Augmented Reality in B2B: New opportunities for companies 

What is meant by augmented reality, or “AR” for short? How can AR be integrated into a company context? And what advantages does the application bring? We will give you the answers in the following article.  
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What is augmented reality? 

Augmented Reality can be loosely translated as “extended reality” and is currently used primarily in the areas of marketing and entertainment Reality is supplemented with the help of virtual products and tools and is not hidden, as is the case with virtual reality. 

AR offers particularly for the B2B area exciting possibilities, but this technology has so far rarely been used here. Within the B2C sector, however, AR is used more frequently. Products can be visualized on a real scale at the customer's location and examined in detail in order to stand out from other competitors who do not have this option of interactive product presentation. 

Examples for AR implementations in companies can be found at: 

  • Snapchat through interactive filters in the entertainment sector. 
  • Misterspex by virtually trying on glasses in the online shop. 
  • Pokemon Go in the area of games through visualized elements and interaction with them in the player's environment. 
  • Wayfair and Ikea through visualizations in the area of interior design. 
  • Amazon through the Amazon app for the visual placement of various products such as kitchen and electrical appliances or furniture in your own home. 

How does augmented reality work? 

In order to integrate AR into the corporate context, a module is first required which 3D product models on your own screen or subsequently as AR on mobile devices. You don't necessarily need data glasses (similar to VR glasses) to use AR, but it can of course still be used in different contexts. A smartphone or tablet is enough to see the environment with virtually enhanced elements through the display. 

It is also important to be able to connect the module to your company's existing product information management (PIM). Within the PIM, the data - for example, technical descriptions - are stored and managed centrally so that they can be accessed when using the digital module are directly accessible for AR. 

For the customer, after successful internal preparation, for example, a QR code on the website or other information pages of the product. The QR code leads to a representation of the product in AR mode on any mobile device of the customer and can be accessed flexibly at any time. Alternatively, the AR mode can also be implemented directly on the website. An example of this is the previously mentioned online shop of Misterspex

Within the AR mode, the customer has the opportunity to rotate the product, zoom in, examine it or deconstruct it. The contents of the product are thus presented clearly and in detail and questions or explanations are answered by additional Pop-up texts This allows a greater understanding of the product to be achieved, which increases both purchasing decisions and customer satisfaction. 

So, if you want to offer AR in your company, you absolutely need the 3D data of the products you offer. Not only is the development of this data for different devices and areas of application important. Rather, it also requires a corresponding Data infrastructure within the company to be able to operate all platforms using AR.  

Six benefits of using AR in B2B sales 

Augmented reality brings many new possibilities for salespeople and customers. Below we have summarized the six most important advantages of AR implementations in sales. 

1. Customers don’t have to rely solely on their imagination. 

Instead of looking at product images and using their imagination as usual, AR enables customers to configure the products themselves. For example, pieces of furniture can be placed in the desired location within a room for viewing and visualization. Other products can be viewed in detail and from all sides in order to get a holistic picture. 
AR offers the potential to reduce returns in the future. Customers are given more detailed information in advance about what the product looks like exactly and what they should expect. 

2. Fewer disadvantages of brick-and-mortar trading compared to online trading. 

The previously limited sales area in stationary retail also limits the presentation of the product variety. In many cases it was not possible to present the entire product range or to have it in stock in the store itself. 
With the help of AR, customers can now view the products virtually in the store (and still online), take in the effect and ask questions while interacting with the product. If the customer is interested, the product can be ordered and delivered directly.  

3. Services are simplified 

Especially in the B2B sector, products often require explanation. Instead of relying on a personal service, information about the product and how to interact with it, as well as possible assembly instructions, can be implemented in the AR representation. 
Information texts can be displayed on the virtual product itself and provided with additional information by the company. This makes it possible to clarify questions immediately and thus shorten the customer's feedback loop.  

4. Enable purchasing decisions through greater trust. 

Through the direct interaction of potential customers with the virtual product, realistic and transparent impressions can be collected. If these impressions are confirmed with the product received, this increases the customers' trust in the company and the Customer Experience
The functions and advantages of the product are presented in such a way that the background and context are easier to understand. This gives the customer a better understanding of the product and enables them to pass this on to other potential customers. 

5. Take advantage of upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

In some cases, B2B products are too large or complicated to carry the entire product line to the potential customer on site. With the help of AR, the entire product portfolio can be presented without any loss in, for example, a sales pitch. This creates opportunities for upselling and cross-selling that were previously only possible to a limited extent. 

6. Salespeople can convince customers with their products right from the first touchpoint. 

Salespeople can no longer differentiate themselves from other companies with traditional brochures. By presenting products in a spatial format, potential customers can be provided with direct added value that other competing companies have not yet been able to provide. 
AR creates an emotionalization through direct interaction with the product, which, given the current overstimulation in everyday life, is an essential factor in successful sales.  

In summary, the use of augmented reality brings with it new challenges in terms of digital infrastructure and implementation, but the advantages are not to be underestimated. Especially in the B2B sector, the Increasing brand awareness and Improving the customer experience an important factor. Customers can gain realistic impressions of the products on offer and obtain information at any time thanks to flexible use. In addition, the more intensive engagement with the respective product increases the length of time spent on the company website and the conversion rate. 

Does augmented reality also represent a new opportunity for your company?  

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