tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/augmented-reality Latest Augmented reality content from Econsultancy 2018-01-15T13:00:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69718 2018-01-15T13:00:00+00:00 2018-01-15T13:00:00+00:00 What’s next for WeChat in 2018? Nikki Gilliland <p><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68836-eight-western-brands-running-innovative-campaigns-on-china-s-wechat" target="_blank">For brands</a>, it has resulted in a huge opportunity to communicate directly with consumers, not just advertise to them. By creating their own mini sites within the app, brands ranging from Burberry to Uniqlo have been able to successfully engage WeChat’s ecommerce-hungry audience.</p> <p>Meanwhile, WePay – the app’s payment system – has ensured users remain ever-more loyal. With the equivalent of $1.2 trillion being sent in 2016, the feature has revolutionised the way Chinese consumers pay. When you add in other features like low-cost calls, mini programs (apps that do not have to be downloaded separately), and the social ‘moments’ – it’s clear why consumers might not feel the need to look elsewhere.</p> <p>So, how is WeChat planning on keeping its 900m strong user base happy? Here’s a run-down of some of the newest features on the app, plus indication of where it might be heading in the near future. </p> <p>You can also read more about the topic in Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-wechat-an-overview-of-china-s-social-payment-and-messaging-giant/" target="_blank">Understanding WeChat</a> report.</p> <h3>Integrated AR</h3> <p>We’ve already seen Tencent (owner of WeChat) setting its sights on the world of virtual and augmented reality, with streamed VR concerts and investment in the development of headsets. </p> <p>More recently, however, it announced a new intention to bring this technology into WeChat with QAR - an open AR platform for third-party developers.  </p> <p>There’ll be no headsets involved, as it is aiming to make detailed objects look realistic on smartphones through 3D rendering. It’s also been reported that Tencent is developing simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) technology, which will be able to calculate the position of virtual objects relative to their environment.</p> <p>Perhaps this new investment is a reaction to WeChat’s mobile payments rival, Alibaba, bringing an <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69455-five-new-and-innovative-examples-of-augmented-reality-in-retail-apps" target="_blank">AR-element</a> to its last hongbao campaign (the tradition of giving cash in red envelopes to celebrate the Lunar New Year). In the same fashion as Pokémon Go, it allowed users to collect virtual red envelopes left in various real-life locations. </p> <p>However, while Tencent did launch a similar hongbao promotion on its QQ Messenger service, WeChat still <a href="https://technode.com/2017/02/02/alipays-ar-powered-lucky-money-promotion-couldnt-beat-wechats-hongbao-feature/" target="_blank">won the battle</a> against Alibaba in terms of red envelopes sent. If AR is added into the mix in future, it’s easy to see how WeChat might further increase its domination of this popular event – and draw in even more users with the promise of more interactive in-app technology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1672/WeChat_hongbao.JPG" alt="" width="496" height="440"></p> <p><em>(Image via <a href="http://www.digitalstrategyconsulting.com/netimperative/news/2015/02/wechat_users_sends_1bn_virtual_red_envelopes_for_chinese_new_year.php" target="_blank">Digital Strategy Consulting</a>)</em></p> <h3>International expansion?</h3> <p>Previously, WeChat’s attempts to expand to other markets have proved less successful than hoped. With widespread <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69046-has-wechat-beaten-facebook-to-the-enterprise" target="_blank">adoption of Facebook</a> Messenger and Whatsapp in countries including the US, South Africa, Argentina and Italy – WeChat’s late entry into the market has somewhat hindered its progress. </p> <p>Similarly, with a lack of localisation and the absence of many integrated features that make it so popular in China, it has failed to catch the imagination of consumers. </p> <p>Nevertheless, WebChat is ploughing on, recently changing its globalisation strategy to focus on forming new partnerships with businesses rather than acquiring new users. What’s more, it is hoping to drive interest by partnering with firms to allow WeChat Pay in other markets. </p> <p>Most significantly perhaps, it has rolled out its full WeChat ecosystem in Malaysia, meaning locals can link their bank accounts to WeChat Pay. With previous limitations on localised services, this could generate greater usage of other features within the app including booking appointments, taxis and so on, perhaps then leading to greater expansion elsewhere. It also means that Chinese travellers can avoid cash payments, and if this is replicated in other markets, will potentially make the app more travel-friendly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1616/wechat_pay.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="494"></p> <p><em>(Image via <a href="http://says.com/my/tech/wechat-pay-is-coming-to-malaysia" target="_blank">Says.com</a>)</em></p> <h3>Finding mini programs nearby</h3> <p>Since January last year, mini programs (or embedded apps) have allowed brands from a variety of industries to reach consumers more easily. Without the need to download a separate app, mini programs are faster and less data-heavy, allowing users to do everything from order food to translate language without ever leaving WeChat. </p> <p>Recently, Tencent introduced a new feature to allow for the bidding of ad space in the ‘Mini Programs Nearby’ list. Essentially, this means that users are provided with a list of mini programs based on their location, age, gender, and other metrics.</p> <p>For ecommerce brands, the opportunity to deliver relevant and personalised communication is an undoubtedly enticing prospect – as is the chance to connect users with hyper-local offline experiences. Mini programs are designed to be unobtrusive, as they only appear when the service in question is required. For example, bike sharing brand Mobike allows users to rent a bike (via the mini program) by scanning a QR code at a pick-up point.</p> <p>Instead of having to download an existing app, it means that users can naturally discover and interact with brands in real-time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1673/mobike.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="586"></p> <p><em>(Image via <a href="https://chinachannel.co/use-wechat-mini-programs/" target="_blank">China Channel</a>)</em></p> <h3>Digital ID </h3> <p>Finally, WeChat has also launched a new pilot program for a digital ID, initially rolled out in the Nansha district in Guangzhou before expanding elsewhere. It means that citizens will be able to link their national identity to WeChat via facial recognition, which users can then display on their smartphones. </p> <p>With ID cards typically required for everything from buying train tickets to booking a hotel in China, the option of a digital version takes away the need to carry around physical cards. </p> <p>Furthermore, it is likely to further integrate WeChat into the habits of users’ everyday lives – further cementing its status as the ultimate ‘app for everything’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1618/wechat_ID.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="392"></p> <p><em>(Image via <a href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201712/27/WS5a435749a31008cf16da3caa.html" target="_blank">China Daily</a>)</em></p> <p><em><strong>Don't forget, subscribers can download <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-wechat-an-overview-of-china-s-social-payment-and-messaging-giant/" target="_blank">Understanding WeChat: An Overview of China’s Social, Payment and Messaging Giant</a> now.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69619 2017-11-29T09:56:22+00:00 2017-11-29T09:56:22+00:00 How publishers are using augmented reality to bring stories to life Nikki Gilliland <p>But is there a demand for AR-driven books? And what are the benefits for the brands and publishers involved? Here’s more on the story, along with a few new and innovative examples.