When we contacted ALLO to discuss our future AR app, they asked one strange question “Did you watch Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets?” Admit it, it’s an unexpected plot twist for a serious B2B meeting.
And then I recalled the Big Market pictured in that film. A gigantic, almost infinite mall from another dimension with instant access to billions of products. To get into that virtual environment, shoppers had to put on VR glasses. The whole concept looked like the ultimate virtual reality shopping, the one all consumers were dreaming about.
Creating an AR app for marketing appliances was challenging but we’ve decided to do it to enhance the shopping experience for millions of consumers.
ALLO’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE
So ALLO decided to increase the product assortment with some heavy and bulky appliances, such as refrigerators, microwaves, laptops, boilers, vacuum cleaners, multicookers.
CIO director of ALLO, Constantin Avilov, commented on the challenges and solutions for the company:
“The main challenge of this project was to provide our customers with the access to ALL the household appliances of ALLO, some of which we are not able to sell in physical stores. Unfortunately, we can’t demonstrate these products in our 100 square meters stores. A virtual shop turned out to be the best solution to the problem. We embraced the possibility to open 100000 of stores at the same time and make shopping really comfortable for our customers.
Any e-commerce store is basically a huge collection of photos with products’ description. That’s all. But that’s obviously not enough for modern shoppers who demand more. Our virtual store is the possibility to see all household appliances as if they were real.
Customers can check how these appliances look from outside and the inside. It seems the market needed such an innovation for a long time. And we are more than excited to be the leaders in implementing this technology.
We were inspired by Pokemon Go, its popularity, and simplicity. Yet we’ve managed to create exceptionally realistic 3D models with the maximum number of details, and that what makes us stand out from the crowd. Besides, another challenge for us was lack serious expertise of users. Most users are not geeks, that’s obvious, and they ask for simple solutions.
More than that, it turned out that a virtual reality shop for appliances is the possibility to implement in life two core principles of ALLO. The company aims to provide customers with the large variety of choices and fast and comfortable products’ delivery.
Augmented reality apps development brought the company closer to these goals achievement.
Above that, ALLO aims to create the WOW effect and personal approach to a customer. Well, vacuum cleaners that appear from some hyper-dimensional portal in a virtual reality store are what I would call the WOW effect.
BENEFITS OF AR FOR RETAILERS
According to a recent issue of Harvard Business Review, retail will invest in AR the most in the next few years because AR solves 3 main reasons for retailers:
1. Retail space optimization is not a whim it’s a necessity for the majority of modern businesses. As you know, 2017 was the toughest for retail because of a record number of store closings. In other words, shoppers showed that they want to buy and sell online. Virtual space can be the most effective solution for retailers in this sense.
2. Improved level visualization. Any AR app is more eloquent than dozens of pictures and boring stories. We’ve managed to create the most realistic 3D models of appliances imaginable making them for 100%.
3. Advertising with the help of AR is a one shot one hit strategy. People react emotionally to such things as AR animations, and that’s the most effective approach to advertising. Besides, if you tried our AR app, you might have noticed that there are banners hanging on the walls in it.
Some customers think these are TV screens, others notice that these are banners. But it doesn’t change the essence: it’s low – pressure advertising. And it’s working.
It looks like the cooperation between our AR development company this AR app and ALLO helped to hit 3 targets at the same time.
NEW ERA OF SHOPPING
But the most interesting thing is that this AR app for ALLO marks the beginning of a new era. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to go beyond the limits of time and space and open as many shops as they can only imagine. Just think about it, due to the unlimited virtual environment, businesses can locate as many products as they want in virtual shops.
Augmented reality apps development is profitable for retailers because it increases sales (more access to your goods at any time of the day) and reduces costs at the same time. No doubt that a virtual reality store is an excellent tool for saving costs: no need to hire employees, no need to pay a rent. If you open a physical store, you will have to manage its work 24/7. A virtual shop is a separate dimension which WORKS even when you’re sleeping. Of course, the software requires support but it’s more affordable compared to the physical store maintenance.
THE FORMULA FOR RETAILERS
Reduce costs + increase sales= virtual reality shop.
