The Surging AR Company Leading the Industry

3D AR ads are coming to the market faster than you might think.

Omri Wallach of Stockhouse Media was recently joined live on the line by Evan Gappelberg, CEO of NexTech AR Solutions (CSE:NTAR, OTC:NEXCF, Forum), fresh off the Company’s recent record revenues and profits.

NexTech AR is a leader in the rapidly growing AR industry, and the first publicly traded “pure-play” AR company trading on the CSE. Through a combination of an eCommerce business alongside the omni-channel AR SaaS platform ARitize, the technology leader is working with some of the biggest brands and companies on the market.

Mr. Gappelberg has expertise in creating, funding, and running hypergrowth start-ups, and his experience in creating value in both public and private markets led to his founding of NexTech AR.

In this podcast, he discusses NexTech AR’s impressive moves over the last few weeks, future plans for this year and beyond, and where the multibillion dollar AR market is heading next.

Read more at https://stockhouse.com/opinion/interviews/2019/11/04/the-surging-ar-company-leading-industry#6Dl8pwZdqPeTxeM0.99

 

You Can’t Spell Marketing Without AR

 

Q&A with Facebook’s Chris Barbour, Head of AR Camera Partnerships

Whether it’s trying on pair glasses or a pair of sneakers by just using your phone’s camera or viewing through your iPad how a piece of furniture would look like in your living room before buying it, augmented reality is becoming an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy. As we begin to close out a decade and look toward the 2020s and beyond, it’s no surprise that AR is an important part of most tech and mobile companies’ future roadmaps.

I recently got a chance to chat with Chris Barbour, Head of Augmented Reality (AR) Camera Partnerships at Facebook about how augmented reality is impacting marketing, how our phone’s cameras are giving brands a new way to reach audiences, and how Facebook’s Spark AR tool can help brands and creators incorporate AR into their marketing mix.

 

1) What advice do you give to brands who haven’t started incorporating AR into their marketing strategy? Why?

Chris Barbour: We believe AR is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix, and that every brand can benefit from crafting and shaping a point of view for where AR fits in its marketing strategy.

Today, AR projects are already helping a variety of brands communicate and connect more effectively with their audiences, and in this process, influencing attitudes and behaviors throughout the marketing funnel. Whether brands are looking to drive more awareness with an entertaining effect or a sale with a virtual trial experience, AR activations can align well to multiple marketing objectives.

Like any emerging medium, it’s easy to dive in and use AR for novelty, but our advice is to avoid this temptation. Allowing for test and learn projects is fine, but we think brands starting out with AR should apply the same rigor and logic to AR as to any other marketing medium.

First, a brand should clearly define its marketing objectives and the value AR experiences can create for its audiences. Second, focus on storytelling and how AR can elevate or otherwise bring new dimension, perspective or nuance to any story. And finally, focus on the AR creative and how it helps convey emotion and immersion with each AR experience.

2) What are some examples of how Facebook has successfully leveraged AR with partners to help them amplify their marketing?

CB: Facebook is working with multiple partners to help them leverage AR effectively across both paid and organic marketing campaigns.

For example, Nike participated in the Messenger AR beta and sold out of its exclusive “Kyrie 4” shoes in less than an hour. To see the special offer, users had to enter a series of emojis into a Facebook Messenger-chat message, obtained from Nike’s social influencers. Thereafter, they could unlock a Kyrie 4 “red carpet” AR experience with the special offer.

Just Eats launched a marketing campaign during the World Cup that awarded users who downloaded the app with collectible plates featuring illustrations of food. The effect garnered 102K unique impressions — 10% of which went on to place an order on the app within seven days of using the effect. Nearly 75% of the effect’s reach was organic, some of which came from influencers using and sharing the effect, like celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott.

In short, we have seen success with brands across the gamut, ranging from entertainment (Justice League, Jurassic World) to product try-on (Sephora, Marc Jacobs). These examples were effective because they were focused on awareness and brand building or easing the path to purchase, two marketing objectives that AR has proven impactful.

 

3) What do you foresee being the future of Social AR and AR Commerce?

CB: As technology continues to evolve, access to AR experiences will no longer be dependent on smartphones. With the evolution of wearable products, we see a future where personal and contextual information can be directly offered to people as they move through their day.

This provides the opportunity for more meaningful integrations of a person’s social graph offline. Promoting in-person interaction and engagement with friends, family, and those that share similar interests. For example, you’re walking home and get a notification on your eyeglasses that a foodie group you’re interested in is having a meetup just a few blocks away, along with step-by-step walking directions for how to get there.

Additionally, we anticipate commerce becoming more convenient as more context from your day to day life is pulled into ease the purchase journey. For instance, you see someone walking by with shoes you like. In that moment, you receive a prompt that there is a sale on that same shoe at a store a block away. And then you’re given the option to purchase your size now with the option to pick up later or have them shipped to your home.

While we are excited to see AR continue to evolve into a more powerful tool in the toolbox, it’s important to note that we do not anticipate it will eclipse other channels for marketing anytime soon.

4) What are some of the key principles and techniques to maximize a brands impact on the Spark AR platform?

CB: While there are a multitude of ways for a brand to optimize its AR activations, here’s some initial guidance we can share, based on the success we’ve seen with the Spark AR platform:

1. AR ideas should be single-minded and focused on accomplishing one objective. Brands should focus on the use cases that drive the most value in AR. Identify what AR can offer that’s not possible with other channels, and then build the AR effects or experiences that accomplish that singular purpose.

2. Give agency. Make people the focus and give them control. Brands should be creating an opportunity for people to tell their own unique stories using the AR effects they’ve created. Keep in mind the person is the main character not the brand.

3. Make it social. Give people a reason to share or use it to connect with each other. If done correctly, people using AR will feel compelled to share their experience with the effect and encourage others to tell their own stories and do the same.

4. Use natural gesture. Keep it simple and keep the effort to a minimum. The more familiar people are with how to engage with a brand effect the more likely they will be to use it. Natural gestures are inherently intuitive and reduce the need to educate people prior to use.