</p> <h3>Masters of the Sun</h3> <p>Earlier this year, hip-hop group the Black-Eyed Peas teamed up with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64502-how-marvel-comics-uses-google-pinterest-instagram-and-twitter" target="_blank">Marvel</a> to release a graphic novel called Masters of the Sun. This week, a long-awaited AR app was also released to go alongside it, giving readers the chance to delve deeper into the story through animated graphics and text. </p> <p>The app also includes a musical score produced by will.i.am and Hans Zimmer (the Oscar-winning composer), plus narration by well-known stars including Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah. </p> <p>So, does the app add real value to the actual story, or is it more of a marketing ploy – a way to generate extra revenue? There’s already been some criticism from readers about having to pay extra to download the app (as the book must be bought separately), however, this also means that the AR element does not overshadow the actual book. People can still enjoy it in print form if they wish, yet the publisher can reach a wider audience, including fans of technology as well as traditionalists.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/MOTSComic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MOTSComic</a> The Augmented Reality experience app available now for iOS and Android! <a href="https://t.co/0ZTytNBVzT">pic.twitter.com/0ZTytNBVzT</a></p> — Masters Of The Sun (@MOTSComic) <a href="https://twitter.com/MOTSComic/status/935208522769252352?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 27, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>In terms of the benefits for readers, I think the app will enhance elements of the story, creating a richer, more interactive and engaging experience overall. Early reviews suggest the effects are indeed impressive, and with extra features that you don’t get with the print novel (such as the musical score) there’s certainly extra enjoyment to be had. </p> <p>The use of AR in this case also seems to be a natural fit. The medium of a graphic novel is perfectly aligned to augmented reality because, unlike a traditional novel, the comic-book style animations mean it is already a highly visual experience – the addition of augmented graphics merely enhances this rather than changes it completely. </p> <p>There’s also a reason why so many comic books have been turned into movies. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, a virtual reality app for Masters of the Sun is currently said to be in the works too. By adding yet another dimension to the story, Marvel is attempting to fully immerse users into this new world, again appealing to both die-hard fans of the novel and VR-enthusiasts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0779/Masters_of_the_sun.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="491"></p> <h3>Supersaurs</h3> <p>While the previous example is perhaps more suited to an older audience, Supersaurs by author Jay Burridge (and publisher Bonnier Zaffre) demonstrates how AR can be used to engage younger readers.</p> <p>Aimed at eight to 10 year olds, Supersaurs is the first book in a six-part series, set in a world where dinosaurs never died out. The app uses AR to make the dinosaurs roar and roam around, but more than this, it enables young users to actively participate in a 50-mission game that requires lateral thinking. In this sense, the AR elements enhance learning, adding value to the overall story and what readers can gain from it.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Take a further look inside the book with the free Supersaurs app....watch the magic happen <a href="https://t.co/wBf3aJQPXl">pic.twitter.com/wBf3aJQPXl</a></p> — supersaurs (@supersaurs) <a href="https://twitter.com/supersaurs/status/925681523927470080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 1, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, from a commercial perspective, the app also allows both the publisher and author to gain insight into the people buying and reading the book. The app asks for an email address when someone downloads it, meaning that it generates valuable customer data, also allowing the publisher to follow-up with marketing activity such as welcome emails and printable extras.</p> <p>With this information usually being acquired and used by retailers like Amazon or Waterstones - meaning that authors tend to have no real knowledge about who their readers are (other than feedback gathered elsewhere) – it could help to inform future projects.</p> <p>It’s also important to note that the AR app for Supersaurs is free to download, which means that readers are far more likely to get involved and appreciate the additional value.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fworldofsupersaurs%2Fvideos%2F361824867563361%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="357"></iframe></p> <h3>My Very Hungry Caterpillar</h3> <p>Publishers aren’t only creating apps to be used in conjunction with existing books. After the release of ARKit for iPhone, Touch Press partnered with StoryToys to turn the classic children’s book, My Very Hungry Caterpillar, into a standalone app. </p> <p>Essentially, it is kind of like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68060-what-brands-can-learn-from-nintendo-s-digital-transformation-and-pokemon-go" target="_blank">Pokemon Go</a> for little children. It allows users to see and interact with the caterpillar wherever they are, enabling them to feed him (and watch him grow bigger), tuck him into bed, and help him to avoid obstacles. As well as keeping kids entertained, the app also encourages aspects of development, such as nurturing skills and getting involved with nature. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T9D0YcUKPOU?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>While this does mean that the AR experience bears no real relation to the book itself, it still shows how, like authors, companies are using technology to tell enhance and tell stories. </p> <p>So, could we see more publishers and brands turning beloved books into AR experiences?</p> <p>Perhaps, especially considering that there is likely to be an existing audience already invested in the story. This is the case with My Very Hungry Caterpillar, and of course, Harry Potter – which is also being turned into an AR experience by Niantic Labs (the creators of Pokemon Go).</p> <p>Naturally, the news has been met with fervent interest from loyal fans, eager to further immerse themselves in the wizarding world. The only sad thing, of course, is that this means more time spent looking at a screen and less on a printed page - but it spells great news for fans of creative technology.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69455-five-new-and-innovative-examples-of-augmented-reality-in-retail-apps" target="_blank">Five new and innovative examples of augmented reality in retail apps</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality" target="_blank">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69013-what-do-facebook-s-new-vr-and-ar-platforms-mean-for-marketers" target="_blank">What do Facebook's new VR and AR platforms mean for marketers?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69463 2017-09-29T16:43:30+01:00 2017-09-29T16:43:30+01:00 10 delightful digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Without further ado...</p> <h3>Digital ad fraud predicted to rise to $19bn in 2018</h3> <p>A new report by <a href="https://www.juniperresearch.com/researchstore/content-commerce/future-digital-advertising/ai-ad-fraud-ad-blocking-2017-2022" target="_blank">Juniper Research</a> predicts that digital ad fraud will cost advertisers $19bn in 2018 – that’s equivalent to $51m per day. This figure, which represents advertising on online and mobile devices, is also predicted to rise to $44bn by 2022. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the report further predicts that platforms using AI for targeting purposes will account for 74% of total online and mobile advertising spend by 2022.</p> <h3>Honesty is the key to winning trust from travel consumers</h3> <p>According to research by the <a href="https://dma.org.uk/research/dma-insight-customer-engagement-focus-on-travel" target="_blank">DMA</a>, simple factors like honesty and value for money can instill trust in travel consumers – perhaps even more so than technological innovation.</p> <p>The DMA found that 59% of consumers want value for money, 58% want ease of use, and 58% want good customer service from travel brands. Similarly, these factors can also keep customers loyal, with 53% saying good customer service would lead to a repeat booking, and 40% saying the same for deals and loyalty schemes.</p> <p>That's not to say customers don’t want the convenience of technology as well. 52% of consumers say they would use a chatbot to help with pre-travel questions, and 53% would be interested in using a VR headset to see a hotel room.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9270/DMA.