According to IBISWorld, the number of landscaping industry enterprises is projected to increase at an annualized 2.2 percent to 569,359 companies over the next five years. As competition increases and demand for landscaping services grow, it is crucial for businesses to differentiate their services by taking advantage of technology like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In an industry where visions come to life through design, VR and AR take the customer on a journey beyond simply 3D renderings. This type of technology allows the customer to go one step further and actually see for themselves a design coming to life on their own property.
There are already a handful of companies who have taken the plunge into virtual and augmented reality for their lawn and landscape business. Structure Studios is the first company to launch an app, YARD, for the iPad that brings landscape and hardscape drawings to life. “YARD gives designers the power to take their clients beyond 3D and place their to-scale future outdoor living space right in front of them, in their own yard,” CEO Noah Nehlich explained in an interview with Lawn & Landscape. Not only does the app allow field workers to be more efficient during on-site appointments with customers, but it also gives an advantage to customers who want to immediately visualize the potential landscape options for their property. The ability to engage a customer by physically showing them their dream yard through augmented reality, makes them feel confident in the services and the designs they’ll be getting.
Companies like Urban Ecosystems and Belgard’s Design Studio have also been actively using AR and VR to help bring their landscaping visions to life. In an interview with Total Landscape Care, Samuel Geer, director of operations for Urban Ecosystems, says that “customers often appreciate getting to sneak a peek of what their dream yard will look like, and seeing it in relation to the rest of their home helps them see how a new element would inhabit the space.” He also mentions that it helps to communicate cost dimensions, as it very clearly presents information to clients.
Joe Raboine, director of Belgard’s Design Studio, in an interview with Total Landscape Care, says, “There’s something about standing in the space. When they feel like they’re in their backyard and they can look up at the sky and look down at the pavers, we think that’s what leads to the high closing rate. There’s an emotional connection.”
Soon, computer renderings of landscape plans will become old news, so don’t wait until then to move onto the latest technology. EMarketer predicts that in 2019, there will be 54.4 million augmented reality users, a number that is sure to continue growing in the years to come. Impress your customers by using innovative technology while staying ahead of the trend – and your competitors!