Customers are looking for personalization when buying products. Most purchases are made online, therefore companies are turning to advanced technologies to facilitate an interactive and engaging shopping experience for their customers.
The future trend is the use of augmented reality (AR) in customer-oriented chatbots. Today, customers are used to interacting with chatbots when making inquiries and purchasing products. Adding AR to the spectrum opens up a whole new world of surrounding shopping experiences.
Estée Lauder's lip artist chatbot allows you to upload a photo or click on a selfie to try out lipstick tones and see the results instantly. In addition, the bot acts as a personalized beauty consultant - suggests tones according to your skin type, asks questions and gives recommendations on color preferences and about the use of lipsticks.
Depending on what the customer likes, you can click the "Buy Now" button to buy a lipstick from Estée’s website.
The lip artist is one of many examples of how AR increases customer engagement with robots aimed at them. In the following, we will try to define what AR is.
What is augmented reality (AR)?
According to Gartner, augmented reality is the use of real-time information in the form of integrated enhancements to text, graphics, sound, and other real-time objects. Research shows that marketers who use AR see a 10-fold increase in customer engagement time, increasing their focus and effectiveness. Therefore, seven out of ten media providers want to use AR advertising to increase customer engagement. Combined with chatbots, augmented reality gives brands an unlimited opportunity to interact with customers in three dimensions and make the entire customer experience personal, interactive and engaging.
Let's look at some examples and success stories of companies that use AR to increase customer engagement with chatbots.
Skincare brand POND launched an AI-enabled skin diagnostics chatbot called SAL, available in Indonesia via the messaging app and LINE; in Argentina, Colombia, UAE and South Africa via Facebook Messenger.
SAL uses a combination of advanced AI, AR and skin diagnostic technologies to help consumers solve skin care problems in four key areas - uneven skin tone, blemishes, pimples and wrinkles.
It can be difficult for customers to choose the right skincare products, SAL gives them a thorough overview of their skin type and recommends the most effective products. Customers must upload a selfie and complete a short SAL quiz to receive a personal skin diagnosis and product recommendations within minutes.
Messenger’s chatbot of the beauty brand Sephora helps customers to make independent purchasing decisions with the help of the new offer „Sephora Color Match”.
In a partnership with a company, which allows consumers to select and match colors using augmented reality, Sephora Color Match allows users to hold their camera in front of any face or image. The algorithm then automatically detects and presents the detected lipstick and other suitable products from Sephora's makeup selection.
In addition, customers can hold their phones in front of the ads and Instagram photos they admire, and the chat robot helps them find the right products to achieve the look they want. However, this feature is not limited to faces. If users are looking for a specific palette, for a dress or additional products to complement the outfit, they can hold their camera in front of their clothes to find suitable products and get suitable matches.
#3 Madison Reed
Madison Reed, a company that produces hair dyes for haircare at home, communicates with its customers through the Facebook Messenger chatbot Madi. For clients, it is like a professional and personal hairdresser's experience at your fingertips.
Customers need to upload a selfie. Madi detects primary hair color and secondary hair tones through image recognition and hair localization. She then asks questions about the desired result and suggests the perfect hair color that can be purchased at Madison-Reed.com.
With IKEA Place, customers get a dynamic and engaging experience when buying furniture. They feel involved and receive constant information about the usefulness and purpose of the purchase.
The built-in app chatbot helps customers to navigate. The bot helps them to point the camera around wherever they want to place the object in their living space. Customers can customize a piece of furniture according to where they want to put it and test its shape, size and functionality before buying it. In the created AR environment, they can walk around to view the object from different angles.
The benefits of augmented reality and chatbot integration
1. Unique selling point
A brand that uses augmented reality in its chatbot differs from its competitors, it offers something that no one else does. In this case, word-of-mouth marketing alone is enough to make the brand "hot news" and attract customers.
2. Increasing involvement with personalized experience
By showing customers what a particular product looks like for them, augmented reality adds personalization to the shopping experience. Retailers can present their products more effectively and the customer sees the products more clearly and realistically. This results in a customized and engaging shopping experience for customers and a higher business engagement rate.
3. Higher income
Customers want to make informed purchasing decisions. Chatbots based on artificial intelligence understand the customer needs better. Combine this with AR and the customer will have a memorable experience mixing different recommendations, trying different items and choosing the right products. If the customer's decision is informative and smooth, the possibility of return orders also decreases, which increases revenue.
As you can see above, using augmented reality in chatbots is a method that must be used by every industry, whose buyers require visual inspection of the product and testing of its appearance.
The AR chatbot customer experience model allows users to take a closer look at a new range of shoes, try on a lipstick or eyeshadow, and control what the dress looks like on them. They receive customized product recommendations before purchasing while sitting in the comfort of their own home.
Such a unique and immersive experience helps to create a buzz around the brand and increase customer involvement.