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="568"></p> <h3>Three in four UK consumers are concerned about privacy of connected devices</h3> <p>New research from <a href="http://www.worldpay.com/uk/about/media-centre/2017-09/shoppers-give-thumbs-up-to-in-store-biometrics" target="_blank">Worldpay</a> has revealed a lack of trust in connected devices among UK consumers. </p> <p>In a study of over 2,000 people, just 23% of UK respondents said they feel comfortable with a smart device such as a fridge or virtual assistant ordering items on their behalf. Not only did the study uncover that Brits are laggards when it comes to Internet of Things adoption, but also that privacy is still a massive barrier. </p> <p>Worldpay found that 78% of British consumers are worried that businesses would share their personal data, while 77% are concerned about the prospect of devices being hacked by fraudsters. UK consumers are clearly a stubborn lot too, as 33% claimed that nothing would make them feel comfortable with automated purchasing.</p> <h3>93% of consumers would consider a rival brand after a negative email experience</h3> <p>A new report by <a href="https://www.mailjet.com/blog/guide/transactional-research-report/" target="_blank">Mailjet</a> suggests that lost emails can negatively affect levels of customer retention.</p> <p>Research has found that 28% of consumers across the UK now receive four or more transactional emails per day. Furthermore, 77% state they always check that they have received a purchase confirmation email, and 41% won’t wait more than one minute for a transactional email to arrive before getting annoyed with the company they are using.</p> <p>Consequently, 93% of customers would consider choosing a rival provider following a negative transactional email experience, with 21% of UK consumers saying speed of email delivery is the most important factor.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9269/Mailjet.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="407"></p> <h3>Decline in number of retailers offering free returns </h3> <p>Research by <a href="https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reboundreturns.com%2Fquarter-2-2017&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cdavid.moth%40econsultancy.com%7C3ed69e69770147425ea908d50590c01e%7Cfdd3bf0d1bfa49198a45f1a311d56753%7C0%7C0%7C636421041622281531&amp;sdata=%2B%2F6%2FC2F5MpzzWUd4cyJCEreZwzqYMJR1Zszj3mYBFHE%3D&amp;reserved=0" target="_blank">ReBound</a> has uncovered a drop in the number of UK and European retailers offering their customers free returns. In a study of over 200 leading fashion brands, just 28% were found to offer free returns – a big decrease from 55% in Q1.</p> <p>ReBound’s report also found that the majority of retailers are failing to be upfront about their returns policies, with just 6% promoting their returns policy at all three key stages of the purchase journey – product page, basket, and checkout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9276/Returns.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="456"></p> <h3>Social sentiment for Uber increases following licence revoke </h3> <p>Since TFL announced that it won’t be renewing Uber’s licence to operate, social media has been awash with conversation about the decision. 4C Insights has been looking at engagement and sentiment for both companies across platforms including Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p>Surprisingly, it found that sentiment has dropped 13% for TFL since the announcement, with Uber remaining level despite the working practices highlighted by TfL's decision. </p> <p>With 730,000 signatures on the petition for Uber to have its London license renewed, it seems the general attitude on social media is annoyance at the service being taken away. </p> <h3>90% of Gen Z travellers influenced by social media</h3> <p>When it comes to travel plans, <a href="https://info.advertising.expedia.com/travel-and-tourism-trends-for-american-travelers" target="_blank">Expedia Media Solutions</a> has revealed that the Generation Z is the demographic most influenced by social media, with Instagram and Facebook being named as the most influential platforms. </p> <p>While Gen X (or millennials) are influenced less by social media than younger generations, more than half of them say Facebook has an effect on their decision-making.</p> <p>Lastly, baby boomers are the least likely to research travel destinations on social media, with more than 55% already deciding where to go, and 43% saying they don’t need help with planning.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9272/Expedia.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="347"></p> <h3>iOS 11 sparks consumer demand for new AR apps</h3> <p>Following on from the launch of iOS 11 and Apple’s new AR platform, ARKit, consumer demand for AR apps is on the rise.</p> <p>A new report by <a href="https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdigitalbridge.eu%2Fdownload-our-new-report-augmented-reality-changing-the-face-of-retail%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cnikki.gilliland%40centaurmedia.com%7Cadb8f897d4ac427e9e8d08d505beece0%7Cfdd3bf0d1bfa49198a45f1a311d56753%7C0%7C0%7C636421239942488912&amp;sdata=DN6h7HZhQ23xErI%2BpE0u4xwhEyFol2J3t7zrWcfNRAo%3D&amp;reserved=0" target="_blank">DigitalBridge</a> suggests that 61% of consumers say augmented reality is the technology they are most excited about using, compared to 30% for virtual reality. Consequently, 69% now expect retailers to launch an AR app within the next six months.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a further 18% of consumers don’t expect to be kept waiting longer than 12 months before they are offered access to an augmented reality platform, and 82% are expecting the technology to be made available via mobile.</p> <h3>Consumers fail to recall brand logos</h3> <p>Signs.com has been looking at how well consumers can recall the brand logos they see every day. <a href="https://www.signs.com/branded-in-memory/" target="_blank">The study</a> involved 150 participants drawing 10 famous logos from memory, including Apple, Burger King, and Domino's.</p> <p>Results found that just 6% of people could recall the Starbucks logo – perhaps surprising considering many participants buy one of the 18m cups of coffee it sells per day.</p> <p>Ikea saw the most success, with nearly a third of participants recreating near-perfect logos. Meanwhile, more than 20% of participants wrongly included a crown when drawing the Burger King logo, despite the fact that the design hasn’t included one in almost 50 years.</p> <p>Lastly, one in three participants incorrectly included a stalk in the Apple logo. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9271/brand_logos.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="631"></p> <h3>Pizza generates 26m shares on Instagram</h3> <p>Lastminute.com has revealed the world’s most-shared food trends, including the top international foods and the most popular obscure trends.</p> <p>Topping the list of the most-shared international foods is pizza, with 26m shares on Instagram. This is followed by sushi with 17.6m shares, and pasta with 11m shares.</p> <p>Meanwhile, matcha tea was found to be the most popular unusual food, generating 2.5m shares. Cronuts, bubble tea, and freakshake also appear in the top 10 obscure foods Instagram users love to document.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69455 2017-09-28T15:00:00+01:00 2017-09-28T15:00:00+01:00 Five new and innovative examples of augmented reality in retail apps Nikki Gilliland <p>Let’s take a look at what the new app offers users, as well as a few other examples of brands experimenting with augmented reality on mobile.</p> <h3>Ikea Place</h3> <p>Ikea Place, which was recently launched in the US, allows users to place virtual Ikea furniture into their own home to see how everything might look once assembled. <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67694-10-examples-of-great-ikea-marketing-creative" target="_blank">Ikea</a> has had a 3D function in its catalogue app for a few years now, however the scale was somewhat questionable, and it required a physical copy of the paper catalogue to work.</p> <p>In contrast, the new Ikea Place app is said to be 98% accurate in scale, rendering 3D images to react to light and shade – ultimately giving consumers a much more realistic portrayal. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r0ViFTEb8aQ?wmode=transparent" width="475" height="267"></iframe></p> <p>So will it inspire consumers to buy? I think Ikea Place will be effective in this sense, especially during the pre-purchase phase when a lot of deliberation or uncertainty tends to lead to shopper abandonment. With furniture – and especially Ikea’s self-assembly furniture – being somewhat of a guessing game (in terms of the end result), the AR tool will help shoppers to make more informed decisions, which could increase sales through the app.