Augmented Reality (AR) is an immersive technology that overlays digital world onto the physical world. Using either mobile devices or head mounted display devices, information and data are superimposed in user’s field of view of the physical world. Leveraging the visualization advantage and close connection to real world environment, AR technology has great utility and potential in improving operational efficiency, including shortening sales cycles, engaging audience, and reducing operating cost.
For selling of physical systems such as equipment, instrumentation and devices, traditional sales and marketing operations involves demonstration of the actual physical system to show and tell features, functionalities and appearance to potential clients. For decades, traditional sales and marketing operation and process involves personal traveling, demonstration units’ transportation and wear-and-tear cost on demonstration units. It has been accepted as normal ‘cost of doing businesses’ in these industries.
Nowadays, part of the process can be substituted or complimented and part of the cost can be reduced by using the emerging AR technology. Below we summarized three ways that AR can help and assist with sales and marketing process in the world of selling physical systems.
1. Demonstrating Product Appearance, Features and Functionalities
One of the most prominent applications of AR is placing a virtual 3D model of an object in the actual physical environment and interacting with that virtual object on mobile devices or head-mounted display. Taking advantage of this application of AR technology, we now can demonstrate how a product looks like, how it sizes up, how it works and functions, without actually seeing or touching the real product. The quality of 3D model resolution makes the virtual product both photo realistic and highly appealing. The level of interaction through augmented animation in 3D makes feature and functionality demonstration not only realistic but also easy and intuitive. Especially at the earlier stage of sales cycles (such as meeting customers at a trade show or for the first time), demonstrating product in such easy and engaging way can greatly speed up and improve the lead qualifying process. Eventually, the hands-on experience with an actual product might still be necessary to close the sale. However, using a new AR tool can assist with part of the sales and marketing process and make the early customer experience much more powerful, which differentiates your sales/marketing team from your competitors.
2. Reducing or Eliminating Wear-and-tear on Demo Units
By reducing the need to use an actual product in every sell, the cost of wear-and-tear on many demo units will be reduced greatly. Companies that maintain a big fleet of demo units now have the option to reduce the types and numbers of demo units needed or the frequencies of using these demo units. Companies that don’t have various demo units now have the options of demonstrating all the products models and variations without the cost of maintaining demo unit fleet.
3. Saving Logistical and Travel Cost
Shipping demo equipment around the country (or even around the world) is a costly expense. But companies often do not have any other better choices. By leveraging the AR tool, some part of that cost can be saved by just doing the virtual product demo. In a lot of cases, either the sales team needs to travel to the customer’s site to do the demonstration, or customers need to travel to the companies designated site where the physical product are located (product size too big to ship around) to see how things work. The cost of traveling can also be greatly reduced by substituting part of or replacing the demonstration process with AR virtual model demo. Companies can do this remotely with their clients first to assess serious buying interest before moving to the next step in the sales cycle.
To discuss how AR can help your organization’s sales and marketing applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.