WHY EVERY BRAND NEEDS AN AR STRATEGY – NOW!!

Not too long ago, augmented reality seemed like something from science fiction.

Of course, in the past decade, augmented reality has become, well, a reality.

Companies from a number of different industries have already discovered its benefits. More are sure to follow, which means, if you don’t already have an AR strategy in place, now is the time to start.

4 Reasons Every Brand Needs to Create an AR Strategy – Now!

With so many other priorities to chase, it may seem like an AR strategy is one that can wait. However, there are four very compelling reasons you should make it a major focus for your company.

1. Augmented Reality Makes Data More Accessible Than Ever Before

The Age of Big Data” was a term first coined back in 2012 to describe the years that were to follow, when data accumulation would explode to unprecedented levels.

While far greater amounts have certainly been accumulated since then, the vast majority of companies have been at a loss as to what to do with it. In most cases, big data hasn’t led to big insights.

One reason for this may be that a two-dimensional approach is no longer sufficient for analyzing data that can so thoroughly describe a three-dimensional world.

As Professor Michael Porter explained in the Harvard Business Review, most data is trapped on two-dimensional pages and screens while the physical world is three-dimensional. The gulf between the real world and the digital world prevents people from completely exploiting the volumes of information currently available. Fortunately, augmented reality (AR) closes this gap through a set of technologies superimposing data and images on physical objects and environments.

Professor Porter goes on to explain that augmented reality allows people to put “information directly into the context in which we’ll apply it,” improving our ability to absorb and act on it.

Many companies have been aware of AR’s potential for quite some time. They have years of experience using this technology in their product development, manufacturing, marketing, training, service, and logistics.

A number of companies have even been founded on this technology. Just one example is AcuVein, a company whose technology leverages projection-based augmented reality to map a patient’s veins on their skin, making it easier for health professionals to find them.

However, more and more customers are becoming accustomed to AR, as well. Brands  like ourselves, that can provide them a three-dimensional method for understanding product info  will find themselves with an enviable competitive edge.

2. Customers Love the Immersive Experience Offered by Augmented Reality

Of course, it’s also fair to say that a lot of the fanfare behind augmented reality is simply because customers enjoy using it. The technology is so new and unique that it benefits from a real novelty effect. In this regard, companies that create an augmented reality will enjoy greater engagement from their markets for no other reason than it’s “fun.”

This is no small advantage for the companies that wield it, though. Snapchat is the perfect example of what can happen when a company uses AR to engage its market. The company did very little to its actual offering other than add augmented-reality filters, but, even though their version is a very simplified one, the results speak for themselves.

Other companies have learned from Snapchat’s example (notably, rival, Facebook), but the social media giant isn’t resting on their laurels. In a leaked company memo, CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed that the future of Snapchat lies with augmented reality. They’re focused on three core building blocks of AR, namely: to understand the world via the Snapchat camera, to provide a platform of creators in building AR experiences, and to invest in future hardware in transcending the smartphone.

Clearly, their research shows that augmented reality is growing in popularity.

3. Augmented Reality Can Encourage Impulse Purchases

Retail companies have always implemented strategies that, among other things, focus on winning impulse buys. Everyone is familiar with the displays near points-of-sale that make it easy to quickly purchase one last item.

Ecommerce companies have done their best to adopt this approach. After all, the average U.S. consumer will spend $5,400 on impulse buys every single year.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of impulse purchases still happen in-store. One reason for this is that shopping online almost immediately puts the brakes on any impulse decision. There are always several steps that a customer must go through in order to complete their planned purchase, much less adding more items to their carts.

Augmented reality may be turning the tide, though. All the way back in 2014, Lacoste introduced an augmented reality app. Their “LCST Augmented Reality Retail Campaign” turned into a big win for the company as it allowed customers to “try on” Lacoste clothing via AR and then share the looks online.

This accomplished two things. First, more customers made purchases because of encouragement from their social media followings. Second, the “Snapchat effect” ensured increased engagement. As more people saw their friends posting images using the app, more people partook, leading to more sales.

4. Augmented Reality Will Help Retailers Embrace the Amazon Effect

Retailers may have an easier time with impulse buys, but they’ve struggled to adapt to the Amazon Effect.

This phenomenon describes how customers have come to expect an in-store experience that’s similar to what Amazon and other ecommerce stores offer. In short, they want engaging content without necessarily needing to speak with an employee.

As you can see from the video below, this is one of the many benefits that companies can enjoy in their physical locations by leveraging augmented reality.

