When it comes to technology, there is no limit to its application. We live in an era where almost everything around us is governed by ingenious technology. AR, VR, AI, ML are some of the prime technologies of today, and all of them are adopted by a wide range of businesses to deliver a top-notch customer experience.
AR, aka augmented reality, has seen application in various industry sectors such as manufacturing, eCommerce, electronics, tourism, and many more. This is the reason the market of AR is expected to rise to USD 72.7 billion by 2024.
Businesses today are leaning more towards technologies like AR and VR to provide the best customer experience. Due to this, the use of celebrity endorsements and advertising is slowly fading away. So, how does AR assist in customer experience, and in what ways? Let’s read ahead and find out!
Basics of Augmented Reality
Although augmented reality is pretty popular. If you are not aware, it is about overlaying computer-generated objects onto the user’s actual environment. One Classic example of this is Snapchat.
Snapchat contains countless AR filters that users can apply to their images to make them better. Another example of this is an interactive game, Pokemon Go. Released back in 2016, the game is an excellent embodiment of AR technology. However, the scope of AR is not just limited to gaming or social networks. It has extended its wings across various other industry sectors.
How can Augmented Reality help in Enhancing Customer Experience?
Augmented reality is a new and exciting way for brands to interact with consumers. It offers the customers an immersive visual experience that transforms the customer journey into something fun and memorable, often leading them through their store’s entire product line or giving tours of products they may not have otherwise seen in person.
Helps in decision making by removing uncertainty
Ok, let’s deal with the biggest problem of today’s shopping sector. Though the retail eCommerce market is at an all-time high right now, online shoppers still have to return many of their orders as they are not right.
You must have thought of this; what if there was a way to try out your chosen shoes online before buying. Check if the chosen furniture will look good in your home or not, right? Well, earlier, it was not possible to examine the product before buying. However, with the help of AR, you can easily test the product before shifting to the checkout screen.
Here are some of the examples!
1. Brands like Nike and Gucci are using AR technology to provide their customers the best user experience. They leverage platforms like AR Shoe TRYON by Queppelin and Wanna Kicks to help customers try shoes on their phones. This eliminates the hassle of visiting the store.
2. IKEA Place is another great AR app that allows customers to virtually place 3D models of IKEA furniture in any corner of their home. They can customize the size and color as per their liking, add it straight from the app into their cart if they like what they see.
3. Heinz developed an AR experience for its users a few years back. The AR experience required the user to scan the Heinz logo on the ketchup bottle with their phone that opened a recipe book. Users could use that recipe book to make different dishes with Heinz tomato ketchup. Similarly, today brands can use AR to provide additional information about the products to the consumers.
Boost in-store sales
Not just online sales, augmented reality can also help enhance the in-store customer experience. For example, if someone faces difficulty while purchasing a product like lipstick, AR-based apps can help them try it before buying.
L’oreal Paris’s Style My Hair app is a great example of this. It allows the users to browse and try various hairstyles, colors, and effects virtually before giving it to the hairstylist.
Another cool example of the in-store experience is Starbucks flagship Roastery based in Shanghai. It is one of the largest Starbucks globally that harnesses the power of AR to provide its users fun visuals on scanning a product. Users can also learn about different products and the roasting process. Thus, tuning them to make a purchase.
Solidify brand-customer relationship
Brands like Apple, Hyundai, Starbucks know that customer retention requires less investment than customer acquisition. This is why they employ state-of-the-art technologies to smoothen after-sale services like upgrades, repairs, maintenance, etc.
Now, when it comes to post-sales support, AR can help a lot. How?
AR can help enhance customer service as agents at remote locations can guide customers by providing them with step-by-step instructions. Customers can use their phone to provide a visual of the malfunctioning device to the agents, which they can easily recognize and offer a quick resolution to the issue.
Moreover, unlike older user manuals, augmented reality remote assistance can help users troubleshoot their issues while being at their homes. For example, Hyundai has created a brilliant AR-based digital owner’s manual that can assist drivers in maintaining and fixing their vehicles.
All they have to do is hold up their smartphone. The help guide tells users what each button in the car does and walks them through checking oil levels, filling windshield fluid reservoirs, as well as replacing air filters. This application of AR can eliminate the hassle of visiting the service station for every small issue.
Impact of AR on Businesses
Just like customer experience can be uplifted to a new level with AR. Businesses can also save a lot by letting customers shop from their homes. Further, companies can save hefty amounts spent sending technicians to consumers’ homes to resolve any hardware issues. Thus, making augmented reality remote assistance the need of the hour.
AR is not just limited to itself; many other technologies like IoT can be linked with it to take the customer experience to a new level. As of now, a very limited number of brands have leveraged AR completely. There is a lot to come in the future. These are some basic examples of how it can be used. The full potential of AR is yet to be discovered.