It seems to me that the paradise of a retailer might look this way. No wonder, augmented reality shopping has become “the thing” among big businesses recently. IKEA, TopShop, Timberland, L’Oreal, Lego, Starbucks, Gap compete with each other trying to find the most innovative and creative way to use AR ap for marketing.
ALLO grasped this opportunity immediately. Moving all those fridges and washing machines into comfortable and cozy shops was always challenging for the company. It’s impossible to sell all the goods in brick and mortar stores because space is limited but in a virtual reality shop, you can sell all your products. So now we have an augmented reality app for shopping for iPhone which serves as a “gateway” to a virtual reality shop. It’s possible to say that it’s a shop within the shop. Today there are several dozens of models but their number will increase up to several hundred or even thousands with time. In the future, the product line of this virtual shop will be similar to the assortment of the biggest appliances’ hypermarkets. This virtual shop will serve as a warehouse of physical products with one clear difference: it will as infinite as the Cosmos itself.
Instant delivery is probably the only thing that ALLO’s virtual reality shop is missing at the moment. Yet customers can click, pay, and by being inside the virtual app. And goods will be delivered to their doorstep in a couple of days. What is the most important is that these goods will look 100% like virtual models?
A GREENFIELD PROJECT IN TERMS OF 3D RENDERING
When we tackled this task we didn’t have any ground so to say. Amazon, for instance, created their 3D models of appliances using photogrammetry. We created them from scratch, the blank space, and, more than that, we’ve made them identical to real models in terms of size and look.
It was crucial to preserve the smallest details and natural colors of all the models so users would not test their imagination skills.
Experimenting with materials, textures, and layouts, we’ve succeeded in creation of insanely realistic models which, at the same time, don’t make this app too heavy. It’s clear that customers are getting more and more demanding to online shopping that’s why it was crucial to make them “want to touch” those appliances. After all, when you choose a washing machine, you understand that it will be in your apartment for years. It must fit your interior design and you should simply like it. You know, shoppers set high standards for augmented reality apps shopping today after Ikea’s and L’Oreal’s apps. Customers drive the market, not vice versa.
Take this washing machine, for instance, it is pretty much the same washing machine that will be delivered to you when you order it.
HOW DID WE DO IT?
ARKit was the obvious choice, the most innovative software for AR creation from Apple. This platform revolutionized the whole approach to AR: it made it accessible, easy to use, and absolutely logical. Apart from that, ARKit presented bright realistic 3D models that match the real-world lighting.
But the most important is that this AR app for shopping was built with shoppers on our mind who are the most valuable players in this game, and it was crucial to improving their experience.
Recall it, shoppers were skeptical about e-commerce when it all started but now, when they have access to photos, reviews, and full products’ descriptions, they choose online shopping more often. Online shopping is something that gives them the freedom to buy anytime from any place. With this AR app for shopping, we relieve their major pain from disappointment “It looked different when I ordered it!”
For shoppers buying EXACTLY THE SAME products means trust. With this AR app retailers are saying something like: “You won’t believe it but you can choose the products you’ve never seen in the real world. But when they are delivered to your doorstep, you will realize that they look the way you imagined them.” That’s how seeing becomes believing.
Besides, you can be surprised but a lot of people love shopping at night. And often you don’t have a chance to choose the product you want late at night for instance. Unless you shop in a virtual reality store. That’s one of the perks of online shopping as well.
More than that, we’ve made this AR app for shopping interactive: shoppers can look at vacuum cleaners and laptops from different angles. They can open fridges to look inside and estimate if there is enough space for their favorite pizza.
Interaction with virtual objects is another “must be” for e-commerce because shoppers don’t want to be passive consumers anymore.
2017 was the toughest year for brick-and-mortar stores according to CNN with a record number of closings. Shoppers showed that they want to buy online, and that’s how Jeff Bezos became the richest man on the planet.
E-commerce stores offer customers the same things physical stores can offer plus a bit more. They offer them this elusive WOW effect, absolute comfort ( what can be more comfortable than choosing products from home at 2 AM?), and fast delivery. Today ALLO customers can offer online shoppers zero disappointment rate because customers can finally see the products they are buying from all the perspectives. And be 100% sure that they get the same products delivered to their doorstep.
We at WeAR Studio are excited to be the part of the evolution of e-commerce and provide customers with the most comfortable and personalized marketing experience imaginable.