</p> <p>As well as functional elements, the app also looks like it will provide a lot of inspiration, letting users compare over 2,000 Ikea items to see how different furniture might look in the same space.</p> <h3>Sephora Virtual Artist</h3> <p>Cosmetics retailer Sephora didn’t wait around for ARKIt – its ‘Virtual Artist’ app has been available via its main app since earlier this year.</p> <p>Instead of furniture in homes, the AR technology lets beauty consumers see what certain products might look like on their own face. To do so, it uses Modiface technology to scan lips and eyes, before overlaying different lip colours, eye-shadows, false lashes and so on.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9230/Sephora.JPG" alt="" width="241" height="505"></p> <p>The main aim of the app seems to be to boost ecommerce sales, with beauty consumers typically driven in-store due to doubts about what products will look like in real life.</p> <p>While reviews have been mixed – some say it is no match for trying products on actual skin – there is an impressive amount of products to try out. Meanwhile, it also serves as a bit of fun for consumers and yet another way for <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69354-10-brilliant-examples-of-content-marketing-from-beauty-brands" target="_blank">beauty brands</a> like Sephora to provide entertainment and inspiration as well as the products themselves.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Playing with Sephora Virtual Artist. <a href="https://t.co/WZV3kF7diU">pic.twitter.com/WZV3kF7diU</a></p> — caca (@_shafawatimkthr) <a href="https://twitter.com/_shafawatimkthr/status/891297890592669696">July 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Dulux Visualiser</h3> <p>Another home interiors-related app, Dulux Visualiser uses AR in a simple but highly effective way – to see what your walls will look like when painted a different colour.</p> <p>Like most AR apps, it works by using your smartphone camera to detect wall edges and surfaces, letting users select the specific area that should be virtually painted.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4lMFxJ4PDXY?wmode=transparent" width="857" height="482"></iframe></p> <p>I downloaded the app and gave it a go, with mixed feelings about the results. While the app itself has a lot of cool features, like the ability to match paint from furniture or fabric, as well as an extensive array of colours to choose from, the actual AR functionality is a bit of a let down.</p> <p>As you can see from the below image, when turning my white wall pink, the colour merged into the frame. Niggles like this are understandable given the technology is still in its early days, however I also found it particularly tricky to stop colour from seeping up the ceiling and elsewhere.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9232/IMG_1910.PNG" alt="" width="400" height="711"></p> <p>AR functionality aside, the idea of the app is still great, and will certainly be a viable option for customers who don't want to head to stores or physically test out multiple paint colours on their walls.</p> <h3>Bic</h3> <p><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69311-six-lessons-we-can-learn-from-the-best-stationery-brands-on-instagram" target="_blank">Stationery brand</a> Bic has turned to AR to solve a very different kind of problem. Its Drawybook app for kids adds a gamification element to colouring – acting as an alternative to standard mobile gaming apps that children often turn to.</p> <p>The app includes storytelling elements, with a number of interactive stories being specially created for the app by children’s author, Elissa Elwich. However, the AR element gives kids a reason to do more than just play games or read. The ‘Draw &amp; Scan’ feature encourages them to create their own art by bringing it to life with special overlaid effects.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yYcntQ6CGEQ?wmode=transparent" width="656" height="412"></iframe></p> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, which have been created to drive sales more than anything else, this is a nice example of a retailer using AR to connect and engage with consumers. It offers kids (and parents) something of real value, which in turn is likely to help the brand forge strong relationships with those that use it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9233/Bic.JPG" alt="" width="481" height="378"></p> <h3>Lowe’s</h3> <p>Finally, two new apps using Apple’s new ARkit technology from home improvement retailer Lowe’s, both including new and innovative features.</p> <p>The first, Measured by Lowe’s, acts as a virtual tape measure that enables users to take real life measurements of walls, sofas or other household furniture via their smartphone camera. Interestingly, it can also extend to areas outside of the home, for instance letting you measure your height or an area in a field.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPJMxeBVlhI?wmode=transparent" width="695" height="391"></iframe></p> <p>The second, Envisioned by Mine, is similar to Ikea Place and a much more comprehensive shopping app for TheMine.com – Lowe’s high-end online furniture store. It allows users to place to-scale 3D versions of furniture in their rooms, and again, re-position or modify to see how it might fit in real life.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9234/Lowes.JPG" alt="" width="290" height="520"></p> <p>Will either take off? Envisioned by Mine sounds fun, but I actually think ‘Measured’ might hold greater appeal – and this is because AR apps tend to succeed when they are able to solve a specific problem. </p> <p>While people might turn to IKEA for AR-driven interior inspiration, Lowe’s cleverly taps into the common problem of measurement, essentially allowing it to become an everyday tool for people involved in home improvement, as well as those who aren't but who happen to find themselves without a measuring tape.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69374-star-wars-uses-ar-experiential-campaign-to-drive-people-in-store" target="_blank">Star Wars uses AR experiential campaign to drive people in-store</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality" target="_blank">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67713-augmented-reality-vs-virtual-reality-where-should-brands-focus" target="_blank">Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality: where should brands focus?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69403 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 Four ways travel brands can improve the customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently attended an event held by the DMA, where the topic of the day was how to increase levels of engagement and loyalty in the travel industry. Drawing on DMA’s research, here’s a summary of some key points to consider.</p> <h3>The gap between expectation and delivery</h3> <p>The <a href="https://dma.org.uk/research/customer-engagement-focus-on-travel" target="_blank">DMA’s new report</a> is based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, with questions relating to the categories of travel accommodation, airlines, and price comparison sites.</p> <p>The first major finding cited by the event’s chairman, Scott Logie, was that consumers are more demanding. This is hardly surprising (and certainly not specific to travel), but he went on to suggest that there is still a huge gap between customer expectation and delivery.</p> <p>Essentially, travel brands are meeting customer demands to an extent, but with expectations of service and value rising so rapidly – it is difficult to keep up. Scott used the ‘razor blade’ metaphor to explain this, highlighting how consumers don’t necessarily need or expect multiple blades on a razor, but once one brand adds another, the only option for competitors is to beat it.</p> <p>That being said, the DMA found that functional features are the most important to consumers when choosing travel brands – 59% want value for money, 58% want convenience, and 58% want good customer service.</p> <p>Ultimately, this shows that operating honestly is a default expectation for consumers, not something they view as a selling point.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8789/Chart_9.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="546"></p> <h3>Brands offering greater value </h3> <p>So, which travel brands are delivering value? Here are a few examples of customer-centric brands and how they’re engaging consumers.