Businesses use AR/VR in CRM to boost customer experience

Glossy – Businesses are using augmented reality — and its cousin virtual reality — in applications across many industries. Where CRM is concerned, AR/VR may represent a big leap forward.

The inroads into the enterprise forged recently by augmented reality and virtual reality are already substantial. What was once a game system accessory is now changing the way businesses communicate with customers.

The gaming industry has seemingly delivered what was previously considered a toy but is now highly evolved, low-cost hardware to the enterprise, along with an army of well-trained, experienced VR developers.

Whatever its origins — and however coincidental its current ascension in the marketplace — AR/VR is ready for prime time. And as its two primary strengths are presentation and communication, it is finding its ideal role in CRM and CX.

An augmented customer journey

To discuss the impact of AR/VR in CRM, it’s first necessary to understand the difference between the two. VR is what most people think of right away — an entirely contrived digital environment, like what one sees in a video game. AR, on the other hand, visualizes the real world, but adds something along the way. For example, you may see a picture of an actual living room with a digital chair and lamp inserted into the photo. Both AR and VR have their place in CRM.

In the case of VR, the visualization of places that don’t yet exist becomes possible, such as the realized design of new buildings and the radical remodeling of entire floors within existing buildings. Buyers can walk through a building or renovation project before signing the construction contract.

With AR, the range of possibilities is even greater: there are already smart mirrors, which reflect a customer’s image — but donning an outfit being considered for purchase, a new hairstyle, or different cosmetics and accessories.

According to Zion Market Research, the global AR/VR market will surpass $800 billion by 2025.

Here, there and everywhere

So where is AR/VR taking CRM as it grows? There are a number of areas where it’s taking root and proliferating rapidly.

Retail. One of the most compelling reasons for CRM to employ AR/VR is simple: It attracts customers through its sheer “cool” factor. According to BRP Consulting’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 48% of consumers surveyed said that they are more likely to patronize retailers who use AR. Smart mirrors and immersive experiences are part of the allure, of course. And Macy’s, for example, has implemented VR technology in a number of its locations, enabling customers to shop for furniture.

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