors), we showed them in the sales floor digitally and showed product information without having to carry the actual thing from place to place.
Finally, AR can be very useful when providing guidance to users in or out of the store. In supermarkets for example, triggers can be configured to give directions to users and help them find their products faster.
In a more general sense, you can provide users with education about your product that they can interact with, for example a fully animated 3D model of a complex product that needs to be seen from different perspectives to be fully grasped (a car or a tool, for example).
To summarize, AR is not only a tool that you can use in advertising, but a means to be there for your client with the relevant information they need, in a more dynamic manner and, at least for now, in a more engaging way.