A quick guide to AR

A quick guide to…. Augmented Reality

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We live in a virtual world – smartphones that let us pay for our shopping, apps that let us turn up our heating or switch on our lights, even doorbells that capture a live video feed of who is ringing the bell. There’s also the emergence of virtual reality to immerse us in a whole new world simply by putting a headset on. So how can businesses get in on the act? We think augmented reality is the way to go…

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What exactly is augmented reality?

It’s the art of taking what’s in front of you and adding a digital element, often using a smartphone. Snapchat filters are a great example of this – they still need a ‘live’ view but you can play around with the final image by adding in different digitally-enhanced elements.

Why is this useful in business?

It can be a great marketing and sales tool as it allows would-be customers to engage and interact with something they’re interested in. As a result, you hope to create an emotional response that helps them decide if they want to make a purchase or commit to whatever is on offer.

Is it the same as virtual reality?

No; there are some quite big differences. Virtual reality is about shutting out the outside world and fully immersing yourself in the reality presented by the headset you’re wearing. With augmented reality, it’s more about digitally enhancing what’s in front of you to see different options, typically through the lens of a camera.

What would trigger someone turning on ‘augmented reality’?

This is where the technology gets really clever because there are a whole host of ways you can reach someone. From your very own snapchat filter through to smart packaging and dedicated apps, there are some very tailored ways to help support your marketing efforts and a number of agencies out there that specialise in making the most of this technology.

Photo credit - IKEA

I’m guessing it’s not cheap – how would I know it’s working?

There are several ways you can evaluate the success of an augmented reality campaign to help you understand how hard your campaign, and therefore your money, is working for you. Things like how many people access the ‘experience’, how long they spend on it and what they do after interacting with your ‘experience’ all help tell the story of its success.

As the technology and knowledge surrounding augmented reality develops, we can expect to see it applied across all typed of industries. It’s already being trialled by some construction firms to help clients visualise what a certain space or area could look like which could transform the way business like ours work. It’s a space we’re watching with interest and we think it’s a great technology to have in your marketing toolkit to help you as part of an immersive customer experience.

Who’s leading the charge on AR in Retail?

IKEA are one retail giant who have truly embraced the latest technology available developing ‘IKEA Place’. IKEA Place lets you virtually place true-to-scale 3D models in your very own space. By combining the latest AR technology and IKEA's home solutions you can experience IKEA like never before, allowing you to see potential pieces of furniture in your own home before purchasing.


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