Imagine you’re redecorating your home… I know it’s not a pleasant thought.
You’re looking out over your living room, and you want to know is the couch you saw at the furniture store going to fit. The spot you had in mind seemed a lot bigger when you were eyeing that sectional sofa.
Or maybe you’re trying to figure out “is that couch going to match the rest of the room?” because the lighting might not be the same at home as it was in the store.
You’ve got color swatches and a measuring tape ready to go, and you’re going to tackle this project.
What if I told you that you could solve this by pulling out your smartphone instead, and you never have to step foot in the store.
That’s exactly what IKEA has set out to solve with their new app.
The Swedish furniture giant has a longstanding reputation with its customers: we love the prices and the products (and the meatballs), but the process is painful. The maze-like store layout and the hassle of construction are thoroughly permeated into the customer experience and even pop culture.
Today, IKEA is transforming that narrative through a new app called IKEA Place.
With the app, you can use augmented reality to “see” IKEA furniture in your home with unprecedented accuracy and realism—without ever leaving the house. Customers can use the app to experiment with different styles, share and collaborate with others in their household, create shopping lists, place orders, and improve confidence in their furniture-buying decision.
Remember that couch you were considering?
Turns out it’s just not right, but the IKEA Place app helped you find one that fits the space and matches your ottoman perfectly. As you’re finishing up the purchase on your phone, the app can suggest a rug that complements your wall color, or other items that might look great in your space.
In other words, the IKEA Place app solves problems for all IKEA customers, even the people who love a good five-hour shopping trip, all while increasing revenue, improving customer confidence, and lowering losses due to returned items.
IKEA is changing customers’ expectations of what it means to shop for furniture.
In today’s tech-driven world, mobile technologies are continually disrupting powerful industries. Businesses that fail to meet elevated customer expectations risk being left behind. As augmented and virtual reality technology (AR/VR) continues to improve in accuracy and accessibility, you may be jumping at the chance to incorporate the new technology into your business.
But should you? And how should you incorporate that into your strategy?
As Transformational Marketers, it’s our job to keep our ear to the ground for new innovations. But it’s also our responsibility to evaluate how those technologies align with your brand story, business goals, and customer needs. Below are four critical things to consider before your business invests in augmented reality:
4 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in AR/VR
1. Am I chasing a bright shiny object?
In the marketing world, it’s tempting to chase after those bright, shiny non-solutions. You know, the ones that might get you on the cover of a publication but quickly fizzle out, because they don’t align with your Story, fit with your Strategy, or integrate with your Systems.
Take a step back from the hype of the technology and make sure your goals and objectives are clearly defined before you leap head first into an endeavor like virtual reality. Ask yourself, “Do I want this because it’s cool and will generate some buzz, or will this drastically change how customers experience my brand for the better?”
2. Does AR/VR solve my customers’ problems?
Evaluate your Buyer Personas. What are their goals and challenges? How do they want to interact with your brand?
Along their journey, where can an augmented reality experience alleviate those challenges to help them meet their goals? For IKEA customers, the overwhelming effort of the purchasing process created stressful experiences, unsure purchases, and sometimes shopper’s remorse. IKEA could have created a VR application that let people “walk” around the store, but that doesn’t really solve the underlying problem. Instead, the app’s augmented reality focused design and functionality come back to customer needs at every touchpoint.
3. How will AR/VR connect in the Customer BuyWay?
Say you’ve discovered ways that AR/VR can make your customers’ lives easier. How do you then link that positive interaction into a sale for your product or service? The AR/VR experience can’t end in the virtual space; you must have the Strategy and Systems in place to nurture that connection into a concrete action.
4. What does AR/VR success look like?
Creating an AR/VR experience for your company requires an upfront investment of time, money and strategy—that’s a given. Your planning can’t stop there. How will you measure, analyze and evaluate the success of your new AR/VR project? It’s crucial for your team to have goals and checkpoints along the way so that your strategy can adapt based on performance and the ever-evolving expectations of your customers.
These four core questions should provide you with a guide as your business innovates and adapts to new technologies like augmented and virtual reality, but it’s important to remember these things are just tools or tactics.
The customer’s experience of your brand is more than just one touchpoint. It comes down to whether your brand has the right Story, the right Strategy, and the right Systems in place to be successful. Learn how to integrate TopRight’s 3S approach to bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your marketing efforts. Download our latest eBook Transformational Marketing: Moving to the TopRight to learn more.