By now, many of us have already been exposed to the world of augmented reality. In Korea, especially in Seoul, AR is common to see computer-generated content in real-world environments. However, only the big conglomerates like Samsung and LG utilize AR to better connect with their customers. Korean Startups and SMEs are not yet fully taking advantage of all the possibilities AR can bring regarding offering a better customer experience.

The core advantage of AR technology is that the hardware (smartphones/tablets) is available to most people in Korea. South Korea has ranked at the top for having the highest percentage of smartphone owners. Pew Research Center estimates South Korea’s smartphone penetration rate at over 95% and 100% mobile phone ownership. Israel came in second at 88/86 percent, respectively. 

Why AR in Korea has Huge Potential

South Korea has such a high smartphone penetration rate, so it is the perfect country for businesses to use AR technology. All companies inside and outside South Korea share a common goal of getting customers to use their services or purchase their products. AR technology more deeply engages customers’ senses by immersing them in enhanced environments. Thanks to the advancements in smartphones, millions of users are now walking around with AR-capable devices in their pockets. So how can businesses in Korea take advantage of AR? Let’s look at some global companies already using AR technology for better customer experiences. 

AR for Furniture Placement

AR in Korea

The Swedish furniture giant IKEA was one of the first businesses that started using AR. They created an app that allowed customers to place IKEA’s furniture in their living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc. Customers used their smartphones or tablet to place sofas, cabinets, and beds into any area in their homes. Therefore, they could get an actual look at how a particular piece of furniture will look in their home before they make the purchase. The bigger furniture stores in South Korea, like Hanssem, Modern House, and House Ggumin, do not offer this kind of AR experience.

IKEA Korea will be offering its “IKEA Place” in Korea on October 5th, which could be bad news for many furniture companies in Korea. However, any brick-n-mortar store in Korea that offers high-end furniture needs to quickly incorporate the same AR experience. It doesn’t even have to be furniture stores. Any store that sells items for the home can attract more customers by allowing them to bring the product from the store to their home digitally. 

Try it On with AR

Rolex AR

Rolex has developed an app that allows customers to try on a Rolex watch on their wrist. Therefore customers can use their tablet or smartphone to see how a particular Rolex looks on their wrist. Customers can switch sizes and models with a push of a button. This means customers do not have to physically go to a Rolex store to try them on. They can try on as many models in a short period in the comfort of their homes. While there are many accessory online stores in Korea, however, none are using AR technology to promote their brand.

Gentle Monster, one of the hottest eyewear brands in South Korea, focuses on creating AR glasses that can connect to your smartphone with their partnership with HUAWEI. However, their focus should be on offering a better customer experience by allowing customers to try on their many selections using their smart devices. If they don’t offer this kind of service, another startup will. 

The Perfect Fit with AR

Nike AR

Nike used AR technology to allow their customers to order the right size of shoes. The problem with ordering shoes online is that you can’t be sure if the shoe will fit or not. Nike designed an AR app where the customer uses their smartphone or tablet to point the camera to their feet with only their socks on. The app will let the customer know where to position his/her feet relative to the camera. Then the app will measure your foot size. The app will then recommend the correct shoe size.

A startup in Korea called Kadu:Kudu is using a similar strategy for women’s shoes. They offer virtual fittings, so you don’t have to leave your house. Kada:Kudu’s solution to sizing a person’s shoe size is called “Size Me.” It uses image recognition and measurement software to size a customer’s foot. When taking the picture, customers put a standard-sized sheet (A4) of paper under their feet and stand with their heels against a wall. Sure the technology is not as advanced as Nike, but Kadu:Kudu has the right idea. 

AR in Korea now easy with SDKs

For many startups and SMEs in Korea, AR could be intimidating. Many might feel it could be too expensive to implement. However, AR development is very cheap. There are many options for free, open-source AR SDKs which are open to contributions and can be extended with new features proposed by developers. While most are demo versions, once you find the right SDK for your business, several pricing plans depend on the business’s needs. Another good news is that all AR toolkits are compatible if you need to develop your AR app for iOS and Android. So do your research and take your businesses to the next level with AR.