Augmented reality (AR) is on the rise, with spending projected to hit an estimated $60B by 2020. And while consumer applications have gotten the majority share of the buzz, many of the most promising applications of the new tech lie in the opportunities it creates for B2B sales.
As much of the sales enablement conversation focuses on developing data-driven content, implementing easy-to-use augmented reality is another way to help sellers close more deals. AR can be used to educate, engage, and show products in action which can help salespeople guide buyers toward more informed purchasing decisions.
Here, we’ll look at why augmented reality is a game-changer for sales teams across verticals.
Why augmented reality in sales?
Augmented reality goes beyond Snapchat filters and PokemonGo, blending virtual content like images, animations, 360 photography and video with real-life objects and places.
AR differs from virtual reality (VR) in that VR doesn’t include real-life components. Instead, VR requires users to wear a headset that immerses them in a new environment, which can impede the flow of conversations.
For that reason, augmented reality offers a unique utility to salespeople and their prospects: The ability to interact with lifelike 3D objects they can rotate and resize. They can also bring in infographics, diagrams, flashcards, and other elements that reinforce key concepts.
AR relies on a combination of hardware and software and typically runs on mobile devices, as the experience requires cameras and screens. Cameras detect the real-world triggers that launch AR experiences, while screens present content over the top of what’s visible through a camera or lens.
Bigtincan‘s AR viewer works on mobile devices and is activated through a dropdown menu on the user’s home screen. Triggers can be image-based, object-based, or location-based. When the software detects a match between what it sees and what it has been programmed to recognize, it launches the experience.
For field reps, AR allows them to access tutorials, catalogs, and presentations from a phone or tablet, making this a convenient way to add further value to the sales process.
Benefits of using augmented reality in sales
Selling is hard enough as it is. But for reps selling complex products, heavy equipment, or thousands of SKUs at a time, additional challenges emerge. When AR joins forces with your sales enablement software, it unlocks a host of benefits for sellers, including the ability to:
- Facilitate meaningful conversations: AR supports meaningful face-to-face conversations that can lead to sales. Devices can be lifted to make a point, then lowered to continue the conversation.
- Prep sellers with a full catalog: There’s often a disconnect between what a buyer expects and what they receive. AR gives sellers the ability to show multiple solutions, educate buyers, and help them make the right purchase decision.
- Run interactive demos from anywhere: No matter what devices your team is working with on the ground, AR can run effective interactive demos at critical moments. We’ve found that smartphones work well for training, making content accessible by an individual where and when relevant. Tablets are better for sales presentations, providing a larger screen and a better environment for group conversations.
- Giving sellers a clearer understanding of how products work: Salespeople can familiarize themselves with the device before they even walk into the office. When coupled with the right sales strategies, the rep is better equipped to close the deal.
- Annotate reality: Add virtual labels to real-world objects that can be linked to other interactive content that provides context, instructions, product features, entry fields for forms, real-time data, or even a human being who can answer questions. This makes sense for training employees, enlightening customers, and helping anyone understand what’s immediately in front of them.
How can sellers use AR?
One of the best-known examples of augmented reality in sales comes from IKEA. They released an augmented reality (AR) application that allows buyers to see how furniture will look in their home before visiting a store.
This type of buyer-enablement allows potential customers to educate themselves before walking into a store or placing an order. While the use cases for AR are virtually endless, here are a few examples of how this tech can be used in a diverse range of verticals.
- Retail: Retailers specializing in home decor or furniture are an obvious use case, here, though AR applications stand to benefit just about any vertical you could think of. For example, there’s Sephora’s Virtual Artist, an AR app that allows consumers to try on makeup from their phone. Walmart tried a different approach, sponsoring a Jurassic World AR game. The game centered Walmart locations as the place to load up on supplies, allowing anyone who opened the game on their device inside a physical store to refuel.
- Healthcare/Lifesciences: A medical device salesperson can walk into a doctor’s office and use AR give demonstrations on different products from their tablet. This capability means the rep saves time and energy, eliminating the need to transport devices and set them up. The doctor, of course, benefits from better information. They’ll get to see how the device works, which brings more context to the table than the average sales sheet.
- Manufacturing: For manufacturing companies, AR allows step-by-step guidance through complex tasks. This gives salespeople an alternative to spec sheets and manuals when showing prospects how a piece of machinery works or how it might look in its intended environment. Or, sellers might use VR to give buyers a look inside the equipment without actually dismantling it.
- Enterprise: AR also has the potential to enhance enterprise experiences. AR projections provide a projected image of participants and their visual materials in sales calls, creating a futuristic and much more interactive version of a screen share.
There’s no limit to how augmented reality in sales can reshape business
Pokémon Go showed the world how augmented reality could mesmerize audiences. Now that same magic is transforming business.
We now have the potential to embed interactive experiences into everyday places, and as a result, we’re transforming the way we train, sell, and present. Customers and employees alike now have the chance to see behind walls, inside containers, and under the hood, providing more context for how things work, what makes them unique, and what to do if they need help.
AR captivates our audiences, personalizing experiences so that a 5-year-old and a 50-year-old can see the same object or place differently, in a way that connects with their particular interests. We can deliver stories like never before, combining the things you see with the ideas and information you can’t, to help people understand.
We can do all of this anywhere — in stores, in homes, at conferences, or wherever else an opportunity presents itself. And, it’s only a matter of time before AR becomes mainstream.
At Bigtincan, we look forward to helping more customers unlock the potential benefits of augmented reality. Get a demo of Bigtincan 3D to see those benefits yourself.