Currently, one of the most popular ways retailers are trying to embrace the Amazon Effect is with digital signage, in-store digital displays with which customer can interact.

Augmented reality can provide many of the same – if not more – benefits without forcing companies to budget for the same kind of overhead.

Beginning Your Augmented Reality Strategy

Despite all the potential of augmented reality, creating a promising strategy doesn’t need to be some herculean task. As we covered above, even if all you do is use AR to offer a more engaging experience, your company could enjoy a banner year.

At NextTech AR Solutions Corp., we are making augmented reality a reality for companies of all sizes and across a number of different industries.

No matter what market you serve or how much of a budget you have to do it, contact us today and we’ll help you create a winning AR strategy.

CFN: HOW DUAL LISTINGS ARE HELPING CANNABIS COMPANIES ACCESS CAPITAL

The cannabis industry is projected to reach C$22.6 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co., driven by the legalization of adult-use cannabis earlier this year. While Canadian investors have been voracious buyers, many companies have expanded their efforts to reach United States and European investors through dual-listings. These dual-listings offer the ability to increase liquidity, reach more investors, and ultimately, generate more value.

In this article, CFN takes a a look at why cannabis is leading the way in dual-listings and how companies like  us,  NexTech AR Solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) (FSE: N29), are capitalizing on these dynamics to build long-term shareholder value.

CFN NEWS SUMMARY:

Where You List Matters

Most North American investors are familiar with U.S. and Canadian stock exchanges, such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, CSE and TSX, but these exchanges only reach investors in those countries. European investors don’t have an easy way to buy securities on these exchanges—just like North American investors can’t easily access European exchanges. These dynamics can limit investor access to public companies on a global level.

Dual listings, also known as interlistings or cross-listings, enable public companies to list their securities on two or more different exchanges. These listings provide access to greater liquidity, more capital, and longer trading hours. For example, many Australian and Canadian resource companies list their shares on European exchanges because there’s substantial investor interest due to the lack of local resource companies…

Cannabis Leads the Way

Many small-cap companies have leveraged dual listings to help build a more diverse shareholder base and raise more capital at less cost. In particular, small-cap companies that operate in industries that aren’t necessarily available overseas have an opportunity to attract a large number of investors and raise more capital. The most prominent industry meeting these criteria is Canada’s nascent cannabis industry…

Many Canadian companies have sought dual listings to capitalize on these dynamics. For example, NexTech AR Solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) recently announced its new listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE: N29), which is the largest European stock exchange. The company’s plans to combine augmented reality with the cannabis industry could open the door to significant long-term growth opportunities…

Continue reading the Full Article on Cannabis Financial News

For more information  contact us.

SESSIONS IS OUT AND CANNABIS STOCKS ARE RISING

The cannabis industry has faced no shortage of challenges over the years.

However, without a doubt, the biggest one has always come from the government. Until countries like the U.S. – especially the U.S. – legalize marijuana, cannabis companies will always face obstacles that businesses in other industries never have to even think about.

Recently, one of the biggest challenges to legalization actually disappeared – or, at least, resigned. On November 7th, former Senator Jeff Sessions became former Attorney General, as well.

While there are still plenty of other politicians who oppose legalization of marijuana at the federal level, this was a huge victory for the cannabis industry.

Jeff Sessions Was an Avid Critic of Marijuana Legalization

Jeff Sessions was notorious for his negative views on marijuana, which he once described as “dubious” – a bit of an understatement. For example, he once said, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Last year, he even went so far as to rescind policies set by President Obama that essentially took marijuana off the list of drugs that federal agents would target. Not surprisingly, the news immediately sent cannabis-company stock prices plummeting.

So, it was understandable that cannabis companies collectively tensed up when President Trump named Sessions his Attorney General. It seemed at least possible that Sessions’ new role could lead to some reversals to all the progress that had been made in recent years by this burgeoning industry.

That’s why, as the L.A. Times so aptly put it, with Sessions out, the marijuana movement [exhaled].

While some have made the case that Sessions’ criticism actually helped the industry – by drumming up support among otherwise neutral parties – it seems clear that his resignation is a welcomed change. After his departure, cannabis companies’ stocks surged.

The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF and ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF both hit new records increasing as much as 7.9% and 9.1%, respectively. Those massive jumps show just how much of a threat many in the industry viewed Jeff Sessions.

What Does This Mean for the Future of the Cannabis Industry?

