In a world dominated by large corporations, being a small business owner is no easy task. Many small businesses are struggling just to keep their heads above the water, and they need to be quite creative to stay competitive.
One of the best ways to gain that competitive edge is through AR implementation. AR, short for Augmented Reality, is a technology that brings together physical and digital worlds. Through AR, we are able to experience digital content as if it is real.
But what does that mean for small businesses? Before we delve deeper into AR implementation for small businesses, let’s first learn a bit more about AR.
What is AR?
Augmented Reality, better known as AR, combines real and digital worlds, enables real-time interaction, and registers both virtual and physical objects. Simply put, AR uses digital technology to enhance the real world.
There are several types of AR technology: location-based, marker-based, markerless, projection-based, and superimposition-based. Location-based AR content is triggered by the user’s location, while marker-based AR content is triggered by real-world objects or images that serve as markers.
For example, if a user visits an archeological location that triggers AR content, an AR app on their phone will pop up and show them info about the location, maybe some images and 3D models, etc.
Similarly, users can use AR apps to project various 3D images into the real world. Or, an AR app can superimpose images on the real-world objects. Museums and various landmarks offer this option for objects and buildings that are missing some parts. By using AR, visitors can see the missing parts and observe the object/building in its pristine condition.
Finally, let’s not forget the role of AR in the entertainment and gaming industry. Various Snapchat and other face/body filters, games like Pokemon Go, are all based on AR:
Credit: David Grandmougin, Unsplash
What Types of Small Businesses Are Using AR
Slowly but steadily, small businesses are also adopting AR. Just like with any other innovation, some industries are more open to adapting AR because of the various benefits that come with it.
Some of the industries that benefit the most from AR tech include:
- Design and marketing
- Food industry
- Hospitality industry, including hotels, bars, restaurants, etc.
- Fashion and beauty industry
- Music and movie industry
- Manufacturing and maintenance
- Real estate
These are only the few industries that benefit the most from AR. They use AR to either improve products/services they are offering or to advertise the same products and/or services.
For example, real estate agencies might use AR when selling houses. With projection-based or superimposition-based AR, realtors can showcase how an empty home might look after the potential buyer moves in. Additionally, interior designers can also use these types of AR to discuss various design choices with their clients.
Virtual and AR try-ons are taking the fashion and beauty industry by storm. Fashion and makeup companies use AR to enable customers to try on clothes, shoes, and even makeup products without having to go to the store.
Schools and universities are using AR as a valuable learning tool, allowing students to observe virtual experiments, take a look at extinct animals/plants, and access more visual information than ever before.
Obviously, every industry uses AR in a specific way, but they all have one thing in common: they are all reaping benefits from AR implementation. As AR evolves and becomes more powerful yet also more affordable and available, more industries will be eager to adopt it.
Best Case Examples of AR Being Used
In the previous section, we mentioned several general examples of how different industries may use AR. Now, we want to talk about specific examples of AR implementation in various industries to highlight its benefits and possibilities further.
Below are examples of AR implementation in larger businesses, but they can serve as an inspiration to small businesses as well.
The Red Cross has used AR on several occasions already. One such instance was when Red Cross Youth partnered with The Spanish Foundation for Social Technologies (TECSOS) in order to help hospitalized children cope with the effects of prolonged hospitalization.
This partnership created AR-based interactive games and virtual learning opportunities for hospitalized children. AR games such as room escape and treasure hunt games allowed children to interact with their environment and actually enjoy their stay.
Another instance when the Red Cross used AR was an attempt to raise awareness about the destructive nature of war. In this example, people could download an IOS app called “Enter the room.” Then, they would observe the effects of war through the eyes of a child who witnesses their room and home slowly falling apart over the course of the war.
Credit: International Committee of the Red Cross, Google Images
City of Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most popular European tourist destinations, and it is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With millions of tourists visiting it every year, this city decided to make it even more appealing to potential visitors.
A 5G augmented reality project was tested on Barcelona’s tourist buses. In the front window of each vehicle, there is a large interactive and transparent display superimposed on the real world outside. This way, it showcases various Barcelona landmarks, along with important information about them.
Credit: Swiss IPG, Google Images
Thanks to its superb engineering, Boeing is probably the most famous airplane manufacturer in the world. As such, this company is not only following the latest trends and technological advancements; it is setting them.
Boeing has teamed up with a tech company named Upskill. Upskill created Skylight AR glasses that increase productivity in manufacturing. Boeing recognized the potential of this technology and started using Skylight AR glasses in its production processes.
According to sources, Boeing has increased its productivity by up to 30% for wiring and other processes.
Credit: VectionTechnologies, Google Images
Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai has decided to use AR to make the waiting experience more interesting and rewarding for the customers. With the use of AR, customers in this coffee shop can observe beautiful animations on the walls.
Additionally, they can see coffee beans being roasted or baristas brewing coffee in vintage devices. In other words, AR enables customers to observe the whole process of making coffee, from unroasted beans to a cup of coffee latte.