5. Design for immersion. Use light, shadow and shading to make effects feel real. The more realistic the effect looks and feels, the less gimmicky it’s perceived. This is especially true with virtual trials. The more realistic the product, the more meaningful the experience.

6. Keep UI in mind. Design around the in-camera UI and the ‘Stories’ UI for when people share. Keep in mind that the Spark AR platform distributes AR effects and experience via Facebook and Instagram. By leveraging UI that is complementary to the discovery points in the app (i.e., Camera, Stories, Posts, etc.) brands can capitalize on existing consumer behavior. Thereby making it easier for people to use and share their experiences.

Chris’ answers should help marketers better understand why AR and camera marketing will not only revolutionize content and commerce but will be one of the technologies that will thrive in a new decade.

At the end of the day, you can’t spell marketing without AR.

 

Link to Original Story

 

 

Top 5 2019 eCommerce Trends

eCommerce has always been a dynamic industry where change occurs often and happens quickly.

2019 promises to be no different.

If your company wants to defend its online positioning, or
better yet – improve it, you’ll need to know what trends to expect in the
coming months.

 

The 5 Most Important Trends Coming to eCommerce in 2019

While there are a number of trends that could come about in 2019, we’ve focused on those that are most likely and, if they do surface, would represent the biggest impact to most eCommerce companies.

In total, we found 5 that are worth preparing for in 2019:

 

1. The End of Free Returns

If you’ve been paying attention to the eCommerce industry over the past few years, you’ve probably heard the phrase “The End of Free Returns.” That’s because the amount of returns eCommerce companies have been processing shot up to 53% in just 3 years.

These returns account for some $400 billion, so it’s understandable that many companies are considering whether or not it’s worth it to simply no longer offer this kind of perk to their customers.

Others have already taken steps toward curbing returns like this. L.L. Bean began their 2018 by rescinding the company’s famous “lifetime return policy” on all items. While the promise had long helped them generate impressive revenues, it has also cost the company $250 million over the past 5 years.

There are rumblings that other retailers – especially eCommerce
brands – will follow suit in 2019. After all, restricting their return policy didn’t
seem to hurt
L.L Bean much
.

 

2. Influencer Marketing Will Round an Important Corner

Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere in 2019. In fact,
it will probably grow considerably, providing big ROIs for eCommerce companies
that successfully make the most of it.

However, it’s not all good news – at least not for
influencers. If 2018 was the year that most eCommerce brands realized they
could simply leverage the audiences that social media personalities had built, it
was also the year that many realized not all influencers are created
the same
.

This was a necessary development, though, and one that will
actually go a long way toward improving what influencer marketing can do.

One major shift we expect to see is from transactional
arrangements to influencers
being treated as brand partners
. This will keep eCommerce companies from
simply “handing off” their brand to an influencer and keep influencers focused on long-term results, instead of quick
wins.

 

3. Big Names Will Set the Trend for Voice Shopping

Whenever Google and Amazon are fighting for market share,
you can probably rest assured that market is on the rise.

Such seems to be the case for the “virtual
AI assistant
” space. Amazon’s Echo has already reached 10% of the US market
with Google Home trailing at 4%. Apple’s Siri can’t support AI, but their
HomePod may soon catch up.

So, it’s no wonder that this market is expected to skyrocket
from $2 billion in 2018 to $40 billion
by 2022.

That doesn’t mean most eCommerce companies will jump on
board in 2019, but expect a good number to follow the lead of much bigger brands
that begin making this kind of technology a major priority.

After all, this year, 67
million voice-assisted devices
will be active in the U.S. Companies that
want a shot at that audience will need to adapt
to voice search
by:

  • Focusing on longtail, contextual keywords
  • Expanding their FAQs (most people search with
    questions)
  • Making content machine readable

Many SMBs could realize a major opportunity this year if
they jump on this trend before their larger competitors.

 

4. “Purchase Now, Pay Later” Will Continue to Grow in Popularity

While some have called the concept “Layaway
for Millennials
”, there’s no denying that companies like Afterpay are skyrocketing in popularity.
The Australian business launched just 4 years ago but has already hit a
$1.5-billion market value, all because it promises customers that you can, “Buy
what you want today, pay for it in four equal installments, interest-free.”

Who wouldn’t love that?

Apparently, many, many people do. In Australia, it’s estimated that more
than 10% of shoppers
have used the service. Over the last financial year,
it processed more than $2.18 billion in sales thanks to 2.2 million customers
using the service at 16,500 retailers.

Plenty more companies
like Afterpay
have launched, too. So, if your eCommerce website doesn’t
already support their services, now would be the time to change that.

 

5. Augmented Reality Is Changing the eCommerce Landscape

Finally, before January 1st, 2020, expect
augmented reality to permanently change the eCommerce landscape.

Many big names have already fallen in love with the
technology. These include Lowe’s,
Houzz,
Adidas,
L’Oreal,
and countless others.

There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that augmented reality is simply a lot of fun to use. It’s a novel, unique approach that offers something different than what customers have come to expect online.

That’s far from all, though.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a noticeable rise in the use of personalization by eCommerce companies. By personalizing their customers’ experiences, they enjoy greater engagement and conversions.

Augmented reality takes personalization to another level.
Customers can interact with products, “bring” them into their own homes, or
even modify them as they see fit.

Now that AR is a reality for all eCommerce companies,
it follows that most will begin using the technology in 2019.

 

Start Taking Advantage of One of the Biggest eCommerce Trends Right Now

Speaking of which, would you like to start offering an AR
experience to your eCommerce customers? As we said, it’s never been easier.

At NexTech AR Solutions, we’re pioneering innovating approaches for
creating custom augmented-reality experiences for companies of all sizes and
across every industry.
Contact
us today
to learn how AR can help your eCommerce company succeed in 2019.

Top 5 Reason Your Website Needs Augmented Reality

As competition continues to grow, it’s become more important
than ever for companies to make the most of their websites.

Often times, it’s the first – maybe the only
impression they’ll make on a prospect.

While there are countless features a website can include, augmented reality (AR) has
quickly emerged as one of the most important.

5 Reasons to Add Augmented Reality to Your Website Right Away

Not too long ago, most people had never experienced AR, or maybe
even heard of it.

