Today, companies face a great challenge when attracting new customers – especially since consumers have become a lot more demanding when deciding on whether they would like to engage with a brand. Spending more time searching for customer reviews, determining how socially conscious and sustainable the brand is, and gathering all other relevant information, customers happen to be far more cautious when making an actual purchase.
However, with the help of emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), brands can aid the user in making a better-informed decision. AR and VR can guide the user from the moment they first make contact with the brand until they become loyal customers, providing valuable information throughout the customer journey. AR and VR serve as the medium to build greater engagement and customer satisfaction.
Take VR, for example, which completely eliminates any time constraints from customer service schedules or availability. It empowers users by allowing them to interact with various elements from a physical or digital store to build their own profound connection with the brand. Or AR, which scans the user’s surroundings and gives the mobile device computer vision, augmenting objects and sharing key information with the customer. For example, imagine purchasing a piece of furniture that you’d have to put together yourself. If the customer uses AR glasses, the app or program can highlight each piece and tell them where to place it in a room and how to build it step-by-step.
These technologies ultimately help guide the customer through a personalized journey to build meaningful relationships and improve customer success. But how does this translate into actionable steps for companies? Let’s take a look.
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Enter the AR/VR Customer Service Experience
73% of consumers name customer service as one of their top priorities when choosing a brand. Therefore, ensuring a personalized, timely, and honest approach is paramount for your business’ success. Add an innovative and captivating layer like AR to these qualities, and your brand can easily attract more customers and build loyalty with your existing ones.
The moment a potential customer first interacts with the brand is crucial to help attract and keep them engaged. Known as the awareness stage, the buyer persona or target audience realizes there is a certain need and a business willing to help fulfill it. On average, you and your brand have 7 seconds to make a successful first impression. This is all the time it takes for a lead or a prospect to become interested and determine key traits such as trustworthiness.
In a mobile-driven era, you can leverage AR in this phase by highlighting valuable qualities in your product or service that a consumer might prefer and often overlook in a brochure or a content-heavy website. The increasing use of mobile devices mixed with the need for relevant information at a glance creates the perfect storm for companies to seek new ways to attract their target audience, without necessarily leading them to additional links or resources.
For example, it is known that around 13% of consumers are willing to spend more on a brand if they feel that the business is making a positive impact on the world. You can use interactive elements to share your sustainability plan and this way, start building a solid relationship with your audience. And through Visual AR Google Maps, your brand can gain exposure. A lead can enter their interests, such as environmental-friendly, filter the different shops around them, and then become aware of all the different businesses in their area that match their criteria.
Or, let’s say that a person just moved into their new apartment. Through the help of an app that offers AR computer vision for the brand, the user will be able to find a faulty light switch. They will also be notified which replacement parts they need and the different service providers near them selling said product or service.
The discovery stage allows the users to conduct deeper research and better inform themselves about the brand before making a purchase. Here is where you can flaunt all of your competitive qualities to help prompt a sale.
With the help of AR/VR, customers can discover and interact with your product’s features in an interactive way, learning at their pace, without necessarily having a sales agent present. A clear example of this is Supra Boats, where customers can build and customize their dream boat and use a simulator to learn how their configuration performs. The app scans an empty space in any room, places the boat on the surface, and allows the customer to add different features to it – while at the same time taking the customer on a detailed product tour.
The same can be said for VR, where a potential customer can go on a guided virtual tour to discover detailed information such as the history, process, and effective use of the product or service the brand is offering at any given time. This innovative approach reduces any hesitance and doubts that a customer might encounter when they’re deciding whether to make a purchase or not.
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Now, let’s say the customer has found different businesses providing a solution that thoroughly addresses their needs. The evaluation stage is where they weigh out the pros and cons of different brands, comparing their options to decide later who they want to do their business with.
This stage is no exception to the AR/VR charm. Here, businesses create immersive brand experiences that allow the user to deeply connect with the brand and associate it with the product or service they’re offering. Take Coca-Cola’s AR experience, for example. Consumers can scan the marked cans and bottles with their Coca-Cola app. They can see a computer-generated of the polar bears and their ‘arctic home’ right in the middle of their living room, just as we usually see in commercials near Christmas time.
The more unique and personalized the experience, the easier it is for the brand to remain top of mind (TOM) for their users and move them closer to a sale.
Now that the customer has collected all necessary information to make an informed decision, the client will make the final purchase decision, deeming your marketing strategy successful.
Without the limitation of connectivity and availability that an in-person representative may sometimes bring, the user can be better-informed and have their doubts resolved when purchasing. You can provide real-time feedback and coaching if necessary to help the customer with any last-minute questions instead of waiting to be serviced in physical stores, for example. This empowers customers with answers and recommendations literally at their fingertips.
Enhancing the Shopping Experience
When it comes to generating – and maintaining – revenue, businesses can always turn to customer service. As a matter of fact, according to a recent Microsoft study, 58% of American consumers are more likely to switch companies due to poor customer service. This proves that what may be trivial to some companies can very well be the lifeline for others.
Actionable steps such as utilizing AR and VR’s computer vision to help a customer find the right size and fit for their product or item and allows them to virtually ‘try-on’ different looks without a hassle can be a defining factor to attract and retain them. In today’s competitive market, brands must seek a personalized approach to help consumers feel valued and build on customer loyalty. By guiding them through a unique customer journey, you are one step closer to making greater sales and staying ahead of competitors, building on resilience for the future.