Pottery Barn Experiments With AR To Offer Virtual Furniture Previews

What Happened
Pottery Barn joins a growing list of lifestyle and home goods brands that are experimenting with mobile-based augmented reality technology to create a better shopping experience. The company is set to launch a 3D Room View app, which will allow users to add and move holographic models of furniture items in your room. They can also change the color of certain items to see what fits their room decor best before they purchase.

The app is built upon Google’s Tango AR platform. Pottery Barn says the preview service will start with a trial program in San Francisco, although the app will be available for all to download later this month.The company also has two other AR-powered web-based virtual preview tools in the works.  

What Brands Need To Do
Many of Pottery Barn’s competitors, such as IKEA, Lowe’s, and Wayfair, have launched their own AR-powered preview apps, so it makes sense for Pottery Barn to catch up. Choosing to build the app on Google’s Tango AR platform limits the mobile devices that it can run on, but it works as a starting point as the Tango-enabled tools are intended for in-store demonstration only. As more and more furniture sellers embrace AR technology to address one of the biggest concerns of online furniture shoppers – “how will this item look in my room?” – more opportunities that AR can enable for the online customer experience await for brands to explore.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Engadget

Header image is a promotional image courtesy of Pottery Barn

Why Messaging App Tango Launched In-App Shop

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Mobile messaging app Tango is taking a page out of WeChat’s playbook with the launch of an in-app commerce service called Tango Shop. Initially available in the US, Tango’s e-commerce platform is powered by two retail giants, Alibaba and Walmart.  The Tango shop features a wide variety of items that can be purchased without leaving the chat app. Payment and logistics are handled by the two retail partners.

Messaging apps have enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, emerging as a major platform in the mobile ecosystem. As of the third quarter of 2014, 616 million global users were using chat app and mobile instant messengers, spending 7.6 hours per month on them on average. Accordingly, mobile messaging commerce has been seeing some early success in Asia markets with LINE in Japan and WeChat in China, where it has become the de facto mobile Internet platform in China, particularly for retailers.

However, messaging app-based mobile commerce has yet to take off in the U.S., where the relatively high usage of iMessage and persisting popularity of SMS has made it harder to build a mainstream audience for chat apps. Still, if the recent success of Snapchat, with its relentless push towards original content, is any indication, messaging app-based mobile commerce could certainly take off in the U.S. market sooner rather than later.

Can Brands Get Better Engagement On Messaging Apps Than Facebook?

Messaging apps are the “The New Face of Social Media,” but how do they compare to the old guard when it comes to organic reach and engagement?

Last week Tango, a messaging app with 200M+ users globally and close to 70M in the US, launched brand Channels– and initial results give a glimpse into the looming battle between messaging apps and Facebook / Twitter.  The numbers (assuming they’re accurate) are surprisingly impressive for an opening week, with companies like Spotify racking up 119,000+ followers, bands like OK Go gaining 124,000+ fans, and a curated Feedly “World Cup News” channel netting 233,000+ subscribers.

Brands on Tango often get better engagement on posts than they do on Facebook, even with infinitely smaller fanbases.  Spotify’s Father’s Day post, for example, asked users on Facebook and Tango to fill in the same blank “Tell us: I listen to _________ because of my Dad,” and yielded 7,625 likes and 1,114 comments on Tango vs. 1,749 likes and 2,369 comments on Facebook.  With 4.5M more Spotify fans on Facebook than Tango, the neck-and-neck results may speak to decreased organic reach on Facebook and high engagement on Tango.

Tango Facebook 1

A closer look at fan comments, however, reveals that quality of engaged users on Spotify’s Facebook page is much higher. While Facebook fans thoughtfully answered the question by naming artists,  Tango comments include a fairly high concentration of random emojis,  troll-like statements like “BITCH WHO DO YOU LOVE?,” and other off-topic ramblings.

What Tango does best is organize channels by topic to facilitates discovery.  They even tally total followers by category, making it easy to glean what appeals most to the user base: Music (286,000+ followers), Sports (276,000+ followers), Tango Updates (134,000+ followers), Funny & Cute (118,000+ followers), Entertainment (58,000+ followers), and lastly News (36,000+ followers).

In our messaging app white paper we cautioned against replicating Facebook and Twitter content on messaging apps. But in Tango’s case, they’ve appropriated the classic social media news feed, so understandably brands aren’t getting creative like they might on open platforms like Kik. Tango’s initial focus is also on content creators, with no traditional brands like Coke or Pepsi entering the fray yet. Given the success off the World Cup News channel, brands should consider exhibiting creativity by curating a channel tied to music or sports instead of (or in addition to) a standard brand page.

As the summer progresses, expect more brands join Tango to access its 200M users, which means more competition for eyeballs.  We may also witness the first few brands with 7-figure follower counts, inevitably turning heads in the broader marketing community.  For now, Tango Channels is off to a promising start.

Messaging App Tango Launches Brand Channels

Today Tango, a messaging app with over 200 million users globally, launched a plug-and-play solution for brands called Channels.  It functions similarly to a Facebook brand page– a user follows a channel and then can view content like photos and video within a news feed.  Launch partners include Spotify, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Cheezburger, Dailymotion, and OK Go.

The fact that TechCrunch, an authority on emerging tech, is betting early on Tango and messaging apps is perhaps the best indication that this is a noteworthy opportunity for media owners and brands.  As further proof: only two hours after launch, Spotify’s Tango channel already had close to 25,000 followers and over 2,000 likes and 450 comments on its morning playlist posting.

As we mentioned in our recent white paper on the messaging app space, Tango is in many ways an outlier compared to the competition.  Unlike popular millennial chat apps like Kik and Snapchat, its demographic skews heavily towards 25-50+ and proves that messaging is a phenomenon impacting all age groups.  With close to 70 million users in the US, Tango has a great audience that has already proven itself very receptive to interacting with games and music on the platform.

Tango is also arguably the most brand friendly of the messaging apps, and has found success with a native ad product leveraged by companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, eBay, Spotify and others to drive app installs.  In all likelihood these ads will also become a popular way for brands to attract subscribers to Tango Channels in the future.

Channels are currently free for brands to set up, so for companies looking to experiment with messaging app marketing there’s little risk involved in this opportunity. For now Tango houses the channels tab at the top of every user’s newsfeed. Once you click into it, you can search five primary categories: Entertainment, News, Sports, Music, and Funny & Cute.  To see the program in action for yourself, click here to download the app or watch the official Channels intro video.


BBM Adds Stickers & Group Photos

BlackBerry is dead; at least, that’s the conventional wisdom. But looking at BBM tells a very different story: with 85 million users engaging with the platform on at least a monthly basis, the platform has better numbers than Tango when it finished its $280 million round of funding. To continue to drive those numbers, the company has released stickers in an attempt to monetize the platform, much like many messaging apps before it. The packs of stickers will run at $1.99 to start, but as BBM starts to look at different pricing models, that will likely change. Already, brands have gotten out ahead of BBM stickers; WWE Inc. has a pack called “WWE Superstars,” and other third parties have packs up on the store as well. The update is now available to BlackBerry 10, Android, and iOS users. It will be very interesting to watch BlackBerry build this product out, and whether messaging – ironically, one of the features that brought BlackBerry to prominence in the first place – can truly salvage the company. Whether or not the move works in the long run, it’s indicative of the fact that messaging companies and brands see stickers as a valuable, lucrative way to engage customers on their platforms.