Now, it’s become the difference between an outdated website
and the kind that attracts, keeps, and converts traffic.

Here are the five reasons AR has become such a powerful
feature.

1. Innovation Drives Interest

Even with all of the amazing things augmented reality can do
for your company, it’s still true that one of its most attractive features is
simply novelty.

In the future – the very
near future – it will most likely become as common as videos and animation
on the Internet. For now, though, AR remains new, fun, and exciting.

For example, Warner Brothers recently
invested in augmented reality
to supercharge the traditional movie poster
with something that was a lot more
fun. All theatergoers had to do was run their phones over specifically-designed
posters for Ready Player One and they
were treated to an AR experience right in the palm of their hands. This was the
first
example of Facebook AR targeting
, but it most likely won’t be the last.

By themselves, movie posters are static and, most would
probably agree, pretty boring. AR made them exciting and something worth
stopping to interact with – that’s a powerful improvement.

2. Anyone Can Experience
Augmented Reality (No App Required)

Since its inception, much of augmented reality’s potential
has been hindered by the need for an accompanying app. Worse, each unique augmented reality
experienced needed its own app in order to function. That’s like needing a
different app for every person you want to call.

Despite that, many companies – including big names like Patrón Tequila and McDonald’s
– have experienced a lot of success by creating their own apps.

Nonetheless, most businesses would probably prefer to forego
the budgetary requirements of creating and
marketing their own app, especially as their
popularity continues to die
.

Fortunately, it’s no longer necessary. AR without the use of an app may be the future for eCommerce.

Google recently introduced “the immersive web”, which promises to make AR available simply through browsers. Along with Chrome, Safari is promising to make this experience available to anyone using their AR Quick Look.

So, while some companies may still continue to develop their own unique apps, it’s far from necessary anymore. Every organization with a website can now offer their visitors the value of an AR experience.

3. AR Has Become Extremely Affordable 

Similarly, utilizing augmented reality used to mean that a
company first had to clear a lot of
room in their budgets. There’s a reason why it was the kind of experience that
only household names were deploying.

Now, it’s more affordable than ever. Many companies saw the
writing on the wall when Apple
introduced their ARKit
. Obviously, Apple has a reputation as a trailblazer.
Their many, many accomplishments
include not just the popularization of smartphones and tablets but also
production practices and interface-development that made this technology
approachable and user-friendly.

Apple isn’t the only company betting on the increasing
demand for augmented reality, either. Their familiar rival, Google, also
understands this growing expectation. Aside from immersive web, Google introduced their own development tool, ARCore, to ensure that every
company can add an AR component to their websites.

4. Search Results Will Be Influenced by AR

Every company wants a website that can passively attract
traffic, an SEO powerhouse that ensures they won’t have to spend so much on
generating leads.

While there are many ways to gain this kind of attention, expect augmented reality to affect SEO in the very near future.

For one thing, if Google is invested in it, it’s probably
going to matter. You only need to look at Google’s acquisition of YouTube and
how vital videos have become for climbing the ranks ever since. Now that Google
believes AR is the future of customer experiences, you can bet it’s going to
favor companies that feel the same way.

Secondly, as AR continues to grow in popularity, more people
will turn to search engines to find these kinds of experiences. Again, this is
similar to what we’ve seen with videos. As online videos found more and more
viewers, search engines began recognizing that, often, that media deserved to
be at the top of their results.

Third, augmented reality is going to transform local SEO
like nothing before it. As one article put it, “Augmented
Reality Will Put Local SEO on Steroids
.” The technology that many were
introduced to by Fortune 500 companies is going to be just as common among
mom-and-pop shops and other small businesses.

As just one example of things to come, Yelp
has already experimented with how AR can turn local landscapes into interactive
experiences.

5. AR Can Drive Conversions

Finally – but perhaps most importantly – AR can drive
conversions.

That’s why Shopify
recently invested in AR
. It’s also yet another sign of how affordable this
technology has become, given that the vast majority of Shopify’s customers are
small businesses. They can now join the much larger companies that have been using
AR to improve conversions
for years now.

Even massive businesses like Nike have realized how much they have to gain by leveraging augmented reality. Nike’s SNKRS has given them a brand-new opportunity to engage with their most discerning customers, “sneakerheads” who may otherwise take their business elsewhere.  

Small business like VacuumCleanerMarket.com have also gotten involved in leveraging AR to increase conversion.

The company is seeing very positive early results from integration of its web enabled AR with just one product. These results include:

  • The first ARitized product on site generated 1 months worth of sales  ($5,000) in just 1 week.
  • Overall dwell time on page for the ARitized product increased 30% over a 4 week span.
  • Before AR the average visitor to that product page was worth around $20. After the integration of the NexTech AR eCommerce solution the value per visitor jumped all the way to $43.06.

Over the next few weeks NexTech AR will be launching 10 more AR products onto the site.

Empower Your Company’s Website with Augmented Reality

The last reason that now is the best time to add an AR
component to your website is that our
company is here to help.

At NexTech AR, we’ve brought together a team with decades of
combined experience in this unique field and have already had success helping
companies of all sizes across several different markets.

If you’d like to discuss how augmented reality could become
your business’ secret weapon, please contact us today.

Stockhouse: Augmented Reality (AR) Leader Makes Game-Changing eCommerce Acquisition

Article Originally posted on Stockhouse January 8, 2018

According to Statista, global ecommerce sales in 2018 will hit over $2.8 trillion dollars, with 60% occurring on a desktop computer and 40% happening on a mobile device.
Online shopping isn’t just the way of the future, but it is also the present. Yet the in-store experience still reigns supreme, with 90% of consumer purchases happening in store. What if there was a way for technology to disrupt and to bring the reason for going to a store (like trying something on) into the home?

Augmented reality (AR) is a fast-growing trend that blurs the line between the virtual and real worlds. Toronto-based NexTech AR Solutions Corp. (C.NTARForumis building the foundation for an enterprise to both incorporate and redefine how people shop. Stockhouse recently covered NexTech’s operations with a full-length feature article that discussed how AR dramatically enhances eCommerce businesses, by virtue of lowering returns, increasing conversions, and creating an exciting, immersive shop-at-home experience.

