Global augmented reality market gains are projected to top $133.8 billion by 2021. While much of that growth will be driven by demand for AR applications in the retail and automotive industries, it is safe to say that AR will leave few sectors untouched. Whether your business is only slightly affected by the AR revolution or experiences full disruption, there is one question you should be asking: How can augmented reality be used to grow sales?
Using AR to Engage Your Customers
The potential of AR to revolutionize sales strategies is huge. Unlike virtual reality, AR lets businesses engage prospective and existing customers without the need for special headsets. Using only customers’ smartphones and existing marketing channels, businesses can engage both prospects and patrons with dynamic interactive experiences no other medium can match.
Thanks to the Pokemon Go craze, the general public is already familiar with the concept of overlaying their real-world environment with digital images. Taking that concept to the next level, businesses in a variety of sectors can capitalize on public familiarity with AR to up their sales strategies. Understanding how augmented helps to boost sales is the first step to getting your sales numbers to the next level. Here are a few ways AR can be used to drive sales off the chart:
- Online retailers can use AR product catalogs to overcome the disadvantage of not having a showroom or retail store.
- Brick-and-mortar retailers can display specials to shoppers as they scan store aisles with their phones. Customers are significantly more likely to purchase items when they don’t have to take time to download coupons online.
- Contractors, architects, and designers can let clients preview a huge selection of designs within the customer’s environment before a design is decided upon. The more options a client has, the more likely they are to buy.
- Sales teams can display company products using highly interactive presentations right at the customer’s location.
- AR product models can be presented to prospective customers through regular email and social media channels, using basic mobile apps.
This list merely represents a few examples of how AR can supercharge your sales efforts. The full potential of AR is limited only by your imagination.
Augmented Reality Closing Sales
Augmented reality technology is not the future of sales technology — it is already here. A short list of big names shows how AR is being used to grow sales, today.
Lowe’s Home Improvement
By tapping the power of Google’s AR platform, Tango, the Lowe’s Vision app enables customers to see how furnishings, accents, fixtures, flooring, and other store products will look in their home. Removing uncertainty removes a major impediment to making the sale.
Lego overcomes another sales challenge by letting customers visualize what their products will look like once assembled. The Lego Digital Box kiosk displays a pseudo-3D image of what the product will look like once assembled. By taking a box off the store shelf and placing it in front of the kiosk, the customer can instantly see the completely assembled product displayed on the kiosk monitor.
Home furnishings provider, Ikea, makes their AR catalog available along with their print and online catalogs. Using a smartphone or tablet, customers can see how a furnishing will look in their home before they make a product selection. By making the app and AR catalog available alongside the regular catalog, Ikea is setting the example of how AR apps will increasingly become commonplace in marketing strategies.
Like Ikea’s AR app, Wayfair’s WayfairView app allows customers to “place” home furnishings and decor products in their home with accurate scaling. The 3D product models change perspective in relation to the user’s location, allowing a full 360 degree view of how the product will look in the buyer’s location.
While it cannot yet simulate a test drive, AR is rapidly changing how automotive dealerships sell cars. Through the use of mobile apps, dealerships can allow shoppers to have a 3D view of vehicles that are not on the showroom floor. Perhaps more significant, one could view how the latest model might look sitting in their own driveway. Now that is how you sell a car!
According to a recent survey, 72% of dealers in the UK expect to use AR technology to help sell vehicles by 2021. With the number of showrooms expected to decrease, AR provides an excellent opportunity to boost sales through presenting larger inventories at remaining dealerships.
Incorporating AR Technology into Your Sales Strategy
Depending on the nature of your business, there are a number of ways you can use AR to increase sales.
Delivering 3D Product Models and Product Information
For in-store marketing, the AR experience generally involves two methodologies: marker-based AR and markerless AR.
Marker-based AR utilizes 2D tags, such as AR codes or barcodes to signal to the mobile app which 3D product model or product information to render for the customer. Markerless AR uses image recognition to identify what the customer is scanning with their device, so that the proper 3D information is presented over the real image.
In-store, online, and in-home customers can also manually select products they wish to view in their real environment.
Knowing which technology to use is key to making your AR app convenient for your customers. And, as we all know, convenience is key to encouraging customers to make a purchase.
The Bottom Line
Email marketing, kiosks, AR catalogs, mobile apps, and in-store promotions all represent ways you can use augmented reality technology to drive sales higher. And the good news is, AR technology does not have to bust your budget to be effective. In fact, AR, as a sales tool, has one of the highest ROI of any technology.