Augmented reality (AR) might be well known for things like Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go, but the capabilities of the tech involved go way beyond games and gimmicks.

For example, AR is becoming a must-have tool for major e-commerce brands. From virtually trying on glasses to checking how the furniture fits with your living room, its ability to bring digital products to life is becoming invaluable for consumers. And it’s not just e-commerce – pretty much every sector is looking at what AR can do for them.

But building an AR-capable app is a substantial investment, calculating the return is anything but easy, and it’s tough to put a business case together. But the value AR brings is measured in more than just traditional ROI – and once you know what the benefits can be, getting sign-off becomes a whole lot easier.

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So, what can you do with AR?

The first step to building a business case for AR is to lock down how you’re going to use it.

One of the unique abilities of augmented reality is that it can mimic a physical sales process in an increasingly digital world. Take high-value product brochures for example. Once you’ve sent a brochure to a client, you’d usually need to send a sales agent soon afterwards to give them more information and depth on what they’re checking out.

But when sending an agent isn’t possible, an AR app can add a level of interactivity that would otherwise be lost. As the client scans their phone over the physical brochure, an app can launch AR footage or other elements right in the palm of their hand. Phone features like the camera and accelerometer can bring the products to life by adding a dimension that images alone can’t.

AR isn’t just for showcasing products either. At your next trade event or expo you could have touchpoints around your stand that trigger an AR clip when guests interact with them. It’s a far more engaging way of drawing in potential leads than looping videos on a traditional trade stand screen and hoping people pay attention.

The challenges of calculating ROI

There are plenty of ways of making an augmented reality app part of your sales process. But if doing so could cost £30k to build and implement, how do you work out what return you’ll get on that investment?

For something like a home design company selling straight to consumers it’s easier to measure the value of AR because there’s a simple sales chain. The customer finds a pair of curtains they like and decides whether or not to buy them – and if they can actually see how those curtains look in their room using AR, they’re more likely to make the purchase.

With big enterprises the sales chain is more complex. There might be 50 or more steps and conversations need to happen at multiple levels before anything gets signed off. When an AR app affects a few days in an 18 month sales process, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly how and where the app tipped the balance in your favour.

But even if you can’t calculate a direct ROI, that doesn’t mean the value isn’t there. It just takes a bit of thinking outside the numbers to find the ammo you need for your business case.

Qualify leads, boost PR and deepen insight

First, being able to put an AR app in front of people means you can engage leads in a more involved, premium fashion, earlier in the sales process.

There’s also huge PR potential. Investing in AR demonstrates that your organisation is innovative and committed to giving your clients a premium service with tools that lift their experience. It’s a statement – and one that industry press love.

But even more important than that, an AR app gives you even greater control over your sales process via analytics.

As users log in to use the app, their data can show you exactly what they’re interested in. That feeds straight back to your sales manager, so you’ll know if a potential lead is spending more time checking out Product B than Product A, and this can drive your conversations as a result.

These analytics also mean you no longer depend on sending an agent out to a physical location to qualify a lead’s interest. Not only does that widen your potential market (if you don’t have an office in a particular region), but it can also be pretty effective in terms of cost-saving too.

Likewise, if you use AR technology at an expo, you’ll get much deeper data into how people are interacting with your organisation, and you’ll be able to see what elements of your content are creating the most traction.

Suddenly you’ve got insights into your clients that you could never get without investing in AR technology. So even if you can’t correlate ROI directly with your AR app, you’ll be able to measure ROI more accurately because of it.  

If you’re looking to enhance your sales process with augmented reality, speak to us to see how Morrow can help.

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