In late 2018, the Company made news when it launched its eCommerce AR platform which it integrated with Shopify, Magento and WordPress, beginning its transition from the beta to commercial stage. It followed that up and announced that its development team has begun integrating IBM Watson’s Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into its patent pending web enabled AR platform.

With this integration NexTech is quickly building out a next generation, industry first, artificial intelligence (AI) based AR eCommerce solution. With AI, the platform will be able to offer scanning of the body, hands, and feet as well as facial features, to understand an individual shopper’s style, sizes and preferences, as well as creating AR holograms acting as personal shopping assistants.

Then in the first week of January Nextech announcement that it integrated Experience API analytics into its patent pending web enabled AR eCommerce platform. These technologies, when combined, create a truly disruptive shop at home solution which could accelerate the value proposition of the entire ecommerce industry turning Nextech into a major player.

NexTech announced today (January 8th, 2019) that it has taken a giant step forward, with its acquisition of a revenue-generating ecommerce business of its own, where it can integrate its AR and artificial intelligence (AI). This all-stock deal changes the whole complexion of the company and turns it into a revenue generating, vertically integrated, fast-growing technology company.

Stockhouse Editorial recently asked the Company’s CEO, Evan Gappelberg, to delve deeper into this new acquisition and find out more about what it means for the future of the Company’s and the AR shopping experience.

NexTech’s business offers AR and AI for ecommerce sites, so that anyone can integrate your platform into their online shopping experience. For newer investors, can you give a quick rundown of how this works?

Sure. First, we turn a site’s 2D objects into 3D objects. Then, with just a few lines of embed code added to their site, like magic, they have AR shopping experiences on site. NexTech’s patent pending web-enabled AR eCommerce solution works on every ecommerce website. It’s a universal solution which works on every browser including but not limited to Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and on every device including desktops, laptops, ipads, and all mobile phones. So it works everywhere and at $79/month its affordable for everyone. With a web-enabled AR solution NexTech has eliminated the need to download an app which has been the biggest friction point of AR adoption.

Owning your own ecommerce business adds a lot to your operation. Can you detail for investors the value-added benefits?

Sure. A big benefit is we get our own sandbox to “play” in allowing us  test our existing AR technology and optimize it for maximum ROI. We also get to try out new features of our AR/AI and see what works before going to market which his very powerful. Our ecommerce site gets about 100 orders per day. With our xAPI analytics already installed, we’re getting thousands of daily real-time data bits showing positive interaction with our AR.  We are currently seeing our technology being used in real time which is hugely important when bringing to market a new technology. 

So, we get immediate cashflow and immediate revenue and the ability to analyze real-time buying interaction with our AR. The top line revenue in the past 12 months was US$2,650,000 roughly which brings in, roughly, $275,000 in cashflow. This business brings instant accretive value to Nextech.

The story here is that NexTech now owns a revenue-generating business to perfect the Company’s technology. How will the two be combined?

As we have been working on this site in Beta, we have already integrated AR into the site as well as the xAPI analytics. And the early results have been extremely positive. We are currently working on converting the entire site into and AR showcase and expect to bring more products onto the site for sale as well as make additional bolt on acquisitions.

AR is a relatively new addition to the world of ecommerce, which means the benefit of early adoption could be huge. Those that do use it report conversion rates of three times, even up to 11-times, what do you see for NexTech in this regard? 

AR has been rapidly scaling into the ecommerce landscape through early adopters like IKEA whose app lets you see the furniture in your house by overlaying a digital twin of the object in your living room. Alibaba, Starbucks, IKEA, Houzz, and others have been driving AR ecommerce because the results are increased interaction and sales. Houzz reported that it gets 11X its sales conversion rates using mobile AR versus their standard app, meaning a consumer is 11X more likely to buy a couch if they use AR to see what the couch looks like in their house. These kinds of statistically material results will continue to drive the rapid adoption of AR into e-commerce especially if no app download is needed.

We are seeing similar results but expect things to get really interesting next month when we have AI integrated into the site.  AI opens up a world of possibilities and will give us a whole new tool box to create value for our ecommerce business, platform and shareholders.

How crucial is robust data?

Data is what drives adoption so it’s extremely critical that we get real-time data on as granular a level as possible, which is exactly why this ecommerce site makes such a difference for us. As business owners we will use our data to get other people that own ecommerce sites to sign up for our service. We become their test case, in a short amount of time we’re going to have a tremendous amount of data to mine and use for our AR roadmap.

This established, 7-year-old fully-integrated business that NexTech is acquiring offers a lot of upside. It includes three warehouses and a brick-and-mortar store. How will this help scale your operations?

Well as mentioned previously, we do expect to make additional strategic acquisitions so the existing infrastructure which includes 15,000 square feet of warehouses, inventory control software, experienced employees — as well as being integrated with Amazon, eBay and PayPal — allows us reach economies of scale in our ecommerce business very quickly. In addition, our brick-and-mortar store will become our AR retail showroom where we can demo products in 3D and talk to customers directly to see what they like and dislike, again providing us with valuable data.

There is a lot of potential to increase the value of both your business and that of the acquired business using your own technology. What kind of figures are you predicting around the conversion rate? 

The conversion rate of the existing ecommerce business is around 2.5 – 3%, but with AR they can go up dramatically. We instantly saw close to 100% pick up in sales volume per visitor with our AR integration with just one product. 

Increasing the conversion rate of sales with AR and AI would be a huge benefit for shareholders, because it would both prove the value of our technologies for others but also increase revenues, increase profits, and increase the earnings of Nextech itself.

What announcements does NexTech plan to make that investors and shareholders should keep an eye out for?

We plan on bringing more tech to the market. Launching AI in February and then every 30-60 days, we will introduce new features and functionality to our platform. We are also on the hunt for additional strategic acquisition targets that add value. Between acquisitions and rollout of new technology 2019 is going to be a very busy year for us! 

image: http://www.stockhouse.com/getmedia/2eb65315-e8c0-4e95-98fb-00ee38e897ae/Nextech-AR-Solution-1?width=450&height=209

(Click on image to enlarge)

Having only been public for a few months, NTAR stock has risen sharply in a tumultuous market. How have you been able to successfully buck this trend?

