Improving the customer experience with virtual and augmented reality


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Not so long ago, the perception of immersive technologies was confined to science fiction. In recent years, it has become associated with games. Today, many companies are recognizing the significant benefits of using augmented and virtual realities to improve their operations. Augmented reality and virtual reality are now used for everything from prototyping and design to marketing, customer service, training and productivity.

As brands and businesses seek to strengthen and grow the relationship between their services or products and their customers, immersive technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality offer practical, emotional and creative pathways to enrich those relationships while building brand loyalty and increasing sales. Immersive technologies have the potential to provide practical support and an emotional boost through their human-centered design approach.

Technology has become advanced enough to bring augmented reality and virtual reality into the mainstream, allowing them to be used to create a more user-friendly, realistic, accessible and affordable customer experience.

Key Differences Between Virtual and Augmented Reality

To get the most out of virtual reality and augmented reality, business owners need to understand the difference between the two and what each is capable of.

The main difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is that virtual reality is designed to take users away from their physical space. In contrast, augmented reality combines the physical space with the virtual by overlaying parts and pieces of the real world with imaginary pieces of digital content. Thus, while virtual reality takes the user completely away from reality, augmented reality blurs the boundaries between reality and the imaginary world.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality content can vary widely, from computer-generated interactive content to passive experiences such as 360-degree images of real-world locations. The user must use specific equipment such as a headset combined with controllers to access the most realistic VR content. The required hardware allows users to see, hear, and sometimes even interact with the experience. Although this equipment provides access to the most realistic VR experiences, there are many VR experiences such as virtual stores that do not require additional headsets or accessories.

Virtual reality is a great tool for businesses to build deep and lasting connections with customers and potential customers. The immersive nature of virtual reality is key to attracting attention and instilling a sense of empathy in users.

Augmented reality

Snapchat filters and the popular game Pokémon GO are some of the earliest and best-known examples of augmented reality. Augmented reality is generally easier to access than virtual reality because it can be viewed and used on a smartphone or tablet without requiring specific equipment (although equipment for high-end augmented reality experiences is available) . While it doesn’t pack the emotional punch that VR experiences can, its accessibility makes it a great tool to appeal to a mass market. Businesses can use augmented reality to allow users to easily access and share content via any medium, on the go or at home, which is sky limiting.

Since a single entity does not own the Internet, each site becomes its own sort of island. Suppose you imagine users traveling between the islands of news, social media, online collaboration, banking, etc. In this case, the goal of the metaverse becomes clear: to create realistic environments where your audience can explore a 3D customer experience, like an interactive shopping journey, that will increase your engagement and sell-through rate while keeping customers connected to your mark.

Today, most people still use the internet through tablets, phones, and laptops instead of hanging out with friends as avatars, attending virtual events, and exploring shopping experiences. virtual. Since you’re probably watching the internet through a flat screen instead of existing on it, you’re connected to the metaverse but not yet immersed inside. However, more and more ways to experience the Metaverse as it is meant to be experienced are becoming available daily.

AR, VR and the metaverse are used today to transform sales and marketing processes and present products and collections like never before.

Retail and e-commerce play an important role in the expansion of the metaverse. Using augmented reality and virtual reality, businesses can immerse their audience with a virtual online store identical to their flagship location. They can also enhance their e-commerce offerings by turning their flat online store into an immersive, shoppable environment.

Retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers can deliver a superior, wall-to-wall experience that will delight their customers in an environment that facilitates decision-making and forms a memorable brand connection. Elements such as dynamic countertops, assortments of flooring, changing walls, living furniture and home accessories can be viewed and interacted with, from any screen at any time.

Fashion retailers and wholesalers can also be part of the ongoing metaverse using the tools and technologies that are shaping the retail industry, leaving all options open even when the doors to the physical world of retail are closed. closed.

If the Metaverse becomes a reality, companies that have already planned to provide a Metaverse customer experience will have the upper hand. With 82% of companies trying augmented reality and virtual reality reports whether the benefits have met or exceeded expectations, companies are clearly becoming more open to the metaverse.

As the metaverse increasingly becomes a reality, companies that have plans in place to deliver an immersive AR/VR customer experience will have the upper hand. Currently, 82% of businesses that have tried AR and VR report that the benefits met or exceeded their expectations.

How virtual reality and augmented reality improve the customer experience

Consumers increasingly rely on digital tools to make purchasing decisions, complete the purchase process, and utilize post-purchase customer support. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality provide the innovative tools a business needs to support and enhance its customer experience strategy. Here are some of the top reasons companies are using augmented reality and virtual reality today.

Informed decision making

Realistic and interactive immersive content helps customers who want to try things before they buy, which is what most customers do today. Companies in every industry, from cosmetics to automotive, are using AR to empower their customers to make informed purchases.

Reduced buyer’s remorse

Most consumers rely on a combination of emotion and logic when deciding to purchase a product or service. AR’s visualization capabilities can help buyers eliminate doubts about a service or product. They will feel more confident in their purchase and have fewer regrets later.

Improved customer service

Immersive technology can provide hands-on support throughout the customer journey. Whether it’s making product instructions more accessible for customers or making it easier to connect customers with support for a product or service, augmented reality and virtual reality come with plenty of handy tools to improve the customer experience quickly and efficiently.

Fully immersive

AR and VR combine to provide customers with a fully immersive experience where they can imagine themselves in their purchase. With 360-degree views and customizable options, they get an experience that can’t be replicated in a physical location. When customers can personalize their products, they are generally happier and much more likely to make a purchase (and spend up to 10% more).

Stronger bond with customers

Immersive technology enables companies to inform and delight their customers by creating a range of immersive content in customer experience centers. These connections help improve the customer experience and build brand loyalty.

Convenience

Wandering around a store looking for specific products is an inconvenience that many shoppers no longer want to deal with. One of the best things about AR technology is that it can help customers navigate the biggest stores in seconds, easily find the products they’re looking for, and have them delivered right to their doorstep.

Customer experience is the key to business survival today. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the development of human interactions and relationships seems less temporary every day. Immersive technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality are quickly becoming the answers to making vital connections with customers as a business.

These technologies have the power to make your customers feel valued, empowered, and unique by your brand, which is what most customer experience strategies need to help the business build a strong foundation for growth.

Eran Galil is CTO and co-founder of ByondXR.

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