</p> <p>US hotel chain Aloft has launched the world’s first emoji-powered room service. Called TiGi (which stands for ‘text it, get it’), it allows guests to choose between six packages, including ones specifically designed for a hangover or a day of sightseeing. Taking service to another level, it’s a good example of a brand meeting customer needs in a seamless and personalised way.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lazy to call? Just text us with emojis from our special <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AloftTiGi?src=hash">#AloftTiGi</a> menu. It's our pleasure to serve you :) <a href="https://t.co/5BneeLKP68">pic.twitter.com/5BneeLKP68</a></p> — Aloft Bangkok (@AloftBangkok) <a href="https://twitter.com/AloftBangkok/status/749482814312153089">July 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>SeatFrog aims to increase visibility around the upgrade process, allowing customers to bid in an auction for a seat upgrade.</p> <p>As well as using technology to enhance the travel experience, it also takes away the sometimes random nature of the airline experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8790/seatfrog.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="397"></p> <p>Another brand to use transparency is Delta, which was the first airline to visibly map out luggage journeys. The Fly Delta mobile app now allows travellers to see their bag’s last scanned location, helping to dispel a common source of travel stress – the dreaded lost luggage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8784/Delta.JPG" alt="" width="265" height="477"></p> <p>These examples show how brands can make the shift from meeting purely functional needs to creating long-lasting and deeper relationships with consumers. </p> <p>Of course, there is still a long way to go, with one of the biggest barriers to achieving this being trust. Scott suggested that highly transactional, tech-driven services can take away much-need warmth from travel brands. The DMA's research mirrors this, with around 50% of consumers saying they have some level of trust in brands. However, this falls to just 12% of people who say they trust a brand ‘very much’.</p> <h3>Brands driving loyalty</h3> <p>53% of consumers said that good service would keep them loyal to a hotel brand, even if they could get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Meanwhile, 40% said good deals and 39% said a rewards scheme would result in greater loyalty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8788/chart_10.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="512"></p> <p>This shows that long-term loyalty is possible for travel brands, but the key to achieving it is delivering a service that takes into account the individual’s needs. So while personalisation is somewhat of a buzzword at the moment, it’s certainly something that consumers value.</p> <p>This is reflected in the reasons certain brands are favoured by consumers. The second-most favourite, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68505-a-closer-look-at-booking-com-s-customer-focused-strategy/" target="_blank">Booking.com</a>, was chosen because of its ability to personalise and tailor offers based on previous behaviour. Similarly, the biggest factor cited for British Airways was its superior rewards scheme.</p> <p>Outside of these, there are a few standout examples of brands succeeding when it comes to loyalty.</p> <p>Hilton and its Hilton Honours Program is particularly good, mainly because it allows consumers to make use of points in situations unrelated to the brand. Members can use them in restaurants and in shops, and even pool points to share with family and friends.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/HiltonHotels">@HiltonHotels</a> for the care package to recognize Lifetime Diamond status. Loyalty pays off and I appreciate it!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hilton?src=hash">#Hilton</a> <a href="https://t.co/G5vCgh5apq">pic.twitter.com/G5vCgh5apq</a></p> — Jason Robertson (@robertson_jr3) <a href="https://twitter.com/robertson_jr3/status/887280659030519808">July 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Marriott is another hotel chain that is similarly innovative, this time using a beacon-driven loyalty scheme to allow people to earn rewards based on where they are. </p> <h3>New channels and technologies</h3> <p>Another way for travel brands to increase customer engagement is by meeting real-time demands based on various points in the customer’s journey.</p> <p>When it comes to the inspiration stage, where travellers are researching where to go and what to see, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66614-will-virtual-reality-revolutionise-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">virtual reality</a> offers huge potential. The DMA found that 50% of consumers are interested in using a VR headset to see what a destination might look like in advance. Unsurprisingly, interest in VR is even higher among younger consumers. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8786/VR.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="518"></p> <p>Moving on to the booking process, and this is where <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots">chatbots</a> can help make the experience much more seamless. 52% of consumers say they’d use a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots" target="_blank">chatbot</a> to ask flight-related queries, while 38% say they’d be open to booking flights via a chatbot. This shows the demand for services that can be accessed in a native social environment, where consumers are already spending much of their time.</p> <p>The travel-phase is where data-sharing comes into play once again. However, this is an area which still poses a big barrier for brands. While 51% of consumers say they’d be happy to share their data in exchange for alerts, this is only once they realise what they'll get in return.</p> <p>In his summary of the research, Scott emphasised the importance of showing consumers the value of data-sharing. This is because while the appetite for personalisation is certainly there, concerns about privacy and misuse of data can often outweigh desire.  </p> <p>Finally, augmented reality presents a big opportunity for brands during the holiday phase. 45% of consumers say they’d be interested in using AR to find out informative facts about sites of interest.</p> <p>Carnival Cruises is already using this type of in-the-moment personalisation. Its cruise wristbands send tailored offers and recommendations to guests both on-board and off, based on where they are and what they’re interacting with during their trip.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8787/Carnival_Cruise_Line.JPG" alt="" width="548" height="308"></p> <h3>Key takeaways</h3> <p>So, let’s sum up some key takeaways.</p> <ol> <li>Consumers prioritise pragmatic needs, such as honesty, authenticity, value, and good service. Brands that do not meet these expectations (or view them as standard) run the risk of losing trust.</li> <li>Customer-centric brands create deeper relationships. Offering something of value (on top of the expected) can be the key to generating longer-term loyalty. </li> <li>Transparency is key when it comes to data-sharing. Personalisation can help to improve the customer experience, so it is important to communicate this value-exchange clearly with consumers.</li> <li>In-the-moment technology can take brands to the next level. VR, AR, and chatbots can enhance and improve the travel journey, engaging consumers when it matters most.   </li> </ol> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69127-how-hotels-are-upping-the-fight-against-online-travel-agencies">How hotels are upping the fight against online travel agencies</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69405 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 Three ways the iPhone X will change CX in travel & tourism Tom Dibble <p>As has been the pattern in the past, the ripple effect from Apple advancements reach just about every industry, including travel and hospitality.</p> <p>Here are three ways the iPhone X will change travel forever.</p> <h3>Augmented reality (AR) will become mainstream</h3> <p>Augmented reality – the ability to view and interact with virtual items overlaid in the real world on screen – is about to go mainstream.</p> <p>The iPhone X, along with the forthcoming <a href="https://www.apple.com/iphone-8/" target="_blank">iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus</a>, are the first iPhone devices specifically designed for AR. Earlier this year, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69388-ar-is-on-the-brink-of-a-breakout-thanks-to-new-platforms-from-google-apple">Apple unveiled ARKit</a>, a new framework that allows developers to design AR apps for iOS 11, the operating system update available on September 19.