If you’ve been following our InSights Articles, you already know that Augmented Reality (or AR) has been transforming the way business and the public interact. Today, the technology enhances the consumer’s experience, engaging consumers and making them the center of the marketing efforts.
To better explain what we’ve been talking about, this article is going to show you how companies can engage their consumers at every stage of the buying journey.
How can Augmented Reality improve consumer experience?
Augmented Reality (or AR) is a technology that takes an image of a virtual object and superimposes it onto our surroundings. Increasingly affordable mobile devices have improved the possibilities of AR, use and its reach.
With the increasing use of mobile devices and tablets, the technology gives brands a nearly unlimited opportunity to interact with consumers on their mobile devices three-dimensionally.
With that, we can say that thanks to Augmented Reality the consumer experience has turned into a digital experience whose purchase journey is transformed into an immersive interactive visual experience. AR experiences can be used before, during and after the purchase process, i.e pre-sales, sales, and post-sales.
Augmented Reality and consumer experience: Pre-sale
Pre-sales include initiating contact with a potential consumer, identifying their needs, doing product demos, making an offer, answering questions and overcoming objections. This is a critical phase, as effective consumer engagement during this step is essential to drive sales.
It is in pre-sales that sellers should answer questions that will play a critical role during the decision-making process. For example, how do you know if a particular paint color matches your wall? How to show details of a mobile device without having the physical device in hand?
The sky is the limit for Augmented Reality. It can do everything from turning your home into a virtual showroom to virtually showing you how a dental implant component works wherever you are. Therefore, in the pre-sale phase, AR experiences are tools to remove uncertainty while enhancing the customer experience.
Augmented Reality and consumer experience: During the sale
The goal here is to avoid abandoned shopping carts, whether virtual or physical. It’s true that visual engagement is an effective strategy for improving sales as it drives more conversions.
At this stage, the idea is to allow consumers to use Augmented Reality experiences to engage them even more. It has a little to do with the pre-sales phase because it all comes down to allowing customers to try the product as much as possible.
Take L’Oreal’s Style My Hair AR for example. The app allows users to perform a virtual 3D look change by experimenting with different hairstyles or hair colors on their phones or computer before going to a salon.
Another great example, now from another sector, comes from a Starbucks store in Shanghai. Through their smartphones, store visitors gather product information, learn about the roasting process, and can take part in other experiences, all of them in Augmented Reality. Can you see how this strategy is much more than just a gimmick?
Augmented Reality and consumer experience: post-sale
It is after the sale has been made that Augmented Reality can be used not only to provide the consumer with a positive experience but also to solidify the relationship, promote brand loyalty and ensure customer satisfaction.
For example, instead of using printed manuals, customers can receive instructions through Augmented Reality. That’s what Hyundai did with the owner’s manual of some of their car models. The Augmented Reality app allows drivers to see how different features work, how to do basic vehicle maintenance themselves.
As customer experience becomes more important – and a differentiating factor between brands – marketers know that they need to take action to improve their relationship with their audience.
Among these actions, in this article, we highlighted the use of Augmented Reality. Through a mobile device, the technology provides high value and serves as a springboard to accelerate the selling process.
The examples we gave in this article represent a small sample of the potential that AR can offer throughout the customer relationship value chain. If you want to learn more, or need more ideas, reach out to us! Feel free to also share this article with your friends and colleagues.
‘Till next time!