Even though Sessions’ resignation was clearly good news for cannabis companies, what does it say about the future of the industry?

Obviously, no one knows for sure.

That said, he has voiced support for the STATES Act, a bipartisan bill that would exempt cannabis companies from the Controlled Substances Act, provided they were licensed by the state. Aside from ensuring they wouldn’t face legal consequences from federal authorities, this legislation would also free the industry from the current banking and tax issues that continue to plague it.

This support is consistent with sentiments President Trump had shared about leaving cannabis companies alone when he was on the campaign trail.

However, during that time, he also said he felt “strong” about not legalizing marijuana on a federal level, except for medicinal use.

As we near closer to the 2020 elections, will President Trump push for legalization in an effort to boost his chances of reelection?

It’s not inconceivable.

The Writing Is on the Wall for Federal Legalization

It is hard to believe it would have to come to that, though.

The problem is an especially frustrating one seeing as how the writing is on the wall. Support for national legalization of marijuana has never been so high (no pun intended). 64% of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, up more than 50% from just 10 years ago. 75% of Millennials are on board with the idea.

Even states like Oklahoma, which has a reputation for being one of the most conservative in the state, recently voted to legalize medicinal marijuana. The initiative passed with an impressive 57% of the votes.

Keep in mind that this is a state where, just 10 years ago, getting caught using cannabis in public could earn a prison sentence of up to a decade if it happened twice in 10 years.

Similarly, the people of Texas seem open to some degree of marijuana legalization, as well.

Recently, Utah and Missouri both legalized medicinal marijuana, while Michigan actually made it legal to use recreationally. That was yet another big outcome of the recent elections that the industry noticed and responded to with increased stock prices.

These included:

  • Aurora Cannabis Inc. went up 8.8%
  • Canopy Growth Corp. went up 8.2%.
  • Tilray Inc.  went up 30.6%

Of course, full legalization in Canada didn’t hurt stock prices, either.

Sessions’ Resignation Isn’t the Only Force Behind Rising Cannabis Stocks

In what may actually be one of the most interesting developments, alcohol companies have increasingly shown interest in investing in cannabis companies. Back in August, news broke that Diageo plc (DEO), the brand behind Guinness beer, was in talks with at least three cannabis companies from Canada about working together on the potential for marijuana-infused drinks.

Around the same time, Constellation Brands Inc. – a Fortune 500 Company that makes beer, wine, and spirits – made headlines by investing $4 billion in Canopy Growth, a leader of the medical marijuana industry in Canada. This wasn’t their first time doing so, either. However, this newest investment brought their stake in Canopy Growth from 9.9% to 38%.

Yet Another Good Sign for the Cannabis Industry

Finally, we’d like to think that the industry growing (again, no pun intended) around cannabis companies is another encouraging sign that full legalization is on the horizon.

Obviously, we’re a little biased, but the amount of technology, alone, that has been developed to help these businesses succeed is reason to be optimistic.

At NexTech AR Solutions, we’re doing our part by introducing augmented reality to the cannabis industry and have even been listed on the CSE and the Frankfurt stock exchange.

If you’d like to improve your cannabis company’s marketing and engagement capabilities, we’d love to show you what we can do. Contact us today and we’ll explain our suite of powerful services.

4 REASONS AUGMENTED REALITY IS PERFECT FOR THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY

What Makes Cannabis the Perfect Segment for Augmented Reality?

As 2018 comes to a close, it seems clear that the coming year is going to be another big one for augmented reality (AR). While AR has opened up brand new opportunities for many companies, it has also proven to be a perfect complement for many strategies that businesses were already executing.

This is perhaps exemplified best by the cannabis industry. A burgeoning market in its own right, cannabis companies and augmented reality have proven to be an ideal match.

4 Reasons Augmented Reality Is Perfect for the Cannabis Industry

Augmented reality is expected to be a $133.7 billion industry by 2021, a statistic that reflects just how much experts believe it will grow in the coming years.

Much of this growth will come from new adopters. Some of it will come from companies that already use AR but decide to increase their investments in the technology.

While almost every industry will adopt AR to some degree or another, expect cannabis companies to continue being extremely receptive for the following 4 reasons.

1. The Market for Cannabis Is Tech-Savvy

According to the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, 40.79% of cannabis users are between the ages of 21 and 35. In other words, the largest consumer segment of cannabis users is Millennials.

