What does a brand need when catering to a broad audience? It aims to enhance customer experience and establish trust in its brand identity. To achieve this, brands should have powerful knowledge management software to improve customer satisfaction ratings.

With recent inflections in eCommerce and other digital services, Augmented Reality (AR) has proved to boost these customer support goals. To that end, brands will increasingly adopt AR to transform the ways they engage with customers throughout the buying process.

AR can accomplish these goals by letting brands communicate three-dimensionally with customers for more engaging and graphically-immersive experiences. This can enhance relationships and offer value at every point of the customer lifecycle.

How is AR achieving these ends? Here are eight ways…

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1. Removing guesswork from shopping

It takes imagination to figure out if a piece of furniture or a new household appliance will look good in your home. This explains why furtniture and home goods initially took so long to adopt e-commerce: consumers were wired to expect a physical visit to a showroom to get a sense of product dimension.

Shoppers can now use AR to turn their houses into virtual stores. AR experiences like Wayfair View in Room 3D and Ikea Place allow buyers to visualize furnishings in their homes.

Before making a purchase decision, customers seek answers to multiple product features and services queries. A unified knowledge base system works as a single source of truth that customers can use to quickly access information, eliminating the need to visit the store or call for support.

2. Try-before-you-buy

A novel AR use case is beauty apps. These apps help remove the uncertainty involved in choosing a new look. Users can get a 3D virtual makeover with L’Oreal’s Style My Hair AR app allowing them to try out alternative haircuts or hair colors right on their smartphones before surrendering themselves to a stylist’s scissors or hair products. With the Sephora Virtual Artist AR app, consumers can virtually “try on” everything from lipsticks to lashes to cosmetics.

With an AR knowledge management platform, brands can assist customers in making the right choice and increase satisfaction. With a customer database or CRM system, brands can also offer targeted product choices based on past purchases.

3. Virtual dressing rooms

Apparel shopping is now easier using AR. Customers can pick a garment from a virtual shelf and determine things like dress size and body type with TryLive Apparel and Dressing Room by Gap. They can try on clothing through an AR-generated model, giving them a better sense of style and fit.

4. Self-service assistance

AR-based self-service can help brands improve their post-sales suppport. Customers can use their smartphone to access a given product’s knowledge base, FAQs, manuals, and training materials which can be displayed in an AR interface. For example, Nespresso allows customers to scan their labels and receive step-by-step instructions for descaling their coffee machines.

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5. Technical assistance

With AR-based visual help, companies can eliminate the back-and-forth of agent-customer exchanges during tech support sessions. Instead, customers can use visual support on their smartphones to resolve technical issues. Machine learning helps identify issues in real-time.

The agent can immediately identify the problem once they receive the exact brand and product code of the appliance, resulting in speedy resolution.

6. User manuals

Is the hefty paper-based user manual a thing of the past? Hyundai has created a digital owner’s manual that uses AR to show customers how to operate and maintain their vehicle.

For example, the AR reference manual explains what the control buttons do and guides the car owner through testing oil levels, topping off windscreen fluid, and even changing air filters by simply holding up their smartphone. A similar AR-based app is Virtual Technician, with a user guide explaining operating appliances or setting up consumer electronics.

7. Tech-enabled interactive packaging

Brands can use AR in their packaging to provide consumers with an engaging visual experience. For example, Heinz packaging offers recipes and interactive cooking demos. Pharmaceutical companies let customers scan their packing materials for further data on medication and other related information.

Other examples are less utilitarian and more entertainment-based. For example, Nesquik and Wheaties offer interactive games to be enjoyed at the breakfast table. Heineken, McDonald’s, and Wise potato chips are among other brands that offer AR dynamic packaging materials.

8. Interactive Retail

Retail shoppers can use their smartphones to get visuals and product details in immersive ways. For example, Chinese internet giant Alibaba has created 1,000 3D virtual grocery stores for its Yihaodian brand in major areas across China.

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Conclusion: A CX Differentiator

As customer experience (CX) becomes a differentiator, customer connections evolve radically. Brands recognize AR’s game-changing capabilities and have implemented them into their pre-sales, point-of-sale, and post-sale assistance activities.

Having an AR knowledge base for customer support teams boosts tailored marketing, sales, and technical assistance. These are all key steps in increasing knowledge, interaction capabilities, and demonstrating customer value that has bottom-line impact.

Manpreet Singh Chawla is a Senior Digital Marketing Executive at Knowmax.

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