NexTech AR Solutions Corp. has brought together a seasoned team of entrepreneurs and using AR and AI, which is arguably the most immersive technology ever conceived by man, is building out a next generation technology stack for the ecommerce industry, as well as for education and live streaming which all represent multi-billion dollar opportunities converging under two (AR/AI) multi-decade-long mega trends which are just getting started. As a first mover and the only public company pure play opportunity, I guess our story is resonating with early smart investors

Read more articles about NexTech AR on Stockhouse.com.

Augmented Reality’s Impact on SEO

        “AR is here to influence how businesses are going to promote their products and services. Soon, how they optimize for search rankings.”

Technology is continuously paving the road for greater things both online and off.  With the progression of augmented reality, things are going to get far more interesting.

As more brands start to use augmented reality, there’s a good chance that it will start to affect the way that users browse the web.

In a sense, AR and SEO may eventually develop a strong symbiotic relationship. As AR uses online data to improve its offerings, SEO benefits by creating a more engaged audience.

How will these two merge successfully in the year to come?

Search Engines Will Support Visual Search and Use AR

All major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, employ primary search results techniques. This is how web pages and other content, such as videos or local listings, are displayed and ranked, depending on what that specific search engine considers to be of most relevance to users. We are talking about organic search here, not paid search (SEM).

augmented-reality-marketing

Judging from the continuous growth of augmented reality, it’s no wonder if your website content will soon be crawled, indexed, and ranked higher in SERPs for AR-based content via visual search. Everything from digital content and activity, to offline advertising, physical locations, brand and product photos and images will someday be searched through AR.

Businesses and forward-thinking SEO professionals will need to include the augmented reality technology into their content marketing strategies.

Augmented reality is beneficial for brands that are searching and fighting to be first and foremost both in their industry and in SERPs. Being friendly to AR only improves the impact products and services have in search results. Before long, people will specifically look for things online that they can only see in a simulated 3-D environment.

Content Connects the Dots Between AR and SEO

Content is again king. Content is king in AR, just as it is in any other medium. Augmented reality content can take various forms, such as video, social sharing, reviews, 3D objects, usually available all-in-one search engine result page or advertorial.

In order to stand out, content marketers are investing a lot in visual content such as videos, images, and infographics. But it’s time to consider Augmented Reality in your content marketing strategy.

Sporting good augmented reality technology and smartly optimized content will both please your audience and boost your content up in SERPs. This way you encourage your customers to participate in the AR experience by contributing with content in real-time. Augmented reality is where content is not only provided by the brand, but also by the customer, both online and offline, and where positive content probably has the biggest impact of them all.

Better AR User Experience Leads to Better Ranking

Creating the best user experience possible is already a vastly important aspect of boosting sales and leads. It’s all about delivering quality materials on your site that users want. The same element drives augmented reality.

Like building a website, the AR experience is going to require information-rich content. It’s this access to data that often works to improve a user’s perception of a brand or website.

What does this mean for you as a business? It means you have to put effort into delivering every bit of detail possible in terms of data, especially if you plan on creating your own AR experiences to enhance your business model.

For instance, a car dealership could show the make, model and year of a car in a random parking lot and display the information on someone’s smartphone. But why stop there? Boosting the experience would include adding the blue book value, available colors, miles per gallon and more information that may influence a person’s decision to buy it.

Of course this is going to depend on the type of business you operate. However, it’s details such as these that help boost sales and leads. And improving user experience strengthens any SEO campaign.

The Impact AR Has on SEO

Mentions, reviews, links, ratings, all in a new form – this is what AR offers to the world of SEO.

Given the novelty and hype of this AR madness, people are naturally drawn to brands who take the risk (or the opportunity) to include AR into their content marketing strategy. This is why AR triggers brand awareness, something many businesses fight for and with.

Augmented reality cultivates a wow-factor. It presents a new search and information-ready ecosystem to organic search professionals.

AR-impacted SEO agencies can get actionable data and deep insight into customer behavior, thus knowing how to launch more engaging and successful marketing strategies across search engines.

Augmented reality isn’t supposed to replace your existing SEO efforts, but to expand your audience and to engage them to an extent they’ve never experienced before.

Talking about the audience, Adobe recently published a survey made on AR app users to see how many fans are there.

The numbers are continuously growthing, so this is a clear indicator of something that triggers people’s attention and makes them walk on that digital path – use it to drive them to you – as one of your communication and content means.

Why Should Small Businesses Be Thinking Ahead?

The actual future of augmented reality in SEO is uncertain. However, many brands and developers are pushing the limits of how these two affect each other.

Perhaps some of you will have read through this article and thought ‘But I’m a small business, this isn’t really within my marketing scope.’ The reality is, if you aren’t ready for AR when AR becomes mainstream, you’re undoubtedly going to be left behind. Local SEO is more important than ever before and it’s time that local businesses start investing resources into optimizing their organic search results.

Engage Customers in Every Reality

It’s always best to be aware of how the latest technologies can revolutionize your business. By thinking of how AR will affect your business today, companies will be equipped for when augmented reality dominates the world of search tomorrow.  So, stay ahead of the curve, contact us,  get a foot up on your competitors and prepare to reap the rewards as an early adopter.

How Augmented Reality Increases Conversion Rates

Modern companies have more options for improving their bottom line than at any other time in history.

Just the number that have debuted in the past 20 years is staggering.

That trend doesn’t show any signs of reversing, either.

With the introduction of augmented reality (AR), companies aren’t getting just another conversion tool. Instead, AR represents the potential for completely brand-new ways to engage prospects and turn them into customers.

6 Ways Augmented Reality Increases Conversion Rates

Deloitte identified that almost 90 percent of companies with annual revenues of $100 million to $1 billion are now leveraging AR or VR technology. For smaller firms, a poll conducted by Purch revealed that 10 percent of marketers utilize AR, and 72 percent are planning to in the coming year.

