As the pandemic progresses, old school showrooms are becoming a thing of the past, and consumer shopping habits are evolving to reflect our ever-changing digital reality.
This is where we say “Hello” to augmented reality (AR).
AR enables sales teams to offer compelling, immersive buying experiences for all customers, no matter their location. It’s inclusive (unlike VR, no specialist equipment is needed for setup), it’s personalized, and it builds sticky customer relationships that endure.
AR is hugely beneficial to manufacturers of engineer-to-order products that need to display and demo configurable products to prospects. It’s as if AR and product configurators were made for each other; the symbiosis is unreal.
Join us as we go through what you need to know about AR in product configurators and why AR will make your company’s bottom line skyrocket.
- All about augmented reality (AR)
- Why it will rock the future of visual product configurators and earn you more
- It’s up to you to decide
Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Manufacturing with CPQ
Technology has progressed more rapidly than business processes for manufacturers, and it’s time to redress the balance.
The Basics of Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is an emergent Fourth Industrial Revolution technology.
It overlays a digital representation of a product onto the physical world, as viewed through the camera on a mobile device.
For example, customers interested in purchasing a new door for their property can hold their phone up to their house and see a computer-generated image of their chosen door in situ.
In this way, it lets buyers experience products before purchasing. It also enables manufacturers to sell configurable products without physically manufacturing them.
Sure, AR is fun to use and a cool way to market your products. The real value, however, lies in how it enhances the decision-making process and boosts conversions.
How Is It Different from Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality, or VR, is the use of computer technology to create a 3D simulated environment.
The person can move around, explore, and interact with objects inside the computer-generated scene (think: operating a piece of heavy machinery in the field).
The difference between AR and VR lies in the devices they require and the overall experience. Some important distinctions are that:
- AR uses the real world, while VR takes place in a simulated reality.
- AR users have more control, while VR users are at the mercy of the VR system.
- AR can be accessed via smartphone. VR requires a headset and additional sensors.
- AR is inexpensive to implement, VR is expensive.
- AR is a (relatively) mature technology, VR is less developed.
In short, neither is inherently better than the other.
They each provide different experiences for the user, and when used in tandem, they can prove even more powerful tools for those creating highly customizable, configurable products.
Both augmented reality and virtual reality will transform the CPQ process for the better. It’s just that AR is cheaper for both buyers and sellers and easier to implement. (Epicor CPQ users can harness AR immediately, VR takes more work.)
Why AR Will Rock the Future of Visual Product Configurators – And Skyrocket Your Bottom Line
Interesting fact: 40% of shoppers will willingly pay more for a product if they can test it through AR
Think of it this way: That’s almost half of your potential customer base who will not only purchase from you but pay a premium price.
That’s just one of the reasons to use AR in your product configurators. Here are some other key reasons:
AR Reduces Pre-Purchase Anxiety
The decision to purchase a highly configurable product without having a chance to see it first, in real-life or in action, is a gamble. The more expensive the product, the higher the stakes – engineer-to-order products tend to be big-ticket items.
What if you have to return it because it’s not what you expected? Maybe some components don’t work as you’d imagined, or the added features simply aren’t what they were cracked up to be.
Because AR provides users a completely immersive experience, it reduces the usual pre-purchase anxiety that comes with this decision.
There Are Fewer Post-Purchase Returns and Disputes
According to a global survey from UPS in 2019, 27% of consumers have returned goods because they were “not as described.”
So again, with AR, customers make an informed purchase as they can configure their products in real-time. They try before they buy and know exactly what they’ll receive.
Therefore, there are minimal complaints, chargebacks, returns, and refunds.
Companies that Use 3D Product Configurators With AR Convert More
According to research from Facebook’s AR partner Vertebrae, retailers who used AR technology during COVID-19 increased customer conversion rates by 90%, compared to those who didn’t.
AR Improves Customer Engagement and Relationships
When users can trust you to deliver on what you promise, that stimulates likability, a critical factor in getting repeat business. The same Vertebrae study found that AR increases customer engagement by 19%.
AR Improves Internal Communication
When you incorporate AR into the configure, price, quote (CPQ) process, collaboration between sales, engineering, and manufacturing dramatically improves.
Every department speaks the same visual language when products are created with AR. So, there’s no room for slip-ups from miscommunication.
AR Provides Real-Life, On-Screen
Since AR overlays a digital model of the product in your physical world, it allows a sense of spatial awareness that’s not found on websites with standard product photography.
You can scale it to your house, bedroom, closet, warehouse, workshop – wherever you’ll end up using the final product.
Moreover, because the digital representations are in 3D, they’ll be extremely close to an exact match of the real thing.
And Finally, It’s More Inclusive
With AR, you don’t need a bulky headset or any special hardware to use it. It’s an immersive technology that can be accessed anywhere at any time, as long as the user has a mobile device handy.
Will You Advance or Get Left Behind?
The customers have spoken, and the trends are clear.
If you want your company to stand out in our (increasingly) noisy digital world, allowing your users to configure their own highly customizable products in an immersive digital experience is the answer – and the solution is with AR.
When used in tandem with other features, such as automated proposal drawings and core system integrations, your company will elevate the selling experience while streamlining the entire production process.
So, if you’re an engineer-to-order company in the market for an AR-ready solution, look no further than a 3D product configurator like Epicor CPQ.