More than half of consumers have a positive affinity with technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and voice assistants, and firms using them could see a significant spike in their Net Promoter Scores, according to a study published by Capgemini Institute.
The consulting giant’s dedicated research arm surveyed approximately 8,000 consumers and 1,000 organizations across various sectors and geographies to produce its report, Total immersion: How immersive experiences and the metaverse benefit customer experience and operations.
Immersive experiences were defined in the report as belonging to one of three categories. These included 2D flat user interfaces such as mobile apps, natural and spatial interfaces such as Apple’s Siri, and 3D “extended reality” tools such as those that require special goggles or a headset.
More than half of consumers, or 58 per cent, said immersive experiences would be valuable to them during the product selection and purchase phase of a customer journey. Just under half said immersive experiences would be useful for post-purchase service and support.
Digging a little further, the research tried to identify some of the limits of current e-commerce experiences: 65 per cent of consumers said it can be difficult to make purchase decisions without being able to touch and feel a product.
There were differences in the perceived potential impact of immersive technologies across industries, however. Three quarters of consumers cited retail as a promising market, while 57 per cent cited consumer packaged goods. Banking and insurance scored relatively low at 43 per cent.
Organizations that took part in the survey were equally optimistic. For example, 70 per cent said immersive experiences will be a key differentiator in the future, while 45 per cent believe they will shorten buying cycles.
Realizing the full potential of these technologies, however, may take some time. The report showed that while 22 per cent of companies are piloting project to educate customers through the metaverse, only three per cent are scaling those efforts.
Capgemini Research Institute concluded that while adoption of immersive experiences like VR will likely grow, companies may want to focus in the near term on web-based and mobile experiences.
Consumer-product and retail organizations have aligned their implementation efforts with consumer expectations, with many
brands launching mobile-based apps or experiences,” the report’s authors wrote. “However, there needs to be a broad recognition of consumer hesitation and concerns about the use of headsets.”
360 Magazine Insight
In a year where most customer experience (CX) conversations have been dominated by generative artificial intelligence (AI), it’s almost refreshing to see Capgemini Research Institute take a critical look back at the last overhyped tech trend.
It could be argued that “immersive experiences” is almost too broad a term, given that there are substantial differences in using an AR filter on your phone vs. talking to Amazon’s Alexa. Given that budgets for CX innovation are likely limited amid ongoing economic headwinds, however, the report could be a helpful tool for those trying to prioritize which technologies are best to help them achieve a specific business outcome.
This ungated 92-page report uses a larger than usual sample size and goes into a level of detail that could be invaluable for those trying to make a substantive business case for investing in any of the three immersive experience categories. It also doesn’t just look at customer-facing opportunities but delves into many of the ways immersive experiences could have a positive impact on employee experiences too. A truly valuable resource.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.