There are countless ways your company could utilize AR to start increasing sales, even setting new conversion records.

This might seem like a tall claim, but once you understand
the six main reasons augmented reality converts customers, you should have no
problem imagining how it could do so for your unique business.

1. Using Novelty to Drive Traffic

Without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons fueling the success of augmented reality is simply that it’s a novelty. For the time being, most people have never experienced AR and the the people who have, especially millennials, seem to really enjoy it.

In other words, AR is enough – in and of itself – to draw traffic to your site or attention to your brands.

Foot Locker’s AR scavenger hunt and mobile pop-up shops are part of the retailer’s strategy to engage mobile customers, especially younger shoppers who are more comfortable using their smartphones to discover products and make purchases.

The mobile-first strategy comes as Foot Locker, like other retailers, has scaled back its presence in shopping malls amid a shift toward online shopping. 

Nike and Foot Locker  aren’t the only big brands running towards AR. Unilever, Universal Pictures and Verizon ran similar AR treasure hunts to promote their products in recent years.

2. Slowing Down That In Store Traffic

For retail companies with physical presences, the Holy Grail of KPIs (second only to actual conversions) is dwelltime. The longer people spend in a store, the more they tend to spend at a store. Augmented reality is perfect for this KPI. By its very nature, it forces shoppers to stop what they’re doing in order to engage with it.

There are several ways to increase dwell time, but the easiest seems to be simply slowing down shoppers. Provided you’re not inconveniencing them, decelerating customers’ journeys throughout your location will inevitably lead to more conversions.

Augmented reality is perfect for this KPI. By its very nature, it forces shoppers to stop what they’re doing in order to engage with it. Unless you think an AR display will chase people away, using this technology to increase your store’s dwell time is a no-brainer.

3. Providing Critical Information That Employees Can’t

58%of consumers use their smartphones while inside of stores to research the products right in front of them.

If you’re not among them, this might come as a bit of a
surprise. Why don’t these consumers just interact with the products while
they’re in the store? Why don’t they simply ask employees if they have any
questions and get their answers right away?

The main reason is because employees can’t answer one of the most important questions customers have: “What did other customers think after purchasing this product?”

At least, their answers can’t possibly compare to those provided by online reviews.

While many retailers may see online reviews as a threat, AmericanApparel created an AR app to make them much more accessible. Their app allows consumers to scan products and immediately see how many are in stock, what colors they come in, and reviews from other customers.

The result? Shoppers find it much easier to make purchasing decisions with the help of AR.

4. Leveraging the Power of Social Media

‘”Differentiating your brand among thousands of competitors is never easy. NexTech AR delivered exactly what we needed to tell our story and get party and conference attendees to not only engage with our brand but talk about us to others.” Pranav Sood, CEO Trellis

Our clients at Trellis are among the early adopters of augmented reality. They were also one of the first companies cannabis companies to realize what a powerful combination AR and social media was. During MJ Biz Con we partnered with Trellis, so executives could be exposed to their social promotional video via AR.

From an outcome perspective, building experiences that translate into shareable moments is exactly what Trellis wanted. Conference attendees would see the Tesla on the showroom floor, stop at the booth, talk to Trellis employees and engage with the brand. Not surprisingly, many of the executives shared this content with’ friends  and colleagues via social media.

 

5. Allowing Users to Try Before They Buy

Similarly, augmented reality allows customers to “try before they buy.”

This doesn’t just apply to clothes, either. On VacuumCleanerMarket.com  Shoppers could use our AR eCommerce tool to see what their home would look like with various items from the websites inventory.

Magnolia
Market
and other furniture companies have been quick to follow suit. When
you consider the size of the purchase – both literally and in terms of cost –
it makes sense that shoppers are more likely to buy only after they get to see
what the pieces will look like in their homes.

6. Creating Instore Environments Through AR

What if you could bring your entire store right to your customer?

Not just making your entire inventory available through your webstore, but you could actually give customers the entire experience ofvisiting your physical stores?

Yihaodian, a Chinese grocery store, accomplished this by creating virtual stores,accessible across 1,000 different ARlocations. Customers could shop in AR, make their purchases, and then receive their groceries via delivery.  

More “locations” led to more sales.

Augmented Reality Will Soon Be the Only
Way to Convert

That might be a bit of an exaggeration.

However, it is probably fair to say that companies that
ignore the potential of augmented reality do so at their own risk.

Imagine two companies selling similar products. One has a
website and physical stores. The other has a website, physical stores, and AR technology capable of one or more
of the benefits listed above.

Which company do you think is going to be more successful?

How long do you think it will be before that company puts
the other out of business?

Today’s advantage is tomorrow’s insurmountable competitive
edge.

Want to start wielding it before any of your competitors do?

At NexTech AR Solutions Corp., we’ve pioneered a fast and
affordable process that makes augmented reality an option for every company.

Contact us today and let’s talk about how our technology can drive more conversions for your business.

In conversation with Evan Gappelberg on Augmented Reality & eCommerce

Originally Posted January 3, 2018 on Big Data Made Simple.

“We recently interviewed Evan Gappelberg, an accomplished entrepreneur and CEO of NexTech AR Solutions, which brings augmented reality (AR) to the masses by creating an AR ecosystem featuring eCommerce solutions for websites. We spoke a lot about augmented reality in eCommerce and you can read the complete interview below.


1. Augmented Reality (AR) isn’t just for gaming anymore! In a very short period of time, AR technology has come a long way and now, it is all poised to disrupt the future of industries like health care, books, retail, and of course eCommerce. It is said that augmented reality will revolutionize the eCommerce business with its ability to personalize and enhance the shopping experience for customers. Your company NexTech promises to bring the in-store experience to the home with a hologram, as well as a virtual “try-on at home” platform for every product. I am excited to know more…

NexTech is quickly building out the next generation, an industry first, web-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) based AR eCommerce solution. With AI integration the platform will be able to offer scanning of the body, hands, and feet as well as facial features, to understand an individual shopper’s style, sizes, and preferences, as well as creating AR holograms acting as personal shopping assistants. Nextech’s web-enabled AR platform allows small and large eCommerce websites to integrate AR into the shopping experience with just a few lines of embed code democratizing AR at scale and creating a true consumer platform.