This is important to understand as 68% of Millennials want an integrated seamless experience across channels from businesses. This means that they expect to experience a seamless transition between their mobile devices, phones, and in-store experiences when interacting with a company.

That’s great news for dispensaries, as it dispels the myth that Millennials only want to make purchases online. They’re actually more than happy to visit a physical store to get what they want (their only choice for cannabis), provided that company invests in omnichannel engagement.

Dr. Tim Hilken is a professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics. In his paper, “Making omnichannel an augmented reality: the current and future state of the art”, he found that augmented reality offers several opportunities that provide a seamless omnichannel journey to customers. As well, it smoothens current obstacles through combined customer experiences that have been embedded, extended, and embodied.

All three of those opportunities are being leveraged by companies with large Millennial markets. Many of them are part of the cannabis industry.

2. Augmented Reality Is Making It Easier to Market Cannabis

Education has been central to the cannabis industry. Educating the public about the realities of cannabis use has been central to its legalization. Education has remained a central strategy for cannabis companies looking to win new customers, too.

Augmented reality perfectly lends itself to this unique requirement. Companies have been using “virtual budtenders” to help spread the word about the different strains they have to offer. These AR aficionados offer a similar experience to the one a customer could expect in an actual dispensary. The professional walks them through various options, explaining their effects. All the while, a sample of the product turns in a 360-degree effect.

In Canada, marketing laws for cannabis companies are extremely limiting, despite legalization. One example of Canada’s cannabis laws is that cannabis is required to be packaged in a single, uniform color, without any other images/graphics except for the logo and health warning. This is based on Health Canada’s guidelines for cannabis packaging.

That doesn’t give companies a lot of options for differentiation. That’s an especially big blow to smaller businesses that don’t have the same budgets as their larger counterparts, many of which have even attracted big-name celebrity investors.

Fortunately, augmented reality may represent a promising workaround to Canada’s stifling laws. Cannabis companies could outfit their products with “augmented reality-enhanced packaging” that could go into much greater detail for customers who are interested in learning more.

3. AR Brings the Amazon Effect to Dispensaries

Every company with a physical storefront needs to content with the Amazon Effect, a phenomenon that describes how customers expect retailers to provide an ecommerce-like experience in-person.

They want all the information they need to make an informed decision.

They want it right at their fingertips.

And they want it without having to actually engage an employee.

So, even after you attract customers into your dispensary, they may want to be in charge of their own shopping experience.

A number of retailers have already embraced AR to sell everything from clothes to furniture to paint and more.

As cannabis remains a product that has to be sold in-person, it only makes sense that dispensaries will invest in augmented reality to not just attract their largely Millennial clientele but also keep them engaged during their visits.

4. The Cannabis Industry Still Faces Unique Challenges

Above, we touched on the major challenges facing cannabis companies in Canada, but there are obviously a number of obstacles south of their border, as well. In the United States, where cannabis use hasn’t been legalized on a federal level, there’s still some taboo surrounding the topic, even in states where using recreational marijuana is no longer a crime.

While more than 55 million Americans use cannabis, just over 40% say doing so is not socially acceptable.

That is to say, one of the driving forces behind AR-adoption in the cannabis industry is easing the anxiety that some customers may feel about visiting a dispensary and going through the formal purchasing process for the first time.

Once again, virtual budtenders to the rescue.

Furthermore, as the industry faces a number of unique challenges – challenges companies in other fields don’t have to worry about – every marketing opportunity should be taken.

Is Your Cannabis Company Ready for Augmented Reality?

As you can see, augmented reality represents a number of powerful benefits for cannabis companies. Whether it’s improving the overall experience you provide customers or simply marketing to them in the first place, AR is a force-multiplier that should not be ignored.

Of course, you may think that it’s also an advantage your company can’t afford or doesn’t currently have enough time to fully invest in and leverage.

At Next Tech AR, we’re bringing augmented reality to the cannabis industry and have already experienced success with a number of other companies.

If you’d like to learn how we can help your business grow with augmented reality,contact us today.

CFN MEDIA INTERVIEWS NEXTECH AR SOLUTIONS INC.

CFN Media interviews NexTech AR solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) COO Reuben Tozman at the New West Summit 2018.

INVESTMENTPITCH MEDIA VIDEO NEXTECH AR SOLUTIONS (CSE:NTAR) NEW LISTING



NexTech is currently developing a proprietary and disruptive Augmented Reality advertising and education platform that uniquely engages by connecting brands and retailers through a fully immersive 3D Augmented Reality experience called Native AR.

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