Augmented Reality: A Game Changer For Marketing

Twan van den Broek

In July 2016, the Pokémon GO app propelled augmented reality (AR) propelled into popularity. Millions of consumers hit the streets to catch a Pikachu or Rattata projected onto the sidewalks of players’ screens. It turned out to be a great game, based on a technology that is not only fun but also has the potential to disrupt industries.

Turning industries upside down

Before AR went mainstream, it was used in industries like logistics and warehousing. DHL, for example, provides order-pickers with smart glasses to improve the picking process, increasing productivity by 15 percent.

Today, AR has started to turn many industries upside down. By connecting the online and offline worlds, AR is a major game-changer that can make companies stand out. It has evolved from a fun feature into a tool that accelerates and enhances business processes and delivers a unique experience to consumers.

Swapping sample books for AR innovation

The team at TWNKLS worked its AR magic – along with Quinso and SAP – in the SAP Mobile Innovation Lab of the SAP Leonardo NOW Tour when Forbo Flooring, a global player in high-quality commercial and total flooring solutions, wanted to digitize its sample books. Architects and interior decorators can now search through an online catalog with thousands of products to make a personal selection.

While this is not a new idea, innovation comes by adding AR to the mix. The combination of marketing automation and AR helps users to find the perfect floor in no-time. Architects can either upload a picture of the interior they want to decorate or simply open the camera on their tablet and film the respective room. With the help of the AR solution, they can project different floors onto the interior on their screen to see how it will look. This not only saves precious time otherwise spent flipping through dozens of sample books, but it also gives architects and customers better insight into the final design.

A bonus is the fact that Forbo spends approximately 21 million euro on the production of sample books each year. This AR solution has enabled Forbo to cut costs in the future.

Your home as a showroom

For now, the Forbo solution targets architects or decorators working on projects in large buildings such as hospitals. But in the future, consumers will also have access to the app, making it possible to visualize a floor in your own home.

A great example of this is the award-winning IKEA Place app, also developed by TWNKLS. Launched in 2017, the app lets users position IKEA’s products in their own living room, in 3D. The furniture is presented life-sized, with textures you can almost feel—and it even reflects accurate light conditions. Your home turns into a showroom and your tablet acts as a smart catalog.

AR: a valuable addition to your marketing strategy

Does a particular floor style complement your bright red sofa? Is the texture of the flooring the right fit for your interior? Does it blend with your furniture and match your curtains?

Sample books are no match for AR, and the ability to visualize a floor before they purchase is a great way to win the attention of customers.  Forbo’s AR solution will be a powerful catalyst in persuading customers to buy its product. Consumers get a quality product and a memorable marketing experience, while Forbo is ensured of consumer engagement.

DHL, Ikea, and Forbo are just a few AR success stories. Whether it’s used to streamline and simplify business processes or to excite customers, AR delivers an unmatched visual experience.

Mark my words: AR will be a critical part of your business in the future.

For more on the power of AR, see How Can Life Sciences Leverage Augmented Reality?

Twan van den Broek

About Twan van den Broek

Twan van den Broek is Customer Innovation Architect at SAP. Twan combines a broad experience in SAP development, Integration and Process Management with agile methodologies (Scrum) and Design Thinking to deliver SAP solutions that add value to your business and make end-users happy. As a crew member of SAP’s Mobile Innovation Lab, he delivers customer innovations with Rapid Prototyping within one week.