Over the last couple of decades, as the world moves to a more digitized platform, and as the consumer needs changed drastically, marketers too began to move into the digitized space. Many new and disruptive technologies came into the global market, and AR was indeed one of them. AR, or in other words, Augmented Reality is a robust technological tool that has worked wonders in enhancing the varied aspects of the global market. Be it retail, education, or even real-estate, the magic of AR has efficiently transformed nearly every sector of the worldwide market.
And because of its super beneficial functionalities, sources predict that the market value of AR will reach around $18 bn by the year 2023. Not only that, but the users are also accepting the AR-based software solutions more readily than ever. According to trusted sources, the consumer spendings on AR-based applications was around 3.5 bn US dollars in the year 2018. That shows the level of penetration AR has made on the global market and, more precisely, on enhancing the customer experience.
For quite some time, many software firms are actively leveraging AR technology to improve their customer retention and services. We all know that AR offers some great features and options that can significantly impact the overall customer services by providing a virtual environment to the users. It further helps the companies to explore new and creative ways to enhance their customer services and to introduce effectiveness in their business operations.
And you will be surprised to know that AR when combined with another robust technology VR, could potentially reap more benefits as AR alone could. That’s why Statista predicts that the combined market value for AR and VR would touch nearly $215 bn by the end of 2021. However, in this article, we will be covering only the Ar technology and its impact on customer engagement. So, without wasting any further, let’s dive in!
Let’s start from the start!
What is AR, and How Does it Work?
To get the idea of how AR impacts customer engagement, you first need to learn what AR is. AR, or in other words, Augmented Reality, has become a widely used term in today’s tech-driven era. It is a robust technological tool that has brought drastic changes in indeed all sorts of significant industries of the global market, whether it be education, retail, real estate, and so on. AR technology integrates reality with added digital elements. That means, it integrates computer-generated content with actual sites to make it augmented reality. Now that may sound a bit confusing, but I’m sure that you might have experienced the magic of AR in your real life. For instance, you might have seen the sports events on your TV sets. The commentators, while discussing the matches, always leverage AR to enhance their commentary and to showcase the scores more efficiently. An example is shown below to help you understand better.
To help you understand more precisely here’s another amazing example of AR that you might have witnessed during recent times. The most popular gaming application that trended in the year 2019, PokemonGo, is based on AR application. To make it more precise, it superimposes the images of the pokemon, and it would appear as if you are seeing them in the real world. Amazing, isn’t it?
So, now that we have learned much about the robust technology, i.e., AR, let’s now know how it impacts customer service.
Top 9 Ways AR improves Customer Experience
AR is fastly changing how marketers and businesses interact with their valuable customers. Here are the top nine ways in which augmented reality is proving a boon for the businesses of the global market.
1. Scannable Packaging
The first and foremost benefit of utilizing AR in business is enhanced and amazing packaging operations. It is no doubt that AR is a disruptive technology that can bring a new life to the products by linking it with real environmental conditions. The same is for packaging options. It is certain that in today’s digital era, every product packaging comes with a QR code. But, AR adds somewhat more features to that functionality. It surpasses the traditional QR code and makes the scannable code more interactive, keeping user-friendliness in mind. Meaning, the users, while scanning the code, could get more details about the product through a visual-rich image, or text, or even a short video or game. That increases the chances of the users placing an order for the product multiple times.
2. Interactive Marketing
The next big advantage of leveraging AR in business operations is enhanced marketing efforts. AR, with the help of other big technology tools like VR, helps the marketers to promote their products more efficiently in the global market. The robust technology enables businesses to market their products in a more differentiated way and thus helps them to enhance their marketing efforts. That, in turn, not only makes their products more popular amongst the common users but also sets them apart from their competitors.
