La Marzocco has teamed up with Plattar to create an augmented reality app to give customers their own virtual showroom, and bring confidence to their buying decisions.
When making big purchasing decisions, customers can be convinced of technological benefits, quality and design aesthetics, and even the price tag, but what about colour?
Too often, La Marzocco Australian Marketing Manager Jets Anita Langlands says, customers will debate at length as to which colour or model La Marzocco Linea Mini or GS3 will best suit their kitchen bench, retail space, or office suite.
“Because we’ve given them such a range of choice, making that final purchase decision can often be the hardest and most time-consuming for customers, and we’ve found a way to take that pressure away,” Jets says.
The solution is augmented reality (AR). App builder and content management system Plattar has teamed up with espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco to launch a global AR app application for its consumers worldwide.
The technology is a direct view of a physical, real-world environment in which the elements are “augmented” with computer-generated sensory input such as a video and sound or, in this case, graphics.
The application of this software is about to grow bigger with the recent introduction of Apple’s iOS 11 ARkit making it readily available to hundreds of millions of iPad and iPhone users.
AR has been making a big splash in the public domain over the past year with many household technology companies making investments in the space, including Ikea and Toys ‘R’ Us who are taking advantage of AR to help drive sales, develop consumer confidence in their products, and change the way consumers shop globally.
Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba have all invested billions of dollars over the past year into AR, and La Marzocco now is a new wave of brands taking advantage of AR to drive sales and develop consumer confidence in their products.
This growing scope of opportunities means that hardware companies, software developers, designers and brands can all benefit from the new ways that people interact with products and environment around them.
Once the AR application app is downloaded, users can visualise how the La Marzocco Linea Mini or GS3 would look in their own home, company, or office. A smartphone camera will capture the environment you are in, then drag and drop the product image onto your canvas in the position you want to place the machine, such as a kitchen or office bench to create the virtual scene in real time.
“AR is bringing the sales experience home,” says Jets. “We want customers to see how the machine would look in their own environment rather than a showroom. La Marzocco’s range of machines are high-end, and to conceptualise the objects first and make sure it’s the right decision for you, AR is a massive advantage. This type of technology is set to revolutionise purchasing decisions with confidence.”
Like using a Snapchat filter, a smartphone camera via the AR app measures the length of flat surfaces in the natural environmental, such as a bench or table, and every frame of movement. It overlays digital content into the real world, and then pins the product of interest, such as the Linea Mini, in the real world, and no matter if you move closer to the virtual object or to its side, the product will retain its natural size, and be visible from all side angles.
“The machine will stay in place as a 3D image. It’s so lifelike that you can walk around it and assess its suitability for a particular room and its proportion in a specific space,” Jets says.
Plattar’s AR app has paid particular attention to the details that La Marzocco is respected for – its artisan approach and commitment to quality design. As such, Plattar has used its creative powers to replicate La Marzoco’s reflective quality of the stainless steel machines so that when customers access the app, they can see how the machine would also look in different lighting at different times of the day.
“It’s a great example of how to try before you buy without spending $5000 to $6000 on the machine first and then discovering if doesn’t match the environment you thought it would,” Jets says. “It’s a great tool to narrow down the options and visualise how the machines fit into your kitchen. Instead of going back to a store three or four times to ‘double check’ your decision, you can do it at home without pressure and leave the in-store consultation for more training and technological-based information.”
Jets says they initially considered AR as a great training tool for espresso machine technicians to learn the internal operations of the La Marzocco range, and to help diagnose a customer’s machine issue and order a spare part through using visual aids. “It’s definitely a possibility for the future,” she says.
For now, Jets is confident the AR app will target a new audience, perhaps those that need a little more reinforcement to make such a big purchase decision.
“Customers who are confident about our brand, our product offering and its capabilities, and our level of support will happily order a machine online. But there are those that need a little boost of support, and we believe this is the tool to help get the sale over the line. We should see a spike in machine sales as a result,” Jets says.
Plattar Marketing Coordinator Andre Selton says AR technology is already used in industries such as furniture and homewares, real estate and education.
“Typically, AR is been used with the smartphone in your pocket, it is about placing a product in an environment,” he says. “At Plattar, we have platform that means you dont need to code, you can design layouts as you wish and businesses are able to help customers make better decisions.”
Plattar has been producing AR outcomes for seven years, using it for large $50,000- plus projects, but now Andre says the technology is becoming affordable for companies to utilise from a tenth of the cost.
Andre says most commonly, interior designers or a sales agent would typically have to go to a home or office location with swatches to help the customer make a decision, but now the customer has all the control.
“[Using AR, you] can place a pillow on a couch to see if you like the colour, or in this case, see if the red Linea Mini looks better on your white benchtop, or the black,” Andre says. “It’s becoming a engaging way for customers to make a confident purchasing decision, and for businesses using AR, it’s another useful device to empower your team with an effective sales tool, help increase sales and reduce product returns.”
Andre says it’s the perfect time for La Marzocco to make its foray into the AR world, and expects the technology to become a popular buying tool universally.
“The sky’s the limit. In the next three to four years I expect other industries selling large items to follow suit, such as car brands. Imagine looking at how a Ferrari looks in your driveway – it is all possible right now” he says.
This article features in the December 2017 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe here today to see the FULL copy: www.beanscenemag.com.au/subscribe
La Marzocco AR by Plattar AR is free to download via the iTunes App Store.