The biggest hurdle online customers face is determining whether a certain product fits and is right for them. AR offers shoppers the confidence that will motivate online purchasing decisions. AR provides users with an in-store shopping experience, anytime and anywhere. Our AR platform superimposes 3D objects in various spaces, giving customers a chance to interact with digital twins from the comfort of their own homes. AR has been rapidly scaling into the eCommerce landscape through early adopters like IKEA whose app lets you see the furniture in your house by overlaying a digital twin of the object in your living room. However, the experience is limited to the IKEA app. Nextech’s platform allows all eCommerce websites to have this same capability no app required leveling the playing field for all eCommerce sites and opening up the floodgates for AR eCommerce shopping.

2. You say that with this new virtual “try-on at home” shopping experiences, returns of products will be reduced by as much as 80% and an increase in sales will be as much as 3X. What are the other benefits?

Another major benefit is that once the Nextech platform has recorded the size and shape of a person’s body, feet, hands as well as facial features using AI it can start to recommend to the consumer new products that would perfectly fit their body style creating a connection and trust between the customer and the brand, this used to have to take place in store. With the ability to easily try on products at home the shopping experience is truly transformed creating a frictionless shopping environment where the act of buying a product will become so effortless it happens with the push of one button or just by saying the word “BUY” out-loud…the perfectly fitting product showing up at your doorstep in a day or even an hour later. The ease of ordering built on the confidence of buying what you know fits, all powered by Nextech’s platform is a big step forward for eCommerce!

3. Tell us about the new integration with IBM Watson’s Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into your AR platform. Why Watson and how is it going to help your platform?

IBM Watson was the obvious choice for us as it allows for Nextech to leverage IBM’s decades’ long development of AI, even though AI is now taking the world by storm AI and ML is not new to IBM or Watson. With AI we will be able to offer many more features including AI chatbots, body scanning, facial recognition, as well as holograms that know your likes and dislikes. We are standing on the shoulders of Watson and the view is amazing!

4. NexTech’s web-enabled AR eCommerce solution works on every browser and on every device including desktops, laptops, iPods, and all mobile phones. It does not need an app installed to function. Tell us more about its features.

Nextech has filed a patent around its AR web-enabled eCommerce platform which has been integrated with Shopify, WordPress, and Magento. The AR can “go live” on any eCommerce site with just a few lines of embed code creating an easy to use a highly scalable platform. When we started looking at AR, we immediately saw the “wow” factor and application for eCommerce but also saw a hesitation of consumers to load another app on their mobile device. With our web-enabled AR eCommerce solution, we have eliminated that friction point which we believe will open the floodgates to AR shopping experiences worldwide, this truly is a game changer.

5. Every online retailer now wants to put an augmented reality feature online to gain a competitive advantage, because according to a study, approximately 40% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product, when they are offered an augmented reality experience. What are the key things one has to remember while integrating an AR feature into an online eCommerce store?

For eCommerce sites that are integrating AR, they should just be prepared for a lot of consumer excitement, questions, and sales. Consumers love what’s new and exciting and AR certainly fits that bill and with that, they become curious and will ask questions… so I would just make sure that customer service is ready to answer some of those questions. I would also be prepared for sales going up and with that in mind have a bit more inventory of those items being sold with our AR. I would also make sure that the right expectations are met meaning AR works if the intention is to show how a painting or flat screen TV looks on a wall or a how a table and chairs look in a kitchen or even how new doorknobs or a new bicycle looks then AR will work really well for that.

6. Tell us about your plans. And what is going to be the future of AR in the next five years?

Nextech didn’t create the AR economy it was Apple, Google, Microsoft and NVIDIA and other large tech companies that have invested billions into this technology over the past few years and they aren’t slowing the level of investment, in fact, it is accelerating. The AR industry is expected to grow from around $20 billion in 2018 to $120 billion by 2021 according to Statista, and we intend to be a part of that growth with our platforms.

AR adoption is moving very fast, starting in 2017 the AR industry began forming around APP’s and mobile devices, however we see a tectonic shift in the near future where no app is needed, the phone goes the way of the pager and a new device rises up and takes over the market called “smart glasses”. The “smart glasses” will allow for a truly amazing, mind-bending, fully immersive 3D experience where what’s “real” and what’s “virtual” truly merge and are indistinguishable…over time this will become the new norm starting in 2019/2020…by 2025 phones will be obsoleted. Nextech is unique in that it’s building its AR technology on the web which means all its technology will work seamlessly with the next generation of products which is huge. Nextech wants the first AR enhanced product a consumer sees to be powered by our Nextech platform.”

QUOTES, COMMENTS AND BLURBS ABOUT THE EXPLODING AUGMENTED REALITY BUSINESS

It wasn’t until Apple introduced ARKit and Google launched ARCore, both platforms that make it easier for developers to create augmented reality apps, that companies, developers, and even the public began to see that augmented reality (AR) would become mainstream. Even though the technology for AR that overlays virtual images onto the real world had existed before, once these development platforms launched it became significantly easier to build apps. Since it became easier to build AR apps, there was a boost in the release of them on a scale similar to the adoption rates that Apple saw in 2008 when they opened the App Store. Ideas for AR applications beyond gaming began to percolate, and companies such as IKEA and L’Oreal started dreaming up uses for the technology that could enhance the customer experience. As with any new exciting technology—and AR is no different—many people have things to say about the possibilities and perils of adopting it.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes about augmented reality.

“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.” —Tim Cook

“We wouldn’t have been able to touch this before [ARKit was announced]. If you even wanted to consider AR you had to work out how to do things like plane detection and for three guys in a room trying to make games, that’s huge.” —Travis Ryan

“There are a lot of issues that it opens up like for example who is allowed to place an augmented reality object where. Can someone from Burger King walk into a McDonald’s and place a Burger King ad there? What are the rules? It’s a whole new kind of field of consideration.” — Scott Belsky

 “A key part of that journey is making an open platform where any developer can create anything they want.” —Mark Zuckerber

“People are really craving for experiences such as virtual try-on apps, skin diagnostics and live streaming for influencers. Technology will only impact beauty more and more.”

