Right now our “new normal” is virtual meetings, teleconferences, and online communications. We are all, understandably, trying to navigate the short-term impact of Coronavirus safety measures.
As strange as it may feel right now, it’s important to plan for what comes after we get through this, and the next “new normal” emerges. For businesses that rely on trade shows and in-person equipment demos to get their product in front of customers, that could mean adapting to a world where people are unable or unwilling to travel, or one where trade show budgets still aren’t there.
As CI Design’s CEO and Executive Creative Director Jim Taugher explains, “Live streaming and remote audience participation with presenters will be the new trade event. I don't suggest that the conference model won't return, but it will be forever changed by this disruption. Employing alternate ways to enhance customer experience and imagination from wherever the user is will be extremely important.”
Having an augmented reality (AR) solution that works on tablets and mobile devices ready to go could put you ahead of the curve, and keep you there for the long term.
Augmented reality: It’s real and it’s spectacularly useful
If you’ve played PokémonGo or used an app from a furniture store like Ikea to figure out what couch works best in your place, you’ve used augmented reality. It’s a useful tool for consumer brands, and those in the B2B space. In fact, CI Design has been developing AR solutions for our B2B clients for about 6 years now. And, just like the AR apps you might have used for fun, the apps we’ve developed for B2B clients are designed to be used on the same tablets or mobile devices you’re already using (that means no investing in extra, awkward equipment).
The AR tools we’ve developed for clients range from sales enablement apps to enhanced trade show booth spaces (that then became part of a sales enablement arsenal).
One of our favorite examples is a sales enablement app that saved more than $30k per trade show (you read that right) for a client because it allowed them to show their new equipment without shipping it, setting it up, tearing it down, and doing it all over again.
“That AR experience extended long after trade show season was over,” according to Jim. “They had an easily accessible tool their sales team could use on tablets or mobile devices whenever they needed to share product details with customers.”
AR adapts with your product line
Augmented reality apps and experiences help put your product in front of your customers remotely. And, when it’s time to add product options or additional items in your product line, it’s relatively easy to update your existing AR app vs. needing to build a brand new one from scratch to accommodate your new needs.
The product configuration app CID developed for Bradley Corporation lets contractors see all of their sink options via the app. When Bradley introduces a new finish option, for example, we work with them to include it in the app through an update.
Time is on your side
Investing in a new app now in the middle of all the uncertainty we are living through might seem a little counterintuitive. We totally get it. But one thing to keep in mind is that staying the course as best you can now as far as your marketing efforts go will help you in the long run.
Taking this time to plan ahead for when we start working toward recovering from this enormous disruption means you won’t have to scramble for solutions. You’ll be ready to go. And, since AR tends to need a bit of time to create, develop, and test — in some cases as long as 6 months — now is in some ways the perfect time to do that.
Get in touch with CID to learn more about making AR part of your sales solution in the time of social distancing.
We’re all in this together. The best thing we can do is take precautionary steps to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, follow guidelines set by your local health officials, and stay home if you’re feeling sick.
Be extra kind to retail and service workers, and, if you are able, consider making monetary donations to your favorite local food banks, shelters, or other organizations that serve vulnerable individuals.