3. Immersive Retail Experience
Apart from enhanced marketing, AR also helps the marketers to provide immersive retail experience to their valuable customers. We are all well aware that through AR, we can know how a certain product will look like in a real environment. So, marketers utilize that function to help the customers virtually watch and decide what product will best fit their needs and wants. That, in turn, adds value to their products and services, and customers leave happily from their retail stores. And we all know that a happy customer means more business. So, all in all, AR helps the retailers to enhance their customer experience more profoundly.
4. Virtual Dressing Rooms
As discussed earlier, with AR technology, the customers can seamlessly view what all products will look great at their specified locations. So is the case with the clothes and accessories as well. The marketers engaged with the clothing and accessory business find AR very helpful. In fact, after the introduction of AR in the global market, things changed drastically in the fashion industry. According to sources, almost 47% of the people from Gen X and millennials are ready to experience the magic of AR assisted shopping, and almost 23% of them have already tried one. That shows the readiness with which AR is penetrating the fashion world. Coming back to the point, AR helps the clothing businesses to help their customers in identifying what a certain outfit will look like them. Meaning, the users can now try thousands of different costumes with accessories and can decide which will look best on them without even trying them in reality. Now that’s something amazing!
5. Enhanced Decision-Making
Apart from letting the users try and buy the products without even wearing them, AR also enables the users to make a sensible and informed decision seamlessly. Meaning, the customers can get all the relevant information about the product before making a purchase decision very efficiently with the help of augmented reality. For instance, a shopkeeper can display its products on an interactive hanger that showcases all the likes that the product has received. When the user scans that particular product from his AR-driven app, he can seamlessly get the product information, or can even try the product on himself, or his friend seamlessly. In short, that helps the buyer to buy the product with confidence.
6. AR Games
Apart from the retail industry, augmented reality can also help other marketers to engage the users more efficiently. Meaning, as a marketer, your only goal is to attract a large sum of users to your mobile app. So, you can do that seamlessly by linking your app with an already popular AR-based application. Meaning, instead of developing your mobile app, you can partner with a popular AR-driven app that has gained immense popularity in the global market. That way, you can seamlessly enhance your global presence and can even interact with a more number of customers.
7. AR-Self Service Support
With time, the brands of the global market are also upscaling their post-sales operations. With the help of an AR-based system, the organization’s actions today are enabling their customers to get all the relevant product information and access all the tutorials of the product seamlessly through a single click. That way, the efforts of the post-sales team get reduced substantially, and the users get all the useful information in one click. An example of this is Nespresso, which offers an interactive scan on their packages that allows the customers to access all the information about the coffee machine descaling with a single click. Additionally, the self-service of AR-based applications has also proven itself in a wide variety of smart home applications.
8. Web-based AR
Gone are those days when the user has to depend on dedicated apps or plugins to experience the magic of AR in real life. Web-based services have opened a new door for augmented reality-based applications that can seamlessly work using just an URL. Yes, you heard it right! Users can now leverage the potential of AR by opening the particular URL from any device of their choice. All that resulted in enabling the brands more effectively in creating and pushing their immersive ads seamlessly at a low cost. These immersive ads not only differ from usual ads but also efficiently capture the user’s behavior pattern seamlessly. That further helps the organization to frame their future strategies more efficiently.
9. AR User Manuals
Last but not least is the AR user manuals. User manuals are the most important thing for the user as it clearly describes the functioning of a particular product that they have purchased. Usually, the user manual comes with the product, in a small booklet-like format. But, with the advancements in technology, and the shift of the market towards a more digitized era, user manuals also changed significantly. With the introduction of AR, the users can now access much interactive content over the functioning of the product. All that not only saves a lot of crucial time of the marketers that would otherwise be wasted in making user manuals for each customer but also engages the users in a more profound way. Additionally, the AR-based user manuals also enable the user to fix the common errors by themselves with the help of interactive videos and content.
