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One thing all businesses have in common is their goal of achieving customer satisfaction which is critical to gaining new customers and keeping the ones you have. Customer satisfaction has two primary drivers, 1) product performance, 2) customer experience. While Augmented Reality (AR) is being used to impact the first, this article will provide examples of how it is being used to improve the second driver, customer experience. Think about your customers, how would they describe their experience interacting with your business? Are there pain points they encounter that you hear about frequently? Imagine how your business could grow if you could eliminate some of these pain points. Labs8 is excited about how Augmented Reality technology addresses customer pain points and delivers enhanced customer experiences.  We hope these examples of companies using AR to improve their customers’ experiences will inspire you to consider the solutions AR offers your business.

Augmented Reality makes shopping experiences easier

For retailers looking for ways to differentiate their brand beyond price, Augmented Reality brings solutions. The enhanced shopping experience offered by AR is projected to generate $120 billion in revenue by 2020.

On top of the revenue AR can bring, is the positive impact this technology can have on your brand image, especially among millennials who value innovative technology and are projected to become the largest adult population group by 2019. 

IKEA was one of the groundbreaking retailers to use Augmented Reality to improve the buying experience for their customers. We have probably all purchased furniture we love in the store but feel very differently when we see it in our living room.  Back in 2013 IKEA launched their first AR app allowing customers to overlay 3D images of products while looking through the camera on their smartphone to see how the piece looks in their home. So much easier than bringing it home and taking it back to the store because it didn’t look the way you thought it would. IKEA has continued using Augmented Reality technology with their recent ARKit creation, IKEA Place.

Timberland, an apparel retailer,  is using AR to make the fitting room experience easier for their customers. Timberland has created virtual fitting rooms using Kinect technology. They placed this virtual fitting room in the front store window where shoppers simply stand in front of the mirror to try on various outfits before they even enter the store. Learn more.

Augmented Reality improves Air Travel experiences 

With airports busier than ever, a feeling of dread rather than delight is what most travelers experience at the start of their business trip or vacation. This negative feeling can be intensified when traveling with young children or during peak periods like holidays or Summer. But some airports and airlines are using Augmented Reality technology to create enhanced experiences that may transform the negative perceptions about air travel currently held by many travelers.

At Heathrow Airport in London, the Around the World with Mr. Adventure app. was recently launched to offer families traveling with young children a better airport experience.  Using their smartphones, parents and children can scan markers placed in the terminals to take pictures with various characters. They can also use their smartphone cameras to identify digital badges hidden around the terminals or play a 3D animated video where they can interact with the characters. Parents may be faced with a new struggle of getting their children to leave the airport and board the plane.

Just across town, Gatwick airport has launched a blue dot navigation and Augmented Reality wayfinding tool to enhance the airport experience for their customers. This was accomplished by installing beacons throughout the terminal to communicate the traveler’s location to a mobile app on their smartphone. Using their camera feature, travelers can get directions to baggage check, security gates or wherever they need to go. Learn more. 

American airlines customers flying out of their main hubs can also find the most direct route to gates, airport clubs and restaurants by using the American Airlines mobile app on their smartphones.  The tool provides travelers turn by turn directions so they can get to where they need to go easily and on time. Learn more.  

We expect to see more AR applications used by airports and airlines as they strive to create seamless travel for their customers and change perceptions by bringing some delight to the air travel journey.

Augmented Reality delivers better vacation experiences

Don’t expect the AR experiences to end once travelers arrive at their destinations. The vacation industry is also focused on enhancing their customers’ experiences using innovative technology.

In their effort to make each of the thousands of cruise passengers feel like they are on their own private cruise, Carnival cruise line launched the Regal Princess last summer. This is the first cruise ship to undergo a full technological makeover which included the addition of multiple Augmented Reality applications. This ship is designed to take personalized service to a new level. The new technology includes providing passengers with Ocean Medallions to wear on their wrists which provide ship crew information regarding each passengers specific needs and preferences. Sensors have been placed throughout the ship to recognize each passenger and cater to their every need. Learn more

Starwood hotels uses technology to offer their SPG (Starwood Preferred Guests) enhanced experiences. Starwood has eliminated a major pain point for their members, the check-in-process. Through a combination of beacon, Augmented Reality and bluetooth technology,  members check-in on their smartphone and receive keyless entry to their rooms without needing to stop at the front-desk. Learn more. 

We hope these examples of how Augmented Reality is improving experiences for customers has stirred up ideas of how AR can deliver enhanced experiences for your customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the possibilities AR can offer your business, we would like to help.

Learn more about the AR solutions we are working on at Labs8.