Augmented reality (AR) for business is no more an element of surprise. It’s gradually entering mainstream business setup and delivery across a diverse domain of industries. Customers who expect a higher level of engagement from a brand are coming to expect AR functionalities embedded into product introduction and description functionalities. From furniture to beauty products, automobile to education, Fortune 500 businesses across the world are ramping up investments in AR integration at breakneck speed. The retail industry has been at the forefront of applications of augmented reality for business with significant enhancement in customer interaction and satisfaction across major brand outlets worldwide.
Consumers across all industry segments prefer to experience a product first hand before committing the penny. This is exactly where AR has proved to be an invaluable asset for global business worldwide. Augmented reality for business has the potential to become a sales driver by bringing products to life through a single click on a mobile application. At the threshold of a new decade it’s important to take stock of the real-time applicability and success models of AR application in business.
Launched in 2013, this Scandanavian furniture major redefined how furniture is bought both across physical stores and online. With an incredibly user friendly mobile app, IKEA PLACE, clients are provided with a virtual dressing room for trying out new furniture. While choosing their perfect home décor, office furniture or simply that cozy sofa in the living room consumers can visualize in-store furniture directly in their room. All it needs is a simple camera of mobile devices. Within a year of the application’s launch in 2017, the app ranked No. 2 among free apps that use Apple’s ARKit platform, ahead of dozens of gaming apps. With an impressive 4.7 rating in 2020, the app has seen over 90k downloads according to latest data from SensorTower. According to a study done by Earnest, IKEA ranks as the most favored furniture shopping brand for users in the age bracket 24-34. Consumers in this category love to get pampered with out-of-the-box solutions which make the process of furniture shopping a lot easier for mostly first time buyers. According to a survey by Centric Digital on Augmented reality in retail study on US customers, furniture ranks as the most favored product consumers want to buy through AR (60%).
Combining the ease of online shopping with the convenience of personalized shopping, IKEA has emerged as the global leaders in furniture retail. By allowing users test furniture in their home settings, IKEA has cut down on returns and scored majorly on customer satisfaction and goodwill, thereby boosting sales.
“From runway to retail” – Augmented Reality for business has taken off grandly with global fashion brand Zara. Clients can point their smartphones at seemingly plain signage and visualize catwalking models strutting across Zara’s aisles. The advertised outfits can be easily added to cart through a single tap, completing the product cycle. In April 2018, Zara replaced window displays and in-store mannequins with models and demonstration of products which can be viewed only through AR enabled apps.
As shown in an earlier infographic by Centric Digital, 55% of consumers in US, prefer AR apps to shop online for clothing. With a vast majority of millennial consumers preferring to try out dresses from the comfort of their homes, AR apps have provided the most convenient launch pads for virtual dressing rooms. AR modeling of product catalogs has been replicated by major brands worldwide, underlining the success of the Zara model.
A swanky new car showroom without any cars? Digital showrooms are the new reality for UK based car manufacturers MG Motors, who opened their first car less showroom in Bengaluru, India in 2019. Customers are served the MG Hector experience on large screens where they can experience all its features, before opting for a test drive. AR is used to project a virtual 3D image of the car in the digital showroom, where all attributes of the car, captured through multiple angles are displayed along with security features. On operational front, this novel concept minimizes costs of operating a conventional car showroom, including aspects such as space, rentals and infrastructure. In terms of customer experience, the wow factor is imminent for the tech savvy consumers who are handed over AR smartglasses instead of car keys.
Soft drink giants Coca Cola have majorly embraced augmented reality for business as a part of their customer interaction, promotion and B2B marketing efforts for the last many years. When users point their phone cameras towards the coke cans, animated stories revolving around minor conflicts between the characters come to life. All stories end with a lighthearted exchange over a glass of coke leading to a resolution and long lasting friendship. A visual playout of the brand stories goes a long way in establishing brand association, recall and promotion.
Augmented reality for business has massively transformed how customers interact with products brought to life, before proceeding to the cart. AR has provided the perfect competitive edge to businesses across various segments.
If you are an entrepreneur inspired by the success stories, we offer free consultation on AR provisions which would perfectly fit your business.