</p> <p>As a result, iOS will be the largest AR-capable platform in the world.</p> <p>With AR capabilities soon in the hands of hundreds of millions of travelers, hospitality innovators will introduce new ways to offer guests property information, assistance and location-specific content on demand.</p> <p>From the way hotel <a href="https://youtu.be/JgOGADMJWIg" target="_blank">restaurants display their menu</a>, to real-time language translation of signage, to wayfinding, to AR-guided tours of property gardens and grounds, the potential for enhancing the guest experience is virtually limitless.</p> <h3>Facial recognition will hit hotels </h3> <p>The iPhone X offers Face ID, facial recognition technology made possible because of its TrueDepth camera system. </p> <p>In the way Touch ID evolved how iPhone users interact with their device in a secure manner, Face ID takes authentication to the next level. While the advancements will simplify and expedite how we take selfies and unlock our device, they’ll also update how hoteliers interact with guests.</p> <p>Face ID works not only with Apple Pay, but with third-party apps, which will enable new user experiences between travelers and tech-forward hospitality brands. Hotels will integrate facial recognition into their own proprietary apps, changing the way guests make reservations, access their room, authenticate payments at outlets, even check in and check out.</p> <h3>Mobile engagement will surge</h3> <p>Travelers are already using their mobile devices to research, book, document and rate their hotel experience en masse. The iPhone is already <a href="https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/20/iphone-ownership-all-time-high-us/" target="_blank">the most popular smartphone in the world</a>.</p> <p>With the release of the new iPhone models, analysts are expecting record-shattering sales, with some suggesting that Apple may see as many as 241.5 million iPhone shipments in the 12 months following the iPhone 8 launch.</p> <p>The new devices boast a higher water resistance rating than predecessors (perfect for poolside, waterslides and beach outings), an improved camera (more, better selfies and social sharing), wireless charging capabilities and a longer battery life for the all-day/all-night adventurer.</p> <p>With new phones come new apps that take advantage of advancements in technology. The forthcoming swell of innovative applications, and subsequent mobile engagement, will offer fresh ways for brands to interact with travelers on a level unlike we’ve ever seen.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-digital-trends-and-developments/"><em>Travel - Digital Trends and Developments Report</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69414-four-big-digital-trends-impacting-travel-tourism-marketing"><em>Four big digital trends impacting travel &amp; tourism marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience"><em>How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/"><em>The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69406 2017-09-11T10:20:53+01:00 2017-09-11T10:20:53+01:00 A day in the life of... MD of an augmented reality company Ben Davis <p>Before we get stuck in, remember if you've got itchy feet yourself, you could do worse than checking out all the digital marketing and ecommerce jobs listed over on the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a>.</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em><strong>Richard Corps:</strong></em> I am the managing director and co-founder of Ads Reality. We help brands and retailers to engage with their customers through augmented reality (AR).</p> <p>As the MD, I oversee all elements of the company particularly the commercial side of the business as well as the day to day activities across our different teams; making sure that our customers are getting the best experiences and commercial results from using our AR solution.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> We are owned by the high-street retailer, GAME, but we operate as a separate business unit and I report directly to GAME’s CEO. My role is to provide regular business updates to the CEO and Board, including Ads Reality’s P&amp;L, how our customers and prospects are reacting to our technology, future technologies and the product roadmap.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/202733109" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p><em>The Ads Reality showreel</em></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> In my role I have to be able to communicate and motivate; inspiring my colleagues. Quite often I work closely with the team to ensure the campaigns we are running for our customers are of the highest quality and also to maximise their return on investment. It is a balance between delivering current projects plus working with the R&amp;D team on the future roadmap to ensure we stay ahead of our competitors.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Tell us about a typical working day… </h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> My daily routine varies immensely as we have offices at GAME HQ in Basingstoke, our development centre in Luton and R&amp;D based in India. So, I am travelling quite a bit around the UK and I am still heavily involved in our international expansion which includes visits to Dubai, the US and Mexico.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> I love the variety of my days but most of all getting stuck into new business, which is where my heart lies. Alongside this, sitting with the CTO and coming up with the latest and greatest products. I hate getting stuck on the M25 as I travel to Luton and I am not a big fan of meetings, which seem to have increased recently!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8817/rich_corps.jpg" alt="richard corps" width="300"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h4> <p><strong><em>RC:</em></strong> I still see Ads Reality as my baby and I want to see it grow to become one of the leading AR companies across retail/brands. Ultimately, I measure success by profitability but company awareness, an innovative product roadmap and a happy team are also great measures of success.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> As long as I have my Mac and iPhone I can work anywhere. To show off our technology, which is very visual, I am always armed with our AR-enabled business card and company AR temporary tattoo!!</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How did you get into AR, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> I was approached by two colleagues five years ago as I knew a lot of retailers and together we started applying AR within this sector. We ran <a href="http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111143/Tesco-trials-in-store-and-online-augmented-reality-tech">the first multi-channel AR retail campaign</a> globally with Tesco… which was so successful they had to add a link to their homepage as so many people were trying to find and play with our AR tech.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Which brands do you think are using AR well?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> There is a lot of talk around <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69388-ar-is-on-the-brink-of-a-breakout-thanks-to-new-platforms-from-google-apple">Apple and Google becoming the main players in the AR space</a>, however the brands that see the ROI opportunities that AR brings, not just the ‘cool tech’, are the ones that will really drive success from this technology.</p> <p>L’Oréal is a good example of a brand that has successfully used AR to engage with its customers. The cosmetic powerhouse recently launched its <a href="http://www.lorealprofessionnel.co.uk/hair-looks/style-my-hair">“Style My Hair” AR app</a> that allows customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colours and explore new looks before they visit a salon.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8819/Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_08.51.13.png" alt="loreal style my hair" width="615" height="380"></p> <p><em>Style My Hair web app</em></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you have any advice for people who want to work in AR?</h4> <p><em><strong>RC:</strong></em> Firstly, you need to see and believe in the differences that immersive technology can bring to people and businesses. Anybody who is keen to work in AR should be looking to get involved now as we’re at such an exciting stage in this industry, with hybrid concepts such as Mixed Reality starting to take off.