L’Oreal demonstrated how it’ll soon allow customers of its NYX Professional Makeup brand to book livestreaming sessions with beauty assistants, likely the ones who work at its stores already. The assistants would then work with those customers just as they would at the store’s makeup counter.

“Facebook and L’Oréal share the vision that augmented reality is becoming key for product and brand discovery and purchase,” said Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal chief digital officer, in a statement.

“We are at that magical moment when technologies have matured enough and consumer appetite for using them is growing everywhere. We are very excited about that new step in our long-term partnership with Facebook. One fascinating aspect of this partnership is that it keeps us innovating the beauty user experience. After having adapted our creatives and contents to a mobile-first world it will be very interesting to see how AR is going to change the creative playbook of our industry.”

Facebook has made numerous efforts to monetize its AR platform through marketing partnerships, including bringing AR ads to its News Feed, extending branded AR experiences to Facebook Messenger, and adding advertising-friendly capabilities such as image recognition.

How to Create a Successful Augmented Reality Experience in 7 Steps

Over the last decade, augmented reality (AR) has grown from
a relatively niche form of technology
used only by companies in equally niche industries to the darling of household
names like Nike, Adidas, L’Oreal, MTV, Patron Tequila, and the New York Times,
among many, many others.

Of course, your company may be putting off the next step in
their marketing evolution because the technology
seems complicated.

That’s understandable.

Fortunately, launching a successful augmented reality
campaign is probably much easier than you think.

7 Steps to a Successful Augmented Reality Experience

Although the final outcome for an augmented reality campaign will be as unique as your company’s goals, there are still seven steps every business should take in order to successfully hit their target with an exciting experience.

1. Flow

The first step to success
with augmented reality
is to get the “flow” right. To put it simply, this
refers to every action the user will need to take to get from the beginning to
the end of the experience.  

This seemingly simple concept could entail any of the
following:

  • Branding
  • Customer Expectations
  • Enhanced Situations
  • Physical Environments
  • Places
  • Tasks

It may help to think of the flow as a type of abbreviated customer
journey
that is contained within the entire augmented reality experience.

What needs to happen in order for your customer to have the
desired experience starting from the moment they begin interacting with the
technology?

2. Intro

Per the name, this step is where customers get introduced to
your AR experience’s flow.

Like any good story, an augmented reality campaign needs a
beginning, an Act I, where the audience (your user) is introduced to this new
world.

With AR, it’s important that this transition is smooth and
deliberate. Video games actually provide
a fairly helpful template for this step because, in order to play the game,
players first need to understand the rules and controls. The same is true for
AR. Before your customer can enjoy it, they need to know how.

An effective AR experience must also make a good first
impression. From the very beginning, people should be excited about what comes
next.

3. Genre

The purpose of your augmented reality campaign will define
its genre. Are you hoping to:

  • Educate?
  • Entertain?
  • Create?

A combination of the three? Something else?

An example of crossing genres might be L’Oreal’s
Modiface
, which allows users to see what they would look like with the
famous cosmetic company’s products applied.

Is it entertaining?

Definitely.

But it also helps educate
prospective customers about the products L’Oreal has to offer, making for a
much easier buying decision.

Whatever the case, just like in books, movies, and video games, each genre will come with its own
expectations.

If you want to educate, you’ll need to provide customers
with information throughout the campaign.

If you want to entertain, it’s more important that your
experience plays with expectations and includes a playful interface.

Still, there is also plenty of room for creativity with your
genres, too.

4. Plot

For an augmented reality campaign, the plot is all about how
a customer can be led to make a purchase.

Just like any good plot, it will unfold over time, whether over
2 minutes or 20.

Keep in mind that the entire
plot – or the flow, for that matter – doesn’t need to happen exclusively withinaugmented reality.

Adidas’
recent AR campaign
was a huge success and a good example of this. Customers
used their phones to reach milestones in physical space before being introduced
to the augmented reality experience Adidas had created for them (“interacting”
with the shoes they wanted).

5. Vignette

The vignette of your augmented
reality strategy
establishes its mood and will affect the entire flow, from
beginning to end. Your campaign’s vignette could be fun, but it could also be
straightforward and to-the-point. It depends on what your customers want from
their experience.

Vignettes also decide if that experience will be active or
passive. The former means they’ll engage with the reality, whereas a passive
experience is one where they simply watch what unfolds.

6. Outro

Once your customer has successfully gone through your
company’s augmented reality campaign, it’s time to return them to the real
world. Just as with the intro, this exit from AR should be equally seamless and
smooth.

If there are other steps (literally or figuratively) you
want your customer to take afterward, now’s the time to tell them. For example,
in the aforementioned Adidas campaign, the company’s AR app told customers
where they needed to go to pick up the shoes they had just ordered.

7. User-Acceptance Testing

Finally, no AR campaign should be launched without
sufficient user
acceptance testing (UAT)
first. This process will check for any problems
that need to be corrected before customers are given access to the campaign.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) means testing your augmented experience
by the user/client to determine whether it can be accepted or not. Better to
catch them now than to learn about them after the campaign has gone live – a
costly predicament.

This means having developers and functional testers validate the software being used against the functional expectations of the AR experience.

Business requirements need to be tested, as well. The importance of testing the experience and campaign with potential end users can not be stressed enough. An AR campaign could perfectly meet the functional expectations desired but completely miss the business requirements and processes the end users wanted.

Whenever possible, this last step takes place in a
conference room where everyone involved – project managers, marketing team
representatives, users, developers, etc. – sits together for a day or two and
walks through the entire campaign.

An Even Easier Path to Augmented
Reality

Hopefully, augmented
reality now seems a lot more approachable. Your company could be just seven
steps away from leveraging this powerful technology to market, engage, and sell
your audience.

Of course, if you’d like help, NexTech AR Solutions can
handle the entire process on your
behalf. Our team has decades of combined experience working with this exciting
technology for companies across a number of different industries.

Whether you’re ready to launch an AR campaign or simply need information about providing the best AR solution for your company, just contact us today and we’ll be here to guide you.