AR and VR are beginning to play a larger role in CRM and CX. The immersive technology – and low-cost hardware – have moved beyond the gaming industry and into the realm of marketing, sales, e-commerce, and customer service. Many forward-looking companies are connecting AR and VR apps to their CRM systems to deliver delightful – and differentiated – experiences throughout the customer journey.
First, a quick note on the difference between AR and VR:
VR is a computer-generated environment that shuts out the real world. Immersive VR experiences are delivered via headsets, or more economically, via smartphones mounted in a cardboard box, like Google Cardboard.
AR, on the other hand, overlays digital content on a real environment. AR-based customer experiences can be delivered via smart glasses, AR apps on smartphones, or specialized screens.
With VR, for example, construction companies can walk investors through an immersive virtual environment that shows how a building will look when complete. Or realtors can deliver VR walkthroughs and real estate tours to provide a better buyer experience, speed up sales, and cater to overseas clients.
AR has even greater potential. Augmented shopping experiences, for example, are one of the biggest trends in the retail industry. With AR technology, consumers can point their phone at a product and get more information – or extras like recipes, games, and offers. Shoppers can also virtually try on anything, from clothing and shoes to accessories and makeup, using the camera on their device. They can picture how furniture will look in their homes, or even experiment with different paint colors.
Some innovative retailers are also using AR to transform in-store experiences with smart mirrors. These mirrors have a range of capabilities. Fashion-lovers can see a 360-degree view of themselves in an outfit without physically trying anything on. They can compare outfits side-by-side, change the size or color, get recommendations for complimentary items, ask friends for their opinions on social media, and much more.
Businesses aren’t just using virtual reality and augmented reality in marketing, sales, and e-commerce – they’re also applying it to customer service. AR apps, for example, can let customers hold their phone up to a broken product to get more information about parts, explain complicated issues to agents, or access relevant troubleshooting tips. Many companies are also offering AR user manuals – where users can point their phone at anything, like a car part, and get information on how to complete routine tasks and maintenance.