Immersive technology has been redefining the way businesses deliver their services and products to consumers. This revolution greatly enhanced customer experience in a way that no other technologies have been able to provide. Now, consumers can have realistic experiences by plunging into the virtual space before they actually buy a product or service.
How does this improve customer experience?
As you know, a good customer experience is all about making a customer happy while shopping for a product or service. This includes every step from inquiry to checking the products or services they want to avail, purchasing, and after service. All these aspects are touched by immersive technology while making the experience more interesting, accurate and effective thus helping customers to make the most of their hard-earned cash.
Immersive technologies are no longer a stranger to businesses today. In fact, Facebook recognized their power, which led them to the bold decision of buying the Oculus VR. In addition, Facebook and its acquired photo and video-sharing network, Instagram, have been using simple AR tricks using funny stickers in their camera apps. Lately, they incorporated simple Virtual Reality in their filter selections.
More and more people are getting hooked on both social media platforms. The FB and IG Stories, as well as their messaging apps, are gaining more traction among users because of all the fun filters and backgrounds incorporated in them.
Businesses have also begun using the Stories feature to add a twist to their Instagram ads and engage their customers by adding interactive stickers. This only shows that FB and IG are putting immersive technologies into good use that’s bringing the platforms more and more profits.
But what is immersive technology?
Fully Immersive Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities
Immersive technology can be classified into the following types:
- Augmented reality (AR) adds computer-generated objects to the real world
- Virtual reality (VR) changes what users see and experience by overlaying a computer-generated environment to the real world
- Mixed Reality (MR) combines AR and VR in one experience
Immersive experiences can be built on these digital technologies.
Now that we’ve defined these immersive techniques, let’s find out about the current issues in managing customer experience that can be resolved using AR, VR, or a combination of both.
Current Challenges Faced by Businesses in Managing Customer Experience
The biggest issue faced by businesses worldwide is the limitation brought by the Covid pandemic.
The effect is especially grim for those selling products compared to those that are offering services. The elimination of physical shopping as a way to preserve the health of both sellers and buyers has made skeptical shoppers more hesitant to buy. These shoppers are those who want to see and test products first before they give away their money.
Meanwhile, this limitation lessened the opportunity for sellers to apply their “sales talks” to convince shoppers to buy from them.
How Immersive Technology can Resolve the Issue
Immersive technology is breaking the barriers and lifting the limitations brought by the lingering Covid pandemic. As people are advised to stay at home, businesses can use the different reality technologies to reach out to their customers and bring their offers virtually right in front of them, giving them a level of customer experience that’s similar to when they are shopping physically.
The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality started a long time ago.
Nike has its Nike Fit app that leverages AR strategies to get the foot measurement of shoppers and give them a 360 view of what a shoe will look like on them even without physically visiting the Nike stores.
IKEA has its IKEA Place that lets you place true-to-scale digital models of their furniture in real space. This allowed homeowners to check whether a couch or dining set will fit into their rooms without the tiring and time-consuming task of buying furniture and having it delivered only to find out that they don’t fit in their spaces.
The tourism and hospitality industries, before Covid happened, have been using VR to give travelers a realistic preview of hotel rooms as well as a virtual tour to the whole resort. This did not only help travelers decide on the right resort and room to book but also helped businesses convince more people to choose them over the others.
Now, all of these reality technologies are being improved as Covid’s likely here to stay. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of investing in AR and VR to give their customers the same shopping experience as pre-Covid.
People want to be safe at home but they also want to make sure that they are putting their money on the right product as they shop online. VR and AR give consumers a realistic way to check items online and feel confident about their purchase, like Sephora did with their Visual Artist. And when they do receive the exact product condition that they tested through VR and AR, customers will naturally feel happy and they’d return to the same shop for the other items they need.
Overall, Immersive technology is a creative way to deliver a spectacular shopping experience to consumers whether they are buying online or from a physical shop. Targeting the imagination of consumers gives them a unique experience that makes them thrilled and, later, convinced to purchase. So, the adoption of AR, VR, and MR in your business can open new opportunities to enhance customer experience and increase sales.
Implementing Immersive Technology in Your Business
Now that we’ve seen the impact of immersive technology on customer experience, let’s look into some ways on how you can use AR, VR, or MR to your company’s advantage.
1. Define the areas where you can integrate reality technologies
Before releasing any immersive technology efforts, businesses should first assess how AR, VR, or MR can be applied in their system.
Check your products and how you can deliver them digitally to your customers. If you are selling food, you definitely cannot use AR and VR for your customers to have a free taste. But you can use these technologies to capture their interest, for instance, by using AR to show them how each food was prepared neatly in your kitchen or VR to tour them in your kitchen to touch their emotions and influence their decision.
2. Decide on how they can be shared with your customers
Now that you know how to use immersive technology to promote your product and make your customers happier when shopping, it’s time to decide on how people can access your AR or VR efforts.
Most businesses are now using apps that can be easily downloaded by customers on their smart devices to share the immersive experience. Like we cited above, Nike and IKEA are using apps based on AR to help their customers make a more informed decision even without visiting their stores.
Other ways can be through 360 tours and the use of AR or VR glasses, which may be more costly and impractical for both the seller and the consumer.
3. Collect data and convert it to Digital Data
All objects used in AR and VR are in their digital format.
Finding a way to turn them into digital data and storing them in your app is the way to successfully impart an immersive experience to your customers. Nike has probably done 3D models of all their shoes in their different colors and sizes and those data are stored in the memory of the app. Businesses that want to use immersive technology will probably have to do the same.
4. Test the app and launch it
There’s nothing more frustrating than using an app that doesn’t work properly.
Make sure that before launching it to the public, your app must be tested in real-life situations to know whether it is effective and to determine areas that should be improved.
If you don’t, you are more likely to annoy your customers than make them happy.
Immersive technology has a big potential to help businesses improve their customer service so that their consumers can feel more satisfied with their shopping. With their power to connect businesses and consumers virtually, customer experience can be greatly improved. It may even serve as an interesting way for consumers and businesses to communicate like they are together in a single space when they are miles apart.
AR, VR, and MR are here to stay. Although they still cannot replace the experience that consumers can have in a brick-and-mortar store, they can at least do more than simply showing photos or videos to the consumers.
Technology has also greatly revolutionized smartphones to transform ordinary photos of people and objects into seemingly flawless ones, which can also be done by the best photo editing software by manipulating and creating vectors in Illustrator or Corel.
While their transformative capabilities are of great use to businesses, some buyers can be doubtful of the true quality of the product that they cannot decide on through photos. And this is just another aspect that immersive technology can resolve.