The customer lifecycle consists of 5 critical stages:
1. Awareness and Reach
2. Customer Acquisition
4. Customer Retention
To ensure the consistency of sales in the long run, a business must guide every customer through these stages smoothly. Ensuring customer engagement and satisfaction is essential to retain and convert new customers into brand loyalists. Using AR for business, it is now possible to apply the benefits of AR (augmented reality) to innovate and engage customers throughout their customer journey.
Augmented reality is the technology that overlays computer-generated visuals (static or moving) upon real-world visuals on a digital screen, enabling an immersive and interactive experience. The latest advancements in AR have made it accessible to anyone with a smartphone, unlocking a world of exciting possibilities for businesses. From indoor wayfinding to 3D product visualization, the benefits of AR for business are simply too many to ignore.
How AR Technology Attracts More Customers, Drives Engagement, And Promotes Sales
In a survey by Ericsson Emodo, 61% of 5G smartphone users claimed that AR ads grab their attention more than traditional ad formats. Also, according to Google’s Global Consumer AR Survey, 66% of people say they’re interested in using AR for help when shopping.
This data indicates the potential of AR technology to revolutionize the shopping experience. Let’s understand the importance of augmented reality in promoting customer acquisition, engagement, and satisfaction.
Better Product Visualization
Thanks to AR visualization, shoppers can experience the products beyond their screens. AR shopping enables them to generate digital overlays of products in their own environments. For example, a customer can now place a couch in their living room using AR before purchasing it – to gauge how it would look in their space. AR provides a 360-degree visual experience, helping customers see the product from every angle and inspect it in detail before purchasing. Online shopping with AR has also replaced physical fitting rooms by allowing customers to virtually ‘try before they buy.’ This feature has proven especially useful for the cosmetics, apparel, and footwear industry, with brands like Nike, Maybelline, Mac, and many more already reaping benefits from including AR visualization as part of their customer journey.
ARitize3D enables brands to take advantage of 3D and AR in e-commerce. The innovative service from Nextech3D.ai allows online retailers to create photo-realistic 3D and AR models at scale quickly and easily integrate them into their own website or app for customers to use.
Product Personalization Opportunities
AR, combined with online personalization, provides a unique shopping experience to every customer. Customization allows customers to modify the colors, textures, and parts of a product before making the purchase, and thanks to AR visualization, they can bring their customizations to life and view them in their physical environment before actually getting them home. For instance, using customization offered by ARtize3D, retailers can allow customers to change the color and texture of bedding or curtains and, using AR, immediately place them in their homes and visualize the final look. According to a study by Deloitte, 76% of customers are ready to pay more for customized furniture, 77% for fashion accessories and jewelry, 79% for customized footwear, and 81% for customized clothing.
Customization and AR also increase customer engagement and dwell time immensely.
Increase Customer Confidence
One of the greatest benefits of AR in online shopping is increasing purchasing confidence in customers, enabling easier customer acquisitions. When customers can see your products in augmented reality instead of flat 2D compositions or photographs on screen, it eliminates doubts regarding the product's actual ‘look.’ This enables them to make more informed decisions about their purchases and only checkout products they are sure will look suitable for their intended use.
More informed decisions by customers reduce their chances of returns - saving you a tremendous amount of money otherwise wasted in logistics.
The importance of augmented reality transcends the online shopping experience and can work like magic physically in stores to increase customer satisfaction and reduce returns as well. Here’s an example of how a large-scale retail store managed to reduce returns with AR at its physical outlets.
According to data by AR Insider, the average product return rate for furniture is 5% to 7%. Macy’s reduced this to less than 2% by using VR and AR for visualization to sell their products. Macy's allowed in-store shoppers to use designated iPad stations to add 3D models of furniture products to designed mockups of rooms in AR and is reaping benefits from it with positive effects on its ROI.
Engaging Store Navigation
As per data by Retail Touchpoints, 67.3% of customers who leave stores without making a purchase do so because they need help locating the required product despite its availability. Difficulty navigating large shopping malls and superstores like Target and Walmart also adversely affects their customer experience. This is because the traditional methods for store navigation, such as maps and signposts, take time and effort. On the other hand, following a moving 3D arrow and/or listening to audio instructions on an AR platform is much simpler and more engaging. AR-based indoor navigation can help increase customer acquisition at large stores as it eliminates the fear of getting lost or wasting time finding the required products. Furthermore, it makes the customer journey stress-free, boosting customer satisfaction.
ARway.ai by Nextech3D.ai is a web-based platform that allows brands to quickly deploy AR navigation solutions with their out-of-the-box, no-code technology. With just a floor plan and a few clicks, you can set up a complete AR navigation system for any retail location. Customers can access it by scanning a QR code with their smartphone cameras.
Entertainment and Gamification
AR games like augmented reality scavenger hunts or immersive activations can make the entire shopping experience more engaging for customers. For instance, creating a loyalty program with an interactive treasure hunt in the mall or using AR to create spectacular experiences with holograms of brand mascots - are great ways to increase customer engagement for your brand.
Stronger Brand Connect
Immersive AR experiences increase customers' time engaging with brands online or in a store, resulting in positive memory encoding. This helps strengthen the brands’ connection with their target audience. As per data by Crowd DNA, nearly 60% of Gen Z claims that AR feels more personal to them. Studies also reflect that AR experiences maintain viewers’ attention throughout, unlike traditional video ads on TV and YouTube, where viewer attention spans tend to be erratic and dip.
Greater Customer Loyalty
Integrating AR ads, experiences, and games opens up a whole world of possibilities to increase customer loyalty and reinforce brand association. AR enhances the buyer’s journey and gives customers more control over their shopping experience, increasing confidence and brand trust.
AR allows brands to stand out and gain an edge over their competition. Creating exciting customer experiences and more immersive shopping journeys with AR puts the customer in the front seat. It allows brands to leverage the perception of being industry leaders in adopting the latest technology.
Studies show that AR ads capture double the amount of visual attention from customers compared to non-AR traditional ads, and AR experiences can boost conversions by 94%. Using AR allows you to create meaningful customer interactions with customers. Augmented reality advertisements - transcend reality and provide immersive, pleasing customer experiences as opposed to skippable 2D ads.
Using ARitize3D, brands can create photorealistic 3D models at scale for AR ads. ARway.ai allows for creating immersive AR experiences at any location inside a store or indoor space.
Increased Brand Awareness
The sheer amazement of seeing moving virtual elements merged with real-world visuals creates an exciting customer experience. AR helps generate organic brand buzz by creating experiences that encourage brand chatter with word-of-mouth amplification. Augmented reality creates longer-lasting impressions on potential customers by providing a unique experience as opposed to traditional formats of advertising that they’re exposed to all the time.
Increased Brand Recall
A Mindshare UK study shows that augmented reality increases ad recall by as much as 70%. This is because AR visuals have unmatched novelty and can captivate audiences. Some AR experiences promote 2-way interaction with customers too and are therefore even more memorable. A research paper on SSRN proves that a strong relationship is shared between brand recall and the integration of AR features into a website as well.
Nextech3D.ai is an innovative technology company that aims to make the benefits of AR and 3D design technologies accessible. Its path breaking suite of products and services is helping businesses improve their customer cycle by taking advantage of augmented reality.