November 16, 2021
By 2022, it is projected that there will be 3.5 billion mobile Augmented Reality (AR) users, which is 44% of the world’s population!
The AR market is projected to grow to $140 billion in the next few years and will no doubt be in the mainstream very soon.
This growth and mainstream adoption is a clear signal for brands and retailers to harness the power of AR and 3D modelling for their marketing and sales activations. As consumers get more used to the idea of AR, they will start to demand more. That’s where brands can stand out amongst their competitors by being early adopters of this future technology.
Augmented Reality and 3D are some of the most flexible and engaging future technologies at our disposal. Their ability to work in almost any arena makes them the perfect universal selling tool for brands and retailers wanting to boost conversions and build brand loyalty.
Selling in person can be a very difficult task. You’ve got key points to nail, a relationship to build all whilst being able to show off your product. In this context, AR can create new efficiencies for the sales team, especially those out on the road often.
For brands that produce and sell large items, transportation is always a problem. It’s not very easy to pick up a fridge or medical unit and transport is across a country. This is where 3D modelling can help create an exact replica of the product that sits on your phone. You are able to see all angles of the product and manipulate as needed.
Moreover, using AR to bring the 3D model to life will allow sales teams to show the product in situ for clients, thus shortening the buying decision process of consumers no longer having to worry about spacing.
AR also allows for deployment absolutely anywhere. Whether you are on a train, at an exhibition or in the office; you are able to pick up your mobile device and bring the product to life at the touch of a button.
AR helps sales teams stay efficient and aids them in showing off your product, convincing consumers to purchase and in a fun, engaging way!
As we begin to return to some normality in-store, it is likely that consumers will move to a hybrid model of shopping that includes physical retail spaces and e-commerce. Augmented Reality plays a really pivotal role in that transition as it helps us build a bridge between the online and offline worlds.
Similar to in-person selling, AR does allow for efficiencies of space which frees up existing retail space to create immersive experiences for customers.
E-commerce fashion portal, Farfetch, understood this and created an engaging experience for shoppers that intertwined the digital and offline worlds together.
Farfetch provided connected clothing racks, touch-screen-enhanced mirrors and sign-in stations that pulled data collected online to use in-store.
We can see from the above image that the store isn’t crowded with clothes racks or sale displays but instead the retail space is designed to give consumers a smooth experience with integrated touch-screen features.
Current technological advances could allow customers to virtually try on various different colours of a particular product or even measure certain measurements to get the perfect fit. All of these efforts help consumers visualise the product they will be taking home before purchasing, thus shortening the consideration period in the buying cycle and boosting conversions.
For more complicated or bespoke products, brands can include 3D configurators, similar to NikeID so that customers can design, tweak and customise their purchase all at the touch of a button with the support of staff in the store. This could change how we buy furniture, electrical goods and even clothing!
Using 3D renders for e-commerce product shots is not a new idea, yet many brands have still not taken this step. Ikea, for example, has been using 3D renders since 2006 across their catalogue and online store. Not only does this allow Ikea to be flexible in all of their images, but according to their IT Manager, it is also cost-effective and better for the environment. In an interview he said “From both an environmental and time point of view, we don’t want to have to ship in all those white goods from everywhere, shoot them and then ship them all back again.” — genius!
That being said, both AR and 3D have much more to give when it comes to selling online. Tools such as Flix AR or IKEA’s AR app give consumers the power to try a product in their own space. Using a 3D model of a product they are browsing such as a Fridge in their kitchen, users can truly visualise their purchase in a natural setting. Technologies such as Flix AR help boost conversions and reduce costly returns by giving consumers more information at the time of purchase.
Research undertaken by IKEA found that almost 3/4 of consumers do not know how big their homes are and so being able to test the size of furniture before purchasing made the buying cycle smoother and more efficient.
AR and E-commerce have already found a beautiful synergy and we expect this to continue and develop further. Similarly, social media has also harnessed the power of AR on a number of different platforms. This technology gives brands a channel to experiment and explore new ways to engage customers and eventually lead them back for a purchase.
A common example of this is the use of AR filters during product launches. Adidas teamed up with Snapchat in 2019 for the launch of its UltraBoost running shoe. The brand used AR filters and 3D modelling to allow users to preview and try on its new product, the Ultraboost 2019 running shoe. Giving a personalised, in-app experience that mimicked what it would be like in an Adidas store.
Similar examples include MAC’s eyelash filter that allowed consumers to try on different products and encouraged them to swipe up and purchase their favourite.
One step further, some brands have looked to build brand loyalty through gamification. A great example is Men In Black’s alien shooting game. As it was gearing up for launch, the film released a game that encouraged users to shoot aliens within their surroundings.
They were able to build interest in the film and also encourage users to swipe up to find out more and book a ticket.
OnePlus created an Instagram filter using AR that gave consumers the experience of unboxing their OnePlus8 smartphone. This ingenious activity helped give customers a better idea of what is inside the box, a close-up of the mobile phone, charger and accessories whilst recalling that exciting feeling of unboxing a new purchase.
The filter is still live on Instagram and you can also experience unboxing the OnePlus8 in the comfort of your own home. This experience caught the attention of brand fans and techies alike and put OnePlus in a new light, helping them sell their new flagship phone.
Augmented Reality and 3D modelling are supposedly ‘futuristic technologies’, however, we can see that their use is already widespread amongst a number of big brands across the world and its move into the mainstream is happening right before our eyes.
Augmented Reality is very much technology in the present and one that is a universal selling tool, no matter your sector or size.
Find out more about Flix AR.