One of the largest airlines in Europe, undergoing their largest digital transformation, wanted to explore Augmented Reality and how it would benefit their customers, engage more of their buyers in the buyer's journey and increase their sales revenue.
One of their products, custom airplane build-outs, enables customers to design the airplane of their dreams. They work with their customer to tailor many parts of the aircraft. From the interior layout and cabin furnishings down to the fabric used for the seats, the airplane comes together piece by piece. Most of these choices are made by sifting through traditional catalogs, so a lot is left to the imagination until the late stages of the processes. For such a premium customer, surely there should be a way to provide a more premium, state-of-the-art experience.
- Retailer and premium customers alike, are expecting and relying on imagination to sell the product.
- Showing different customisations to customers helps them find the most suitable product for their needs. However, there are cost and time barriers to doing this efficiently with a physical product.
Enter Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality (AR) can help showcase different customisations in real-time. This premium experience brings the customer on a journey where possibilities previously limited to the imagination come to life. Whether a playful or practical use case, AR creates an emotional bond and signifies that a brand seeks to deliver a product that goes above and beyond.
This is a transferable example to explore how modern Augmented Reality could bring the customer experience to life. A customer could mix and match options in 3D right in front of them. In real time, they could explore countless different configurations, creating an immersive experience for a customer. For the business, it is an opportunity to go above and beyond to show the high quality of the brand and product, engaging with their customers in an innovative way.
During the project, we applied the design thinking approach to go from understanding the problem to the final prototype. Design thinking is a systematic approach to dealing with problems and developing new opportunities. It is the ideal framework for creating innovative products that satisfy the end-user.
We value and prioritise meeting with stakeholders from different roles, from design and engineering to business development. Keeping the scope focused, we aimed to learn from many perspectives to develop a shared understanding of how they deliver their custom aircraft product to customers. Together, we reviewed competitors, benchmarked other AR experiences in the aviation industry, and gained a greater understanding of their challenges.
With these insights, we sketched out ideas and decided on a minimal proof of concept prototype that would be suitable for experimenting with transforming the current product to a premium customer experience.
Then came time for the heart of the experimentation - prototyping! Novoda assembled an expert team, with the latest knowledge and skill set, ideal for the project.
Understanding the business realities and the importance of ROI, we curated mini-sprints with lightweight planning to reduce the overhead and get the product to a validation stage as quickly as possible. After just a handful of mini-sprints, the prototype was presented back and ready for testing.
The Prototype: What tech did we choose?
The proof-of-concept prototype was built natively for iOS using Apple’s ARKit. We built for iOS because this operating system is more widely adopted in our target group and because we aimed at providing a high-fidelity experience together with an iPad.
The 3D model of an airplane, animates into the real world, creating an experience where the airplane drives right into the live camera's view for the customers viewing pleasure. Once the airplane becomes part of the customers real world, they can explore the full range of exterior and interior products with high precision.
- Provides seamless visual sales and marketing collateral for a luxury product
- Reduces time and cost attached to tailoring products to customer requirements
- Consulting, design and specification services reduce overheads
Looking to the future
In addition to expanding the items for customisation to include a robust catalog, future iterations of the prototype will unlock more of ARKit's technical capabilities such as allowing customers to have shared experiences that persist over time.
An example of this evolution within the customer journey is if a customer was using the app to create a custom build of an airplane, they would be able to collaborate with a team on the same, shared experience over multiple sessions. Great projects take time to construct, so they would be able to make changes incrementally — saving and going back to the proverbial drawing board over multiple sessions.
Augmented Reality opens many possibilities for enriching customer experiences to make them more immersive.