Opinion: How Augmented Reality is transforming CX now more than ever

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Augmented Reality CX Digital

In wake of technological advancement and digital acceleration, Mikkel Andreassen sheds light on the relevance of augmented reality in customer experience and journey.

If you thought Augmented Reality (AR) - the new-age interactive technology is allowing you to see the world in 3D rather than in 2D, still far in the future, think again. Apple has its Face ID feature enabled by the in-built TrueDepth camera, ASOS has a virtual catwalk, and Toyota shares the demo of their vehicles via the Hybrid AR app. And this is just the beginning...

Global Market Insights made a bold claim about the Augmented Reality Market. It is forecasted to cross 50 billion US dollars by 2024. This is driven by the speedy growth of retail, hospitality, and healthcare among other industries, and the consequent customer demand for a more personalized experience that would go hand in hand with modern-day technological advancements. The result - the emergence of CX that intertwines with AR for the enhancement of the brands’ engagement with their audiences. 

As we’re entering 2021, there are already certain customer service trends observed that are coming to life on a smaller scale. Omnichannel communication that is highly personalized is just one of the ways. CX is starting to adopt changes in the new decade. But there’s more to it, and companies are slowly but surely beginning to recognize just how beneficial AR can be for their businesses. With augmented reality in place, you can: 

  • Increase brand awareness by offering customers a never-seen-before experience with the company’s products and services;
  • Improve sales conversions by giving users the chance to explore what the company has to offer in greater depth and detail;
  • Encourage User-Generate Content (UGC) by allowing customers to share their experiences in a creative way that’s endorsed, say, by one of your company’s digital filters.

As you can tell, there isn’t a shortage of methods of using AR for the betterment of the customer experience. But how exactly are you expected to add value during the customer acquisition process? Here’s our breakdown of the process’s three steps with an impact from the successfully-integrated AR:

Pre-Sale Stage

Much like the marketing funnel’s awareness and interest phases, the pre-sale stage doesn’t require too much effort to be considered lucrative. If the properly executed ad is there, the potential customer is already drawn to your offer. The question is - how to make sure he reaches the purchasing stage? With AR, the answer is straightforward.

When analyzing the product, the customer is provided with every piece of information he needs to make an informed decision. There are no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ - augmented reality leaves no room for uncertainty given the interactive applications do their job of portraying the pros and cons of the said product. 

Ikea serves as a great example here with its Place app that allows the customer to see what a new dining table would look like in his living room. Nesquik and Chocapic used AR for an advertising purpose and created an interactive packaging that enables kids to play a video game when their smartphone is pointed at the cereal box.     

IKEA Launches Augmented Reality Application | Architect Magazine

Image: Source

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Point-of-Purchase (POP) Stage

Once the customer has familiarized himself with the product, he can now go ahead and make the purchase. But what if he still needs a bit more of nudging? This is where augmented reality comes to the rescue. It is capable of turning a 50/50 chance of him buying the product into 100% in an instant. 

In retail, the ‘try before you buy’ feature is a game-changer. It allows the customer to see how he would look in those faded blue jeans that he’s been eyeing for a while without actually visiting the store. Gap has successfully implemented this strategy already; buyers are now able to see how they will look with that outfit on, with the help of an AR-created model with similar body parameters.   

After-Sale Stage  

You heard it right - customer experience doesn’t end when the purchase is made. If anything, it starts afresh once the consumer acquires the product and starts using it. They now need hands-on instructions and continuous technical support that would turn them from a one-time customer into a loyal shopper.

Augmented reality found its way here too. Take it from Mercedes-Benz and its AR-powered manual to the 2018 S-class car. The customers don’t need to carry a hefty guide with them anymore - they can just use the brand’s Ask Mercedes app to navigate the functions of their car by holding the lens up the interior and thus educating themselves on what their vehicle can do.  

Not too shabby for a technology with a potential of which just the surface has been scratched this far, we must say. Projected to evolve and lay the groundwork for the future, more advanced interfaces, AR is bound to become an integral part of CX. And if you want to stand out in the pool of competitors, you must look into adopting it sooner rather than later.

This article piece is authored by Mikkel Andreassen, Head of Solution Consulting, Dixa.

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