Once again, technology is proving to be an essential tool for modern business.
Snapchat recently launched a new set of augmented reality (AR) features designed to encourage users to buy products directly from its app. This was among the first instances of AR being commercialised for a mass consumer audience.
AR is transforming the online shopping experience. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which creates a fully artificial world, AR integrates computer-generated information on a user’s environment in real time, thus providing a composite view. In other words, with AR, you can experience just about anything you can imagine, but in the real world.
One of the first companies utilising this innovation has been Ikea. In collaboration with Apple, Ikea allows you to visualise how products would look, feel and fit in your home. With a scale of 98% accuracy, it provides true-to-life representations of the texture, fabric, lighting, and shadows that could make their way into your home.
Retailers have been experimenting with virtual try-ons for years; especially in the fashion industry, where tech-savvy retailers rule the roost. The first brand which launched the Dressing Room App was GAP, letting shoppers ‘try on’ clothes with no need to physically enter a store. All it needs is your height and weight and the app will develop a virtual 3D model, ready to be dressed up as you like. If you then like the way garments look on the model, the app enables you to buy products directly.
The innovation of AR is a refreshing addition to the social media and retail markets and one which brands should start taking advantage of. In Snapchat’s case, a foray into virtual reality (VR) tech proved unprofitable with only 0.08% of Snapchat users purchasing a pair of its VR goggles according to TechCrunch. AR however makes sense for Snapchat and many retailers. Without the need to invest in hardware, ecommerce companies and B2B businesses alike can facilitate a more frictionless shopping/sales process by pushing their products to consumers in new and exciting ways.
All of this is great for consumer marketing campaigns, but does it have the same implication for B2B campaigns too? The answer in short, is yes!
The tech enables a more streamlined sales process. It provides brands with alternative ways to reach audiences, whether it’s used for events, demos, training or presenting services, solutions and products.
Just like consumers, business needs to know if a product or service ‘suits’ them. AR gives brands the opportunity to let its customers ‘try things before you buy’, whether it’s equipment for the office, demonstrations of service processes to see how they work in the ‘real world’ or tour of venues for possible events. AR has just as much, if not more, relevance in a corporate environment.
Of course, AR shouldn’t be seen or treated as a standalone activity. It is not just the latest fad but nor is it a silver bullet that will fix everything in one shot. In order for it to be really successful, and deliver maximum returns, it must be part of fully integrated campaigns that provide the same user experiences throughout the customer journey.
We’re working on a number of AR campaigns for our clients which will allow them to provide greater levels of engagement for their customers. It will allow them to experience the product or services before they buy, therefore making sure they make the right purchase for their needs.
At Acceleris, we create integrated communications strategies for all our clients. If you want to have a chat about how we can use AR to really help your business … or if it’s actually just ‘reality’ you want from your communications, we do that too! Get in touch…