The survey also found 43% of consumers were never offered the option of service and support via AR when attempting a household installation or repair. While men were more eager than women to use AR technology for appliance repairs, 37% of women were interested in having remote guidance in assembling a new product.
From research and customer experience, the benefits of digital tools and emerging tech such as AR are clear for the consumer and the company alike. Often used in purchasing goods, these tools can also provide pre- and post-sale support, reducing product returns and repairs for no fault found.
Even as the global market sees signs of recovery, research shows that digital shopping is not about to subside. Online sales of furniture and housewares jumped 41% in 2020 to $36.1 billion, according to Coresight Research, and sales in 2021 are expected continue to grow to $37.3 billion.
At a time in which the retail industry is going through an incredible transformation, customer engagement, experience and satisfaction will be key to retention and growth. The Verint Engagement Capacity Gap Study found that 88% of executives are concerned about managing the growth in volume of customer interactions. Furthermore, 82% of survey respondents believe the challenges of managing customer engagement and experience will grow in 2021, so it makes sense that 78% are invested moderately to highly in artificial intelligence to support CE and CX.
An Accenture April 2021 report further solidified the dramatic rise in current and future reliance on e-commerce. The report showed the proportion of online purchases for products, including essentials, home décor and fashion, by previously infrequent e-commerce users — defined as those who used online channels for less than 25% of purchases prior to the pandemic — increased 343% since the outbreak.
As we start to come out of this pandemic, consumer demand for goods not only skyrocketed in the past year, but it also most certainly and permanently shifted to the digital world. The industry must meet their customers’ needs by offering services — from shopping to support — on their terms. Offering self-help tools and technology such as AR and VR can only enhance CX and the company’s bottom line.
Steven Petruk is president of the global outsourcing division at CGS.