Still in prototype, but we're pretty excited about what we've done.  Coming to a Tesco.com near you soon for all you Harry Potter fans out there.
 
 
The sceptics amongst you could be forgiven for asking if Augmented Reality has finally come of age for retail.  Certainly it's been used to great effect in marketing campaigns of late, but it is still to be deployed on large scale e-commerce sites or throughout retail stores as part of the buying experience. 

It's really hard to find good data on the subject.  However, I serendipitously found some interesting and insightful data on how Augmented Reality increases sales conversion rates. Thank you Hidden Creative.  Their research revealed a 135% increase in likelihood to buy when experiencing an augmented reality version of a product versus looking at a product image. Their research also discovered that AR has a positive impact on value perception - with the survey particpants valuing the AR product 33% higher than the non AR product.

Very encouraging!

We're hoping to see both an increase in conversion from our AR implementation at Tesco, as well as a reduction in returns.

It's great to see Hidden Creative sharing this data so openly.  I hope we can do the same when we get the results back from Tesco.



 
 
For all you Star Wars fans out there....this is a demo of what we're working on with a Lego(R)model of the Millenium Falcon - fancy playing with the Millennium Falcon at home before you buy it? Not only does it zoom around the room, it also shows the actual texture of the product in 3D - so it looks like the real thing.  Also it's exactly to scale - so you get a really good idea of the actual size of what you're buying.

It still needs a bit of work before we go live with it on Tesco.  But you can see the current - non animated - version on their AR site right now.

That's Pete by the way, he's our CTO.  A Very Clever Man.

 
 
If you're a start up and haven't read ReWork by Jason Fried then get it now - I promise you won't regret it.

Some say it's controversial in places, but I found it to be one of the most succint, plain talking business books I've ever read.  "The obvious isn't always apparent" is a somewhat overused phrase - however this book points out what should be the obvious, but my experience has proven is often lost in the melee.

One section I didn't entirely agree with though, was the PR piece in the chapter on Promotion. They say welcome obscurity and use the time to make mistakes before the whole world is watching your every move.  I get that.  That's why we spent a year working with Tesco kicking our tyres, making sure our Augmented Reality platform can scale to up to 20,000 products (whereas our competition can only scale to 100).   

They say build an audience, which we're starting to do now we have something to talk about.  And go behind the scenes to let your audience see how things are done, which this blog, over time, should achieve.  

The one thing I don't 100% buy (and I really could quote most of this book ad verbatim) is that Press Releases are spam.  I think it depends on the business you're in and the story you have to tell.  

I despair of software companies who issue a press release about 'our latest feature or version' - it's pointless.  I despise the recent and growing strategy of press releases for SEO, spammed up with keywords that are distributed in the faint hope that a few blogs will pick them up and link back to the site in question.  And I do think that a mass distributed press release, to a wide, anonymous audience is fairly pointless too.

But our situation is different.  Tesco will be doing their own PR for Augmented Reality, they have some big plans for it, it's exciting.  But we have our own angle and needs that are different from Tesco; we want the Kishino story to be told & to get the chance to explain that we're the company powering the first retailer in the world to roll out a multi-channel, multi-category Augmented Reality retail experience.  Our risk is, if we don't do a press release, that we'll get lost in the Tesco PR machine.  And we're hoping that some journalists will be interested in hearing about this little British company who are making such huge strides in this arena.

So we're doing a press release, with a great story, which will be sent to carefully selected journalists.  Hopefully I’ll be linking to them from here in the coming weeks.

So thanks Jason Fried, for your amazing book and sharing the 37 Signals thoughts and strategies with us.   I respectfully disagree that (all) Press Releases are spam.  But will let you know how we get on

 
 
The next few weeks will hopefully project Kishino from fledgling stage onto the world stage as we're the company behind the launch of Tesco's multi-platform Augmented Reality experience.

I'm the person in charge of marketing, so one of my key challenges with Augmented Reality (AR) is how to turn the techno-babble gobble-de-goop into words that people can understand.

When I talk to my friends about it, it usually goes something like this:

Me:  "Do you remember that Tom Cruise film, Minority Report, when he waves his hands in front of those funny screens"

Them: "Oh yes".

Me: "Well we do that projection thing too, but with products like a Lego model - you can spin it around and see it from all sides.  Or a TV so you can see what connectors it's got.   Or you can even project a necklace onto you, so you can see if you like it before you buy it".
(All my girlfriends like that last one).

Them: "Ooh, that's clever, how is the trial going"?

Me: "Ask me in three months time".

You see, it's not necessarily easy to communicate the benefits of AR and that's one of the challenges we're going to have to overcome if we're to deploy it to the masses and make it part of an every-day shopping experience.

We're making a video which hopefully will help.  In the meantime, you can have a play yourself online at Tesco and soon it'll be available in stores.