It’s mandatory to write a blog about trends for the forthcoming year in December isn’t it? Well, that’s what we heard, and we’d hate to disappoint. So here are our thoughts on what we predict could be the hottest trend in print for 2021.
The most exciting development for print next year, we think, is in blending Augmented Reality (AR) with print. It’s been done in a small way by a few brands before, but leaps forward in technology and the resulting cost decreases mean we’re expecting even smaller companies to be able to take advantage of AR.
It blends the digital and analogue worlds, with technology and print working hand-in-hand to deliver value in the form of enhanced experiences for the consumer.
How does combining AR and print work?
Imagine you’re a bathroom, bedroom or kitchen retailer. Your consumers are going to make a sizeable purchase and often do that with just a few CAD drawings to show what the finished product will look like.
They’ve had to make a lot of decisions to get to that stage, mainly using gut instinct rather than a real understanding of what the cabinet or piece of furniture will look like in their actual home. Some people can conceptualise the final look in their mind based on photography in catalogues; a great many others cannot.
Embedding AR into your catalogues would allow potential customers to see the particular bath, wardrobe or kitchen cabinet they are considering in the actual room it’s intended for in their home. No more wondering whether the space would feel too small or too empty, whether the shape of the bath is the right one, or whether the run of bedroom furniture will overwhelm the space. Customers can place their orders with much more certainty about how the products will look in their actual home once installed.
Feels like a shortcut to higher customer satisfaction, as well as a way to reduce the time taken to finalise the purchase doesn’t it?
The technical bit behind AR and print – how does it actually work?
It’s actually a fairly simple thing to achieve. Consumers use their smart phone or device to interact with the AR content.
Sometimes the AR programme uses an app, or it can also use a QR code for iPhones of or Near Field Communications (NFC) tag for Android which makes the AR content available via the phone’s camera. The AR content is hosted online or within the app.
As well as showing consumers products in their own homes, the AR content could be videos, animations or other interactive digital content which shows off products at their best.
And as with most digital technology, analytics are available so brands can evaluate which content is most popular as well as informing conversations with consumers about the items they have viewed.
We’ve partnered with Konica Minolta to develop an AR solution for our clients, so if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd in 2021, give the friendly PMG team a call to set up a chat about how we can help.