What makes an AR app stand out? While having a famous video game IP always helps, for the most part, AR apps work the same way all other apps gain popularity – by providing an intuitive, user-centric experience for anyone who downloads.
Yet within the augmented reality bubble, developers often lose sight of how an app should function. Between what works, what’s in development, and what users want, finding the right balance can be a challenge.
This is particularly important for independent businesses. Forty-six percent of retailers plan on deploying AR strategies in 2020; any app that doesn’t resonate with consumers will have little to no positive effect on business.
The best way to ensure customers are actually engaging with your AR app is by taking a data-driven approach toward implementation. Let’s take a look at how this works – and where AR’s future promise may lie.
See What Users Are Sharing
While the world’s 3 billion smartphone users are now accustomed to using new apps, AR provides an additional layer of interaction to which many are still unaccustomed. Yet it only takes a few seconds to go from AR newbie to AR evangelist – or rather, it takes just five words: “You’ve got to try this.”
When users share their experience with their friends, you know your app has made it. Consumers are looking for that novel experience that not only makes them a daily user, but also influences them to bring their friends into the fold.
There are a few ways to stimulate this kind of growth. One way is to keep track of which features users engage with the most, even if these aren’t the key features once intended.
For example, Snapchat initially gained fame for its quick-deleting instant messaging. Yet its popularity exploded once the developers added new photo filters to the app. Now, Snapchat is more well-known for its dog filters than its encryption. This focus on the features their younger users care about made them the best performing tech stock of 2019.
Of course, having appealing features can only get you so far. It’s in providing value where an app becomes more than a gimmick, becoming a fully-realized game changer in any industry.
Providing Value With AR
The AR features that draw users into an app and create buzz may not be the features that drive the most value. The German shipping company DHL, for example, has an award-winning app that can scan and size an object to suggest the correct package size. While this already has an obvious utility, it’s the ability to instantly order a ready-to-send packet of the measured size that makes this app more than a gimmick. Users can ship faster and more easily through the use of AR.
Users will try out an app if it seems interesting. What keeps them engaged is actual real-world utility. We’ve seen this ourselves via our home decor app, where users can not only design a room, but also purchase items directly through the interface. AR doesn’t have to be separate from your primary business purpose – by combining long-standing best practices with new tech, growth goes exponential.
It’s here that data turns from clicks and views to dollars and cents. Keeping track of purchases- size and frequency depending on the type of consumer, for example – leads to stronger insights for the future. You may decide to bring in new products or even partner with different types of retailers to create more engagement with your AR app.
It’s all about knowing what to look for – and then implementing those appealing features in a way users care about.
The AR Advantage
Turning AR-curious users into lifelong customers is both the goal and the challenge for businesses in the 2020s. It’s an exciting time to be deciding what use cases are most appropriate for AR – which ones will pan out, and which are more prone to failure.
There’s an incredible value in starting development now to test the features as users gain familiarity with these sorts of applications. Once you have a strong idea of what works and what doesn’t, bringing in real-world utility – through an in-app store, buying integration, or otherwise – keeps users on your platform. These customers are the ones you’ll want to seek out the most – and keep satisfied through consistent updates of new features that will help your company stand out in an augmented world.Guest Post
About the Guest Author(s)
Farris obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.S. and M.S. from Harbin Institute of Technology. He has published 40+ academic papers and tech patents. Farris co-founded ZenStone Venture Capital and invested in 30+ tech startups. Currently, Farris serves as Co-Founder and CEO of DecorMatters, the first AR-powered collaborative platform that brings together interior designers, shoppers and furniture retailers to make any home renovation project easier and more affordable.