Augmented Reality (AR) is more than a passing buzzword, and one with a clear application in business and commerce. 2017 has seen the (admittedly) passing fad of Pokemon Go rise and recede – but not without leaving consumers with a better sense of what might be.
The likes of Apple have launched standards such as ARKit — helping developers create and deploy apps easily. And this will no doubt pave the way for a raft of opportunities to mesh the physical and the digital in other sectors such as retail eCommerce and property (finishing what vintage apps like Layer started, albeit a touch too soon to market). Furniture is a top category in which consumers crave the type of context an AR experience can bring. Its no surprise apps like IKEA’s Place are a success — by allowing customers to see what any of the 2000 items in their catalogue might look like in-situ, there’s a very real pain point being solved.
Even if people don’t buy online, we can at least create a pre-disposition to purchase through a valuable, new touchpoint. Creating these opportunities for engagement is even more import with big ticket items — lets take The Rug Company as an example. The business sells rugs that can go up in price to 30k — considered purchases where conversion isn’t always about selling, just this very minute at least.
More importantly, creating supporting imagery for the rugs is painfully expensive – and even with good campaign or lifestyle shots and corresponding mood boards, its extremely hard to know what a large patterned rug will actually look like in your home. Hard for the consumer and expensive for the business.
Similarly, we recently conducted a ‘service safari’ to audit how Farrow & Ball advise customers on paint shades — a difficult process that involves a deep understanding of which shades work with which materials, what shades work with different lighting situations and which way your windows face.
The above examples, are clear opportunities for the implementation of AR – not only would it go some way to help contextualise what that rug might look like in your room, or what that colour shade might look like on your wall, its (relatively) easy to implement. The surfaces are, after all, flat. Easier to do than, say, adding a few pounds to a photo of a friends face. Which we’ve all done, convincingly.