</p> <p>Get talking to other AR professionals and any shows you can attend to see the tech at work – this should help you to make a decision on immersive tech as a career. But I’d really recommend it!</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69388 2017-08-31T15:00:00+01:00 2017-08-31T15:00:00+01:00 AR is on the brink of a breakout thanks to new platforms from Google & Apple Patricio Robles <p>ARCore is based on Google's Tango technology, which the search giant has been working on since 2014. Tango had a huge limitation, however, that was always realistically going to hinder its adoption: the Tango technology needed special hardware to work.</p> <p>Unlike Tango, ARCore doesn't require special hardware support, so apps developed using ARCore will work with all Android devices running Android version 7.0 Nougat and above. Google says it aims to have 100m Android devices that support ARCore by the time its preview of the platform ends.</p> <h3>So what does ARCore offer?</h3> <p>According to Google, ARCore's capabilities focus on three areas: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Motion tracking.</strong> A compelling AR experience demands that virtual objects remain placed where they're expected to be. ARCore uses a phone's camera and sensor data to track the position and orientation of the phone as it moves.</li> <li> <strong>Environmental understanding.</strong> As Google explained, "It's common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. ARCore can detect horizontal surfaces using the same feature points it uses for motion tracking."</li> <li> <strong>Light estimation.</strong> To provide for a more realistic AR experience, ARCore is capable of tracking ambient light and allowing developers to shade their virtual objects so that they look more realistic.</li> </ul> <p>Combined, ARCore makes it possible for developers to create innovative AR experiences that are smooth, realistic and that function with a high level of performance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8625/ARCore_Tinman.gif" alt="" width="448" height="252"></p> <h3>A new battlefront in the war against Apple for mobile supremacy</h3> <p>ARCore is Google's answer to Apple's ARKit, which <a href="https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/ios-11-brings-new-features-to-iphone-and-ipad-this-fall/">was unveiled</a> in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Prominent tech investor Gene Munster <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/05/gene-munster-apple-arkit-most-revolutionary-thing-from-wwdc.html">called it</a> the most "revolutionary" announcement at the conference and it's not hard to understand why.</p> <p>Like Google's ARCore, ARKit enables developers to build advanced augmented reality applications that place virtual content "on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more."</p> <p>When announced, Apple boasted that ARKit offers developers the "latest computer vision technologies" and that once iOS 11 is rolled out it will have the "the biggest AR platform in the world" consisting of hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad devices.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, developers were eager to start building AR experiences based on ARKit and as TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/29/a-preview-of-the-first-wave-of-ar-apps-coming-to-iphones/">detailed</a>, major brands are among those embracing the platform. For example, IKEA, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63574-augmented-reality-the-ikea-catalogue-and-beyond">which is no stranger to AR</a>, in seven weeks used ARKit to build a new AR feature for its iOS catalog app. This feature will allow shoppers to visualize what items would look like in their homes.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qQZIzbuymrw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Publisher Touch Press took advantage of ARKit to build an AR experience around the popular children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Because it was designed for young children, Touch Press had to be thoughtful about how it allows users to control the interactivity. Panzarino explained:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Very Hungry Caterpillar's control methodology was based on focus. The act of pointing at an object and leaving your gaze on it caused the story to progress and actions to be taken (knocking fruit out of a tree for the caterpillar to munch on or encouraging it to go to sleep on a stump). Most of the other apps relied on something as simple as a single tap for most actions. I think this control-free or control-light paradigm will be widespread. It will require some rethinking for many apps being translated.</p> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, while Google and Apple are obviously fighting for AR supremacy, Google clearly recognizes that the iOS ecosystem is important. In its AR announcement, the company stated "we think the Web will be a critical component of the future of AR." To that end, it plans to release prototype web browsers for developers that will enable them to create "AR-enhanced websites and run them on both Android/ARCore and iOS/ARKit."</p> <h3>AR's breakout</h3> <p>Companies have been experimenting with AR for years and thanks to the breakout success of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality">Pokemon Go</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69374-star-wars-uses-ar-experiential-campaign-to-drive-people-in-store/">brands like Disney</a> are increasingly feeling comfortable enough to develop large campaigns around AR.</p> <p>With Google and Apple, the makers of the two most popular mobile operating systems, now offering AR platforms on which companies can build robust, high-performing AR apps for the masses, it seems safe to declare that it's no longer a matter of if AR will achieve mainstream ubiquity but when.</p> <p>In other words, thanks to ARCore and ARKit, it's likely that AR will be incorporated into apps across a wide variety of categories, not just games, within the next year. As such, brands would be wise to get ahead of the curve now and start taking AR seriously if they're not doing so already.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69374 2017-08-29T15:00:00+01:00 2017-08-29T15:00:00+01:00 Star Wars uses AR experiential campaign to drive people in-store Patricio Robles <p>The Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful ever in the history of movies and today, the success of the franchise actually depends more on merchandise sales than ticket sales. Last year, Star Wars generated more than $5bn in merchandise sales and was the leading driver behind a 4.4% increase in total licensed merchandise sales, a now-$260bn a year business.</p> <p>It therefore goes without saying that a big part of the success of <em>Star Wars: The Last Jedi</em> will depend on merchandise sales. But with the retail industry fighting for life, Disney faces a new challenge: making sure Star Wars fans go to the store. After all, while merchandise will be available online, the company simply can't shun offline merchandise sales.</p> <p>So Disney has decided to take a page from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality">Pokémon Go</a> playbook in an effort to get Star Wars fans into stores where it hopes they will buy merchandise. The entertainment giant is adding an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67713-augmented-reality-vs-virtual-reality-where-should-brands-focus">augmented reality</a> treasure hunt to its Star Wars iOS and Android apps. As detailed in <a href="http://www.starwars.com/news/announcing-force-friday-iis-find-the-force-ar-event">an announcement</a> on the Star Wars website:</p> <blockquote> <p>From September 1-3, retailers around the world will invite fans to Find the Force by taking part in an AR treasure hunt. Here's how it works: first, download the Star Wars app, which is your one-stop-shop for all things Star Wars (those who already have the app will need to download the latest version). Then, visit any one of 20,000 participating retail locations to find a graphic that contains the Find the Force logo. When you scan the graphic using the Star Wars app, you'll reveal a character, who through AR, will appear in the room with you. </p> </blockquote> <p>In total, there are 15 characters and Star Wars fans are being encouraged to go to participating locations all three days of the treasure hunt as new characters will be unveiled each day. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y0DuA0ERkTA?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Retailers in 30 countries are participating in Find the Force. In the United States, participating retailers include Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, Best Buy and Kohl's. In the UK, retailers include Smyths, John Lewis and HMV.