Augmented Reality: How Nagarjuna Fertilizers & Chemicals boosts sales in 2016

The company implemented an AR solution which enabled them to increase visibility, sales and brand reputation.

There are very few brave CIOs who have actually went ahead and deployed an AR solution, especially in India where enterprises are far from even wanting to implement it. One such unique and out-of-the-box thinker happens to be Jitendra Singh, CIO & head - business excellence, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals. In the midst of all the fuss and complexities pertaining to AR, Singh quietly did something that can clear a lot of fog that envelopes AR.

The flagship company of the Nagarjuna Group, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of plant nutrients in India. Commencing operations in 1986-87, today their asset base is around Rs 21 billion. The company boasts the distinction of being the single largest private sector investment in Southern India.

When your enterprise is into catering to customers who live in villages and small towns the challenges you face as a CIO will a bit different and difficult to address than counterparts operating in tier 1 and 2 cities. Your mundane methods of doing IT might not be enough and hence you ‘literally’ need to innovate.

“When it comes to farmers you never know if he or she can understand Hindi or English as in some parts of our country the education level deep down is still not that good and hence they may not go through the brochures or the literature you will provide them with. It is extremely crucial that they go through it as it contains information about our products and usage,” says Singh.

Pulling off an AR project is not easy, especially at time where many CIOs and vendors are trying to figure out what it can deliver for businesses, it is definitely not a cake walk. 

Singh wanted to have in place an effective method which would help his company’s brand reach out to farmers who were aware about the company’s products but was not paying attention to details.

“Writing a peace of content was just a small favor for them. What they used to do is take a brochure and then dispose it off without paying much importance to it,” says Singh. It was last year when Singh decided to deploy an AR solution to make things right.

“We embroidered an AR code in our packages and advertisement brochures, now farmers and others can simply download our application on their phones and point their cameras towards a picture to view the entire content as an animation video according to their own sweet time. We on the other hand keep populating videos from time-to-time,” Singh says.

When your enterprise is into catering to customers who live in villages and small towns the challenges you face as a CIO will a bit different and difficult to address than counterparts operating in tier 1 and 2 cities.

Innovation always pays. Just to look for animations, Singh says that now farmers and dealers are getting so attached with this technology, owing to the embedded AR code, they will try and scan papers which does not have the AR code and adds that the “value of papers goes up drastically.”

Pulling off an AR project is not easy, especially at time where many CIOs and vendors are trying to figure out what it can deliver for businesses, it is definitely not a cake walk. Working intelligently on challenges is a big aspect of a success story. Especially as a CIO you need to making lines of business believe in you.

“A major challenge when it comes to AR is that it is costly. Provider needs to make it more cost effective for enterprises. When we went out to LoB with the idea of implementing AR, we directly attached it with revenues. More than the cost, we successfully aligned the AR solution directly with increase in sales with respect to the region where it was implemented,” Singh added.

Sing says that AR, at this point of time is a costly solution and hence he took it step by step. “Initially we did not implement it PAN India at the first go. We gradually escalated after analyzing results. Now it cannot be denied that the solution definitely has a specific measure or contribution when it comes to increase in revenues from sales,” he says.

If you are doing it, do it right

Sing adds that one has be to extremely vigilant when it comes to implementing an AR solution. “In rural and small towns, when you explain this to a dealer or a distributer even they might take it up as a piece of paper only. One has to make sure that it is used, else huge amounts of money is wasted. For that you have to keep monitoring its usage,” he says

So, vigilance and control are two key words when it comes to AR. “I would not mind going an extra step and control the inventory or monitor the inventory of these specific set of codes given to dealers or customers. Keeping track of where all the code is getting used is also crucial. You need not put an AR code in each and every paper you are rolling out, then it becomes prohibitively costly,” he adds.

Jitendra Singh CIO & head business excellence Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals

As a best practice Singh says that it is a good idea to try and roll out AR in areas which have better connectivity, else what will happen is that the loading of content and even downloading the application becomes a major challenge.

The immediate business benefit that can be derived from AR is unique and sustaining. “If you have visibility, if you can establish your brad in the minds of people then your enterprises reach increases by a great extent and from a customer perspective your sense of recall for a particular brand increases multifold. This is extremely important in areas where you do not have an IT and automation savvy customer base,” Singh says.

Owing to increase in visibility, enhanced brand image and reach, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals has successfully managed to add more revenues through their existing sales activities.