Following the footsteps of IKEA and L’Oreal, businesses across verticals started dreaming up uses for augmented reality (AR) that could enhance the customer experience. This massive growth of AR-based business applications can be attributed to the ARKit launched by Apple.
“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.” —Tim Cook
Rightly so, millennial apps like Snapchat and Instagram have made AR a phenomenon. Borrowing from such app experiences, innovative businesses are using AR to enhance the customer experience. While some of them use AR apps, others are taking a simpler approach to achieve this – AR-enabled QR codes. In this blog post, we will discuss innovative mobile AR concepts in 2019 and how to achieve them without spending thousands of product-building dollars.
1. Find the parking
We’re all victims of losing our parked car spots, especially in a shopping mall because everything looks the same and as a consequence, spend minutes scouting for it. The need for an AR-enabled parking app is the answer to this issue. One has to simply feed in their car number and the parking spot’s location after parking; the app will then guide you to your parked car without much dillydallying.
2. Navigation and wayfinding
Airports are constantly trying to exploit the latest technology to improve the user experience. Augmented Reality can help them achieve this motive even further. Deploying AR in airports can help a traveler in every step of their journey – a roadmap of the airport for easy navigation prior to the departure, check-in, security check, route to the gate, boarding the flight, arrival, and sorting the transport to reach their respective destination.
This concept, when shaped to reality, will solve every traveler’s woes, thus leaving an indelible mark on the traveler.
3. Explore a new city
Google Maps works well for navigating to places in a new city. But one still needs to search for best restaurants nearby, places to visit and more on Google. With an AR-enabled app like this, finding places to visit, food outlets etc becomes a lot easier and fun.
4. Modify visual attributes for home decor
AR-enabled apps like these help in reimagining our dreams into reality with a simple two-step process. Furniture conglomerate giant IKEA has already implemented AR in their business models. The concept of try-and-buy works rather effortlessly when it comes to decor. Just click a picture of the item you want to purchase, mix and match it with different color combinations, and place the product in the desired spot for the possible outcome. Voila!
Real-world implementation of this application: IKEA’s direct mailers include QR codes that open up in the IKEA app and allows people to see life-size furniture in their space.
5. Facial surgery recommendations
Most consumers are petrified of going to a botox clinic to get any kind of procedure done because they’re unsure of the end result. This AR-enabled app will help view the effects of the augmentations by selecting different kinds of treatments. The app can even show the ingredients that go into the product, rate cards, and the final outlook.
6. Try before buy (clothing, shoes, glasses)
This might be one of our favorite AR-enabled concepts out of the list. Footwear shopping can be tedious for reasons more than one, and they are quite obvious. This sneaker AR app gives online shoppers an option to try the sneakers using AR before purchasing them. The process is very simple – point the camera at the foot, the AR recognizes the foot, and then overlays the new shoe on top of the existing one to show the new look in real-time. This sneaker app even lets one take pictures of the shoe to compare and buy.
One of the other use cases for ecommerce apps is to help consumers with the size chart. An AR feature that helps measure the size of the foot helps consumers move faster in their purchase phase.
Real-world implementation of this application:
1. PUMA’s LQDCELL Origin Limited Release AR shoes were completely decked out in QR codes that could be scanned by the wearer in the app to see a flaming pair of shoes and even take pictures of it.
2. Lenskart was one of the first leading eyewear brands in India to introduce the concept of AR. The Lenskart app and website both support the ‘3D Try On’ feature. The procedure is quite simple – allow the app to access the camera and it shows how the frame looks like on your face in real-time. The experience is rather impressive, with the camera even letting you see how the frame looks like in multiple angles.
AR TOOLS: Implementing AR for your business
According to a Statista forecast, the market of augmented and virtual reality is expected to reach the size of $215 billion in 2021. With this potential, AR attracts small businesses and enterprises alike. With this in mind, I have put together a host of ways in which businesses of all sizes can implement AR.
- Using an app for AR – Building an AR app is extremely easy with app building platforms such as AppyPie and Shoutem. These DIY app builders allow users to select an app layout, drag and drop features such as AR scanner, 3D object positioning, image recognition, and geo-based augmented reality. Once the app looks good, it can be easily published on the App Store.
However, if you are looking for AR SDKs for an iOS mobile app, these are some of the good recommendations – Vuforia, ARToolKit, and Apple AR Kit.
- Using a QR code generator – Giant brands like IKEA and PUMA have apps to achieve AR. However, these experiences are not universal because downloading an app acts as a deterrent. When using a QR code for the same purpose, consumers do not need an app. This is because all iOS smartphones have native QR code scanning capabilities in their camera app.
AR can be delivered with images known as markers. Markers are a sort of simplified QR-codes. AR.js define specific 3D scenes for specific markers, so when the camera recognizes a marker, the web-app shows the 3D model on top of it. Here’s an online tool to create markers.
Once a marker is created, it can be linked to a QR code using an online QR code generator. Even better if the business could add a brand logo to the QR code for brand recall. When consumers scan the QR code, they can visualize a 3D projection from it. Here’s an example of what a QR code-based AR would look like –
- Enable AR directly from your website – Using the industry’s leading 3D scanner and modeling, Seek, a revolutionary AR platform turns any product image into a realistic 3D model. This is especially useful for eCommerce brands looking to implement AR at scale. However, this is not a free platform. The prices start at $99 per month.
From building a gaming experience to enhancing customer experience, AR implementation is on a steep curve. Have other innovative and exciting ideas around AR? Drop-in your ideas in the comment box below.
This is a guest post contributed by Monika Adarsh. Monika is One quarter UX designer and three quarters product marketer at Beaconstac. Obsessed with tech-driven solutions and user experience.