How Businesses can Optimize the AR Opportunities
So far, we have discussed the amazing benefits of leveraging AR in enhancing the business operations and in boosting the customer experience. However, while the scope of businesses leveraging Ar technology may seem promising, there are still many factors on which the success of AR-based strategy depends. For instance, the type of content and the quality of videos also play a significant role in determining the engagement rate. Similarly, it is the shift of the industry from marker-based to marker-less technology. Marker-based technology utilizes a marker to track the visuals around them, whereas marker-less technology much relies on smartphone apps and other tools to display the content.
As per experts, a more market-less technology would be more beneficial for the growth of AR in the global market, and eventually for the success of any enterprise. Though a market-less technology still has many issues regarding the accuracy of the data captures, it is believed that with the advancements of mobile-apps, that issue will undoubtedly solve very soon. The modern-time smartphones will have more sensing capabilities, that could overcome many drawbacks of the marker-less technology. All in all, like any other new technology, AR will also have to pass through numerous tests, and the businesses should be ready to scale and change every strategy to ensure the success of AR in their organization.
How to Use AR in the Right Way?
Now that you are well aware of the various factors that can create an impact on the success of AR-based organizations, it is time to learn how to utilize AR in the right manner. Using AR in the right way can ensure massive victory for the industries in a short period and without much effort. So, to further help you, here we have listed some questions that you can ask yourself when integrating AR in your business operations.
1. Is your industry ready to accept AR technology?
The first and foremost question that you need to answer before implementing AR in your business is, if your industry is ready for evolution or not. Meaning, you should have a clear idea of your organization’s goals and the industry needs. You should know what all tools and specifications will be required by the AR implementation, and should analyze if the employees or workers of that particular industry is ready or not? From being prepared, we mean, is proper training given to the? Is it possible to train them on AR? Will it require more resources? Are those resources available to them? The answer to all those questions will eventually help you to know whether AR implementation is needed by your industry or not.
2. Does your customer need it?
The next big question you need to address is whether your customer needs AR-based applications or not. We all know that the customer is the king. Even if your product has all the great features and if it is not valuable for the customers, it is of no use! So, you should carefully analyze whether your customer needs AR implementation in your existing services. If yes, what changes will it make in the customer experience? And also, do you need to link every product and service to the AR-based application? The answers to these questions will probably help you to make a more informed decision.
3. Will AR create a positive difference in their business operations?
As discussed earlier, you need to be very sure that the implementation of AR-based applications will undoubtedly add more value to your products and eventually to your customer-service. You have to remember that your business is the most crucial thing in your life, and investing in such a considerable technology without getting many significant benefits is a pure waste of time and money. And both of these factors are very crucial in today’s digital world. So, think wisely, and if you find that the integration of AR will certainly add more value to your business, then without a second thought, opt for it!
4. Should they build in-house AR-based applications or outsource expert developers?
So, by now, you have got answers to whether you should invest in AR or not. However, another critical aspect is to decide how to invest in AR technology. Meaning, you have two options to develop a feature-rich AR-based application, either you can hire an in-house development team, or you can outsource an experienced AR-software development company. While both of them have their significant perks, outsourcing an experienced software engineering firm is always considered the best decision. That’s because an experienced firm has all the answers to the issues that might come during the development process. Furthermore, the expert developers there could also suggest some out-of-the-box ideas to outgrow your competitors and build success for your application seamlessly.
To conclude, we can say that the world is evolving at a much faster pace, and so are the demands of the user. Hence it becomes of utmost importance for the firms to implement and leverage the best and latest technology solution that can satisfy all the needs of the customer efficiently. Although the choice of technology depends on many factors, a perfect choice eventually enhances the business value and helps the marketer to provide a robust customer experience. And a happy customer means more business, so you need to think wisely before developing any software solution for your enterprise.
At Matellio, we help marketers to design and develop the best enterprise software solution in a cost-effective manner. Our expert programmers and certified testers make sure that nothing hinders your business growth and offers you brilliant ideas over your project development. From AI and Ml to AR and VR, we have got several portfolios to showcase our expertise. Want to know more? Connect with us by visiting www.matellio.com/request-a-quote