Augmented World – How AR Transforms the Customer Experience
Augmented reality (AR) has drastically changed our world for the better. This technology allows consumers to experience products in an entirely new way.
No longer do consumers need to head down to their local retail store and try on clothes or imagine if a piece of furniture would look good in their homes. They don’t need to purchase said items and bring them home — only to discover that they’ll need to return them for various reasons. Instead, customers can try products virtually before ever stepping foot out of their homes.
There are five industries in particular that have utilized AR to transform their customer experience: retail, travel, remote customer service, healthcare and entertainment.
One of the most exciting ways that AR has transformed the customer experience is in retail. Many stores have begun giving their customers an enhanced way to shop through smartphone and tablet apps. Not only can customers try on products from the comfort of their own homes, but they can use AR in the stores to find products, sales and product information.
Consumers are especially excited about IKEA’s new app that allows them to see how a product would look in their home. Sephora allows customers to see how a color of lipstick would look before heading into the store.
AR has helped the remote customer service industry by offering solutions for consumers — before they even make that initial customer support phone call. Not only can AR reduce the time spent on the phone with agents, but it can possibly (in some ways) replace agents altogether. The customer can simply point a smartphone at a product to diagnose the problem, assist in setup or find pertinent information regarding the product.
Consumers can benefit from AR both at home and while traveling. At home, they can use AR to get an idea of the activities that are available at their destination. They can see the weather during different times of the year to gauge how they should pack. They can also “interact” with locals to determine if language barriers will be an issue.
On their trips, they now have the ability to find out information about a site or attraction by pointing their smartphones or tablets at the structure. They can also get an AR tour guide to help them navigate an area. Many large corporations are offering informational apps that feature partner restaurants, stores and attractions.
Healthcare education has already benefited from AR. Students can learn about the human body through AR apps and get a realistic “visual” of how the human body works. It’s also being used as an educational tool in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Doctors can show a patient what is going on in his or her body to offer a clearer picture of a disease or disorder. Surgeons have also been using AR in the operating room to help them navigate areas of the body.
One of the most exciting ways that AR has changed customer experience is in the entertainment industry. Consumers can now enter into the world of their favorite books, movies and TV shows. Instead of watching these stories as a spectator, they can immerse themselves within the narrative. The same technology that allows someone to see how new furniture will look in their homes can also transform a consumer’s home into a faraway land.
While AR might have seemed like a dream that belonged in a science fiction movie not long ago, it’s now our reality. This technology has made our lives significantly better in the short time that it’s been on the market, and it’s only going to get better from here.