Having survived the turmoil of a gruelling 2016, South African business owners and managers are now turning their attention to sales and marketing. There is a mood of cautious optimism, particularly amongst small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been the hardest hit by recent market volatility. The renewed focus on sales and growth should, however, be accompanied by a willingness to innovate and use the new technology tools and platforms on offer. Increasingly, one of the most powerful – yet overlooked – platforms is augmented reality (AR). Lauded by Facebook’s CEO as ‘the next major computing platform’, AR can be leveraged to drive sales, boost employee engagement and win new business.
“In South Africa, AR has up to now been regarded solely as a marketing and advertising tool, but it can also have a massive impact on sales and growth,” explains Jason Ried, MD of local AR development company, Fuzzy Logic. “For both SMEs and larger businesses, the strategic use of AR can transform sales by boosting engagement with both staff and customers.”
Turning sales from dull to dynamic
Unlike traditional sales materials, which are usually text heavy and dense, AR can take key information and create a highly visual and interactive experience for sales staff. It allows businesses to profile their customers in new and unique ways, creating a far more personalised and dynamic platform from which to target new and existing markets.
“Using AR, we can take information and not only present it in an accessible and highly visual form, but we can also provide valuable analytics to enable quicker and more efficient decisionmaking,” adds Ried. “The digitised nature of AR takes out the hassle of manually updating charts or writing up long reports – and instead turns sales processes into exciting and engaging tasks for both staff and customers.”
Indeed, the ability to track key data through sales systems and then present this data to executive leadership is one of the most important elements of AR as a computing platform.
“For any business that needs to exchange information that might have hidden nuggets of value, or where there is a key insight that needs to be effectively communicated, AR is both a powerful and highly accessible solution right now.”
According to Ried, AR solutions can be scaled up or down, depending on budgets, and the cost factor need not be a barrier to entry. Also, the cost savings achieved through acquiring key data and harnessing analytics far outweigh the initial investment required.
“For local businesses looking to harness AR as a sales tool, the key is to understand how your staff and clients prefer to interact and engage – and then partner with the right developer to find a solution that caters to those preferences. Just as Google ushered in a new era of online search and indexing, augmented reality is fast changing the business landscape by extending the power of visualisation and data analytics straight into the boardroom…”
By Jason Ried