Credit: Starbucks Stories, Google Images
Everyone who had to buy new furniture knows how exhausting it can be. One needs to consider the dimensions of the new furniture vs. the place available, as well as the design and colors of the furniture and whether they will fit in with the rest of the home.
That’s why IKEA has developed its app, IKEA Place, which addresses these issues by using AR. With this app, potential buyers can superimpose 3D models of desired furniture pieces into their homes and check if those pieces will be able to fit in the allotted space physically.
By using this app, IKEA buyers can also find out whether the design of their new furniture fits the existing aesthetic.
Credit: Digiday, Google Images
For those who want to buy some new makeup but have no time or patience to try out so many different shades in the store, Sephora has found a perfect solution - an AR-based app called Sephora Virtual Artist.
In this app, users have access to countless number of eyeshadows, lipsticks, and other makeup products. They can try these products, experiment with different combinations, and even share these products with their friends.
Credit: Harvard.edu, Google Images
Everyone who had to get some blood tests done knows how annoying and painful it can be when the medical personnel struggles to find a vein. It is also frustrating, stressful, and time-consuming for the medical personnel in question.
AccuVein is a company that developed a device whose purpose is to help medical personnel find veins with ease. This device uses AR tracking features to detect veins in the patient’s body, making the whole IV insertion process much easier.
Credit: Springwise, Google Images
Impact of AR on Small Businesses
Now that we have seen some great examples of AR implementation in large companies, it is time to explore the potential impact of AR on small businesses. All these examples might look like some Sci-Fi, but these technologies will become even more affordable and available to everyone, including small businesses.
But why should small businesses even bother to implement AR? There are several benefits that they could experience by doing so. First of all, a small business using AR would certainly look better, more professional, and successful in the eyes of potential customers.
Speaking of customers, small businesses with implemented AR offer a better user experience, which is much more interactive and immersive. Such user experience is guaranteed to capture customer’s attention and make them stay.
In a world where people are bombarded with various marketing campaigns, having an AR-based marketing strategy will make the business stand out from the competition, which is especially important for small businesses.
Another challenge that most small businesses are facing is workforce shortage. AR-based software can finish various tasks instead of human employees, reducing the total workload. Additionally, AR can be used in employee training and, as such, increase the productivity of each worker.
How to Implement AR for Small Businesses
Now that we have covered interesting examples of AR implementation and its potential benefits for small businesses, the remaining question is how to implement it. Also, is AR implementation possible for small businesses, and at what scale?
First things first. Before implementing AR, every small business should assess their needs and expectations from the AR implementation. The needs and expectations will then determine which type of AR technology is the best for that specific business.
3D models, AR try-ons, 3D menus, and AR promotional codes are among the most popular choices when it comes to small businesses. They are great for showcasing and advertising various types of products and services.
So, once the business decides upon a goal it wants to achieve with AR implementation and chooses a suitable type of AR tech, it is time to develop and implement it. There are AR experts who specialize in building these solutions from scratch.
There are also platforms and service providers that offer ready-made AR solutions. This is a great alternative to the development and implementation of AR that can last for months. Not only does it save time, but it also saves money.
A fully developed and implemented AR system for a business can cost up to $250,000. This is a large amount of money, even for big companies. For small businesses, such costs are obviously too much.
Tools and Platforms like CSCONNECT
Fortunately, CSCONNECT is there to help small businesses implement AR solutions without breaking the bank. This platform offers 3D models, virtual try-ons, NFC solutions, and QR marketing.
These solutions are perfect for small businesses that want to elevate their sales, stand out among the competition, and establish their brands. CSCONNECT AR solutions require no coding or too much effort to implement.
The businesses and individuals interested in CSCONNECT services can simply choose the type of service they need. Then, they can choose from different pricing plans. More expensive plans offer more storage space, allowed members, and a number of services.
For more information about each service, potential users can also request a free demo from product specialists. This way, they can find out which service will fit their business needs the most.
Additionally, CSCONNECT offers a free trial period of 30 days. It allows potential users to decide whether a certain service is a good fit for their needs without having to spend money. There are also discounts of 15% on annual instead of monthly payments, which is another great way to save some money.
However, apart from saving money on otherwise expensive AR tech, businesses will be able to track the success behind their AR implementation. CSCONNECT offers analytics that shows stats such as conversion rate, engagement rate, number of views, clicks, etc.
When it comes to AR implementation, small businesses should definitely try CSCONNECT. With this platform, AR implementation can be an easy, affordable, and smooth process that will yield easily proven results.
Owning and leading a small business was never easy. It was always like a lottery, with so many chances to lose. That’s especially true in this modern age when large corporations own most companies in the world.
However, that doesn’t mean that succeeding as a small business is not possible. Through hard work and a little bit of luck, the chances of success are much higher. However, every small business also needs to be innovative, and the best way to do it is through AR implementation.
There are already countless great examples of successful AR implementation. Many of those examples come from great companies that can afford AR more easily. But with platforms such as CSCONNECT, AR is becoming more affordable and available for every business, no matter how big or small.
So, if you are a small business owner with a vision for bigger things, why don’t you visit CSCONNECT and let it make your vision come true?