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the Find the Force experience has been designed to be social media-friendly. The Star Wars app will allow users to take photos and record videos and then share them on social media using the hashtags #ForceFriday and #FindtheForce. Clearly, if Disney has its way, Find the Force will go viral and Star Wars fans won't be able to resist coming out of their houses and heading down to retail locations to get involved.</p> <h3>Not just a cool campaign, but a necessity?</h3> <p>On paper, Find the Force looks to be an innovative experiential marketing program that will test the longevity of the Pokémon Go concept, but it's also worth considering that it is also a demonstration of the fact that brands increasingly have no choice but to create bigger and bolder campaigns to capture attention, even for brand assets that have historically had a strong built-in fan base.</p> <p>This is particularly true when it comes to driving foot traffic, as the challenging retail market means that even Disney can't expect fans of one of its most popular franchises to go to stores and buy merchandise without a greater effort at engagement.</p> <p>As the New York Times' Brooks Barnes <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/business/media/to-get-people-in-stores-disney-offers-star-wars-treasure-hunt.html">observed</a>, "The effort illustrates what it now takes to generate excitement at traditional retail outlets, many of which have been struggling as online shopping continues to soar."</p> <p>The big question: will Find the Force actually work at driving foot traffic and will that foot traffic deliver merchandise sales?</p> <p>We will soon find out, but one thing is already abundantly clear: changing consumer shopping habits, particularly among Millennials and teenagers, have left even the most powerful brands without a formula to get consumers to go where they want them to go and they will increasingly have to look to new technologies like AR and trends like Pokémon Go for inspiration.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69124 2017-05-31T10:15:00+01:00 2017-05-31T10:15:00+01:00 The best social stories and campaigns from May 2017 Nikki Gilliland <p>Subscribers can also download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-quarterly-q2-2017/" target="_blank">Social Quarterly Q2</a> for a more in-depth look at all the social media news from the past few months.</p> <h3>Instagram launches face filters</h3> <p>First up is the introduction of augmented reality face filters into Instagram’s Stories platform. </p> <p>Hot on the heels of other Snapchat-style features like slideshows and disappearing messages, the eight face filters allow users to jazz up standard selfies with koala ears, nerdy glasses, and butterfly crowns.</p> <p>Despite the almost-identical nature, early reviews suggest that Instagram’s effort isn’t quite as slick as Snapchat’s, with the filters failing to track user movements quite so well.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6424/Instagram_face_filters.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="398"></p> <h3>#Nuggsforcarter sets Twitter record</h3> <p>Early in May, a chap named Carter stole Ellen DeGeneres’ crown for the most-retweeted Twitter post of all time – all in aid of his one-man crusade for chicken nuggets. </p> <p>Carter asked Wendy’s how many retweets he would need to win a year’s supply of nuggs, and while he failed to hit the fast food chain’s target of 18m, he still managed to beat DeGeneres’ former record with a total of 3,632,995 retweets to date. </p> <p>Wendy’s has also given into his request for nuggets every day for a year (probably much to the dismay of his doctor).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS <a href="https://t.co/4SrfHmEMo3">pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3</a></p> — Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) <a href="https://twitter.com/carterjwm/status/849813577770778624">April 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Snapchat’s growth rate disappoints</h3> <p>May saw Snapchat announce its first earnings report since its public IPO. The results were rather disappointing, as the platform reported 166m daily active users in the latest quarter, with a growth rate of just 5%. Its year-on-year growth rate also fell to 36% – down from 48% in Q4. </p> <p>Despite a slump in its growth, Snapchat did report positive earnings of $4.5m from its Spectacles and ‘other revenues’ in Q4 2016. </p> <h3>Dove’s personalised bottles</h3> <p>Dove is usually known for its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68127-a-closer-look-at-dove-s-anti-sexism-mybeautymysay-campaign/" target="_blank">positive and empowering</a> campaigns, but its latest ‘Real Beauty’ initiative turned out to be disappointingly patronising.</p> <p>The Unilever brand decided it would be a good idea to create limited edition bottles of its body wash, using six different shapes to represent the diversity of women’s bodies. We say no more.</p> <p>On the plus side, the campaign resulted in some genius tweets.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">thanks dove but i already found a bottle for my shape <a href="https://t.co/asuo1vci0O">pic.twitter.com/asuo1vci0O</a></p> — Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) <a href="https://twitter.com/carinahsieh/status/861652635727908864">May 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Sweden lists its whole country on Airbnb</h3> <p>It’s not often a country invites you to stay in it for free, but that’s exactly what Sweden has done with its recent collaboration with Airbnb.</p> <p>In celebration of the ‘Allemansrätten' principle – a law that allows people to roam freely in nature – VisitSweden listed itself on the accommodation site in order to raise awareness of the country’s rugged natural beauty and freedom.</p> <p>You can read more about why the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69109-why-visit-sweden-and-other-tourism-boards-are-teaming-up-with-airbnb/" target="_blank">tourism board partnered with Airbnb here</a>.</p> <h3>Evian babies take over Snapchat</h3> <p>The end of the month saw the return of the Evian babies, with the ‘Live Young’ campaign this time transferring from television screens to digital, out-of-home, and social media channels.</p> <p>The campaign shows the babies wearing oversized grown-up clothes, encouraging adults to remain young at heart. It also includes a Snapchat filter which is set to launch in the next few weeks, but that is already available via a Snapcode on millions of Evian bottles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6422/Evian_babies.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="561"></p> <h3>#StatusOfMind report reveals best and worst platforms for mental health</h3> <p>Also this month, The Royal Society for Public Health published a survey on the impact social media channels has on young people's mental health.</p> <p>The results suggest that Instagram has the worst impact, with respondents reporting a negative influence on body image, loneliness, and fear-of-missing-out. In contrast, YouTube was rated the best, ranking highly for its sense of community and access to emotional support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6421/Mental_health_report.JPG" alt="" width="770" height="135"></p> <h3>Walkers Crisps campaign backfires</h3> <p>Finally, a spectacular Twitter fail to end the month, as Walkers Crisps inadvertently featured the faces of notorious criminals in its latest campaign.</p> <p>For the chance to win Champions League Final tickets, users were asked to tweet selfies to be shown in an animated video featuring ex-footballer Gary Lineker. </p> <p>As well as blindly trusting football fans, the brand also made the rookie mistake of automating the competition, meaning that the faces of criminals including Fred West and Rolf Harris appeared in public tweets. </p> <p>Cue a hell of a lot of guffawing on social media.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">There's Gary Lineker with Joseph Stalin. Well done, Walkers. Well done. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalkersWave?src=hash">#WalkersWave</a> <a href="https://t.co/7jwMogLOdh">pic.twitter.com/7jwMogLOdh</a></p> — Ben (@Jamin2g) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jamin2g/status/867766729937735680">May 25, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><strong><em>To learn more on this topic, book yourself on to one of our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/">social media training courses</a>.</em></strong></p>