Uttam Kumar Pandey, Founder & CEO, Perceived Design

Great customer relationships are no more built on the provision of good products or services. Rather, they require personalized and authentic customer interactions. As the pandemic broke out in 2020, businesses and global economies were hugely impacted, highlighting the importance of adapting new-age technologies that will enable them to stay afloat and overcome the crisis. As physical stores were forced to shut their doors to customers, immersive technologies are emerging as the key here for brands to continue offering value to their customers.

Customers are currently at a tipping point for the immersive experiences created in digital commerce, as per a new research released by Accenture. The report reveals immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 3D content can improve customer purchasing confidence and increase sales online. The time is now for reimagining digital commerce as consumers are ready and looking forward to an evolution in the online shopping experience, especially in the aftermath of Covid-19. Brands must understand how the quickly accelerating domain of immersive technology can drive scale in this new age of online shopping.

How Brands are Leveraging Immersive Technologies

Disruption caused by the pandemic has further strengthened the prospects of immersive technology, which are likely to get even stronger once the pandemic abates. AR can embed computer-generated objects within the real world. While VR can change what users experience and see by overlaying a computer-generated environment in the real world. Mixed Reality (MR) effectively combines VR and AR in a single experience. Truly immersive experiences can be built on these digital technologies.

Immersive technologies are breaking the barriers set by the lingering pandemic. As people are advised to be home, brands can use the various reality technologies for reaching out to their customers and bringing their offers in front of them virtually, replicating the customer experience that they get while shopping physically. This not only bridges the physical divide between the brand and consumers but also helps scale the customer engagement rates.

Several brands are employing AR and VR to organize virtual tours as well as to get the most out of their marketing and advertising activities. These technologies have significantly redefined online shopping, empowering brands to reach out to customers at every stage of their buying journey. For example, tourism and hospitality industries were already using VR to provide travelers a realistic preview of the hotels prior to the pandemic. This did not just help travelers pick the right hotel and room to book but even helped businesses persuade more people to choose them over their competitors.

Since people want to be safe but also be able to ensure that they are investing their money in the right product as they shop online, VR and AR are helping customers get a real feel of the items online so that they feel confident when purchasing them. And when they finally receive the exact product that they tested online via VR and AR, customers feel happy and satisfied and naturally gravitate to the same brand time and again.

Before adopting any specific immersive technology, brands must first assess how AR, VR, or MR can be applied within their system. They must check their products and see how they can be delivered digitally to their customers. Once the appropriate technology is decided, brands must decide how to make it accessible to their customers. It can either be done through apps that customers can download on their smart devices or through web based AR, webVR & web MR which is more accessible and scalable approach.

Summing Up

Immersive technology holds a big potential to help brands enhance their customer service so that their consumers feel more content with the purchases they make during online shopping. With the power of these technologies to connect businesses and customers virtually, the whole customer experience can be improved greatly. VR, AR and MR are surely here to stay for long and though they cannot entirely replace the experience that brick-and-mortar stores offer to the consumers, they can nevertheless still do a lot more than simply showcasing images and videos to the consumers.

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