How is augmented reality (AR) changing the property industry?
Augmented reality is a hot topic around the world, but this is just the beginning.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that exist in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated images.
This is achieved by using displays, cameras, various types of sensors and software to augment the user’s real-world environment with an artificial perceptual experience.
Most augmented reality solutions use devices such as smartphones or tablets to overlay digital information and graphics onto the user’s real-world view.
Augmented reality is becoming a much more practical solution for adoption across a range of sectors.
Although we’re still in the early stages of the augmented reality revolution, some industries are already benefitting from championing AR technology.
Augmented reality is changing the game in an array of sectors around the world.
Industries varying from furniture to medicine are championing augmented solutions to improve their offering, and these solutions are only getting more popular and useful.
With online shopping and e-commerce steadily growing since the birth of the internet, as well as the recent increase in online sales due to the Covid-19 lockdown, marketers have begun to turn their attention to augmented reality solutions.
This allows audiences to further understand what they are looking at online, despite not being able to visit a physical location to see products with their own eyes.
One pioneer of augmented solutions is IKEA, who have been allowing customers to see their furniture in their own home since 2017.
Another augmented reality phenomenon comes in the form of a mobile game that took the world by storm in 2016 – Pokemon GO.
It uses your GPS (global positioning system) to track where you are. You play by walking around the real world catching virtual Pokemon in places near your phone location.
The mobile app then super-imposes the virtual characters onto your phone screen from the real world, augmenting your view of reality (hence the term, augmented reality!).
An important thing to remember about augmented reality is that sometimes people don’t even realise they’re using augmented reality.
Issues with the way new homes are sold
How will the new home look?
One common pain point for purchasing off-plan is not having a clue what your new home will look like.
This is an issue that developers have struggled to overcome for years, with the main issue being how can you show someone something that doesn’t yet exist?
One way developers tried to mitigate this issue was by building showhomes (and continue to do so) meaning customers can take a look at an exact replica of the home they will purchase.
This is a great way to attract interest in a new development and allows developers to show how a customer’s home could look by hiring expert interior designers.
However, showhomes don’t come without downsides.
The cost of furnishing a showhome can be extortionate, and this keeps adding up if there are numerous housetypes you wish to create a showhome of.
Selecting the right choices
Almost all developers offer a range of choices for their customers to choose from once they’ve purchased the property.
Currently, the way choices are made by the customer are made during a meeting with a sales advisor.
What usually happens during this meeting is the sales advisor shows examples of the flooring or tiling choices to the home buyer.
From these small samples, the customer must make their choices without visualising what they will look like once fitted.
You may believe that it’s impossible to show buyers what their new home will look like before it’s built, however…
How could augmented reality help?
Selling new homes before they’re built is difficult.
New build developers aren’t just in competition with other developers, they’re also competing with pre-existing homes that are already on the market, and can be viewed in-person by potential buyers.
Augmented reality is a perfect tool for a developer, as it allows home-buyers to visualise what they will have once construction and decorating has completed months before moving in.
This gives a home that doesn’t yet exist tangible elements, which is essential for selling off-plan.
Augmented reality portrays a forward-thinking brand attitude and mentality, and shows your audience that you care.
Customers can use augmented technology to visit properties from the comfort of their sofa.
This enables property developers to access new audiences, specifically a more tech-minded, younger demographic.
Direct your resources more effectively
Undecided buyers don’t need to review a property in-person when augmented reality helps them experience the development at home.
This helps to filter the sales process, as prospective buyers can decide whether or not they’re interested in the home before visiting a marketing suite.
Augmented reality, therefore, helps give sales advisors more time following up on warmer leads.
People sell property, technology just helps people sell.
Return on investment
Engagement becomes measurable as housebuilders can analyse data from augmented reality technology.
As this technology is accessed online, statistics and data can reveal the number of people interacting with the new homes, as well as helping developers discover which option choices are popular amongst their audience.
This data can also help housebuilders decide whether they need to adjust their virtual showhomes and tours so they can optimise the next one.
Augmented solutions for new property
One potential solution to increase engagement inside a marketing suite is an augmented reality version of a site plan.
This allows developers to bring a 2D site plan to life inside a marketing suite.
Showcase exactly how a site will look once development has completed with augmented reality.
A new home is much more than just 4 walls – it’s also the rest of the development and surrounding area that influence a decision to buy a home.
Aerial flyovers allow CGI to be super-imposed into the real world and showcase what a development will look like once completed.