Augmented reality (AR) is one of the top technology trends for 2018 according to the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018” report published by Gartner, with mobile AR been one of the main drivers of a $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021.
eCommerce sales generated by businesses using AR technology will represent about 19% of total revenue for VR/AR business models (source: Digi-Capital’s Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2017).
Among all major tech companies, Apple is the best placed to potentially drive mobile AR adoption. With the release of iOS 11, ARKit, and augmented reality-ready phones, Apple is definitely investing in the AR technology, and all of this could ultimately lead to more experimentation and better products. For Apple customers, there would be no marginal cost to buying an AR enabled iPhone – they’re going to buy one anyway.
Samsung is also expected to stick to its product strategy with mobile AR using similar timing to Apple. With others driving apps and software in that market too.
But the main market battle in mobile AR will still be Apple vs Google that could end up looking like iOS vs Android.
Apple ARkit could be a game changer for AR consumer adoption. The challenge is that while the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X are optimized for augmented reality viewing, many phones – particularly cheaper options with lower-end cameras – aren’t.
Back in 2015 a study by Walker Sands showed that 35 percent of consumers surveyed said they would shop more online if they could interact with products virtually. AR will not only improve but also upgrade the shopping experience as we know it.
Now, there are many factors to consider carefully before making a decision in adopting AR technology.
Advantages & disadvantages of adopting AR technology
- AR offers customers the confidence that may motivate purchasing decisions.
- AR allows customers to view the in-depth information available online – including reviews, related products and price – while simultaneously looking at the actual physical product via a smartphone.
- AR provides customers with an in-store shopping experience, regardless of their location.
- Cost of entry is still relatively low, and the potential benefits are outrageously high.
- AR technology is still in the learning section of its maturity curve for mass-market adoption.
- AR is not technology, but business innovation that requires organizational adaptation.
- AR simply isn’t mature enough to apply to the business problems of all, or even most, organizations right now.
How to win in the (soon to be) crowded AR market?
First of all, an organization have to make sure that it’s investing in AR for the right reason. Sometimes (and maybe too often) companies jump on the latest technology trend bandwagon and use it as PR stunt. So, how should an organization incorporating AR in its overall business strategy?
- Be ready organizational wise by immersing employees, partners and customers in a digital world.
- Consider to test AR as a tactic not a strategy.
- Use AR to enhance each step of its customer journey.
- Determine in what form AR fits in its overall mobile strategy.
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