It is everywhere and now it has made its way into luxury stores and websites. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are transforming the way brands reach out to and connect with their customers. Apart from understanding consumer behaviour through advanced data analytics, these technologies are also enhancing consumer engagement with brands.
The usage of AR, VR and AI is proving to be a game changer in the times of personalisation, says Gurugram-based Abhay Gupta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Luxury Connect and Luxury Connect Business School. An excellent example is cashier-less retail stores such as Amazon Go. Companies are also using AI to track and analyse a consumer’s last buys, his/her preferences and recommend new products accordingly. It also helps brands forecast future trends. AR and VR, on the other hand, are enabling consumers to visualise themselves in a particular product without having to try it.
Enhanced shopping experience
For Google-funded online-to-offline fashion E-commerce platform Fynd, AI, VI and AR are the three pillars on which the organisation functions, says its Co-Founder Harsh Shah. “Our recommendation engine suggests similar products and designs an intuitive feed of goods basis your profile and history. So, in case you are extremely indecisive about whether you need a crop top or a clutch, you can browse through the feed and see other options that you might like. This enhances the customer’s experience of shopping and encourages impulse buys,” he adds.
Fynd is also actively solving some key interaction issues such as handling customers’ queries with machine learning and decoding insights basis clients’ feedback on multiple review platforms. “We saw an immediate rise of 70 per cent in the number of product views per customer once we made the new algorithm live,” says Shah. Also, the new customer care solution directly impacted our net promoter score (NPS), a metric that companies use to measure customer loyalty. As complaint-solving time had decreased, the customers were happier with the service. Fynd will soon add functions that will help consumers measure themselves without having to use a measuring tape and the check whether a lipstick shade suits them or not.
With the help of applied machine learning, the company is also helping stores understand customers and customer purchase patterns. They have designed an in-house solution, Fynd Trak, to utilise the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage of the store and catalogue a customer’s journey within the shop. “We can tag the customer’s repeat visits to a store or any other outlet of the same brand across the country, to study what they like,” says Shah.
Virtual trial stores
Physical retail stores are also following suit by piloting AR or VR-based virtual trials at their stores in India. For instance, Tanishq has implemented MirrAR, an AR software platform, in collaboration with StyleDotMe, a startup focused on the innovative application of AR and AI in the gems and jewellery industry. Using the platform, users can virtually try on the jewellery in real time, without actually having to it.
Similarly, after a successful pilot program at select showrooms, beginning November 2017, New Delhi-based PC Jeweller (PCJ) rolled out AR jewellery buying experience on a real-time basis. In the first phase, the AR experience showcased earrings and necklace catalogues across 11 showrooms in Delhi-NCR. In the following months, the programme was available in outlets across the country. “The new featured increased the sales and eliminated the need of storing large physical inventories, substantially reducing the logistics and security costs. Moreover, the technology provides the customers with an individualised and immersive experience of buying jewellery,” says Nikhilesh Govil, President, PCJ.
AR, VR in real estate
The realty sector too is opting for new technological breakthroughs. The intelligent homes, equipped with AI and machine learning, have taken the buying and living experience to a new level. Tata Housing is building automated voice homes, whereby the functioning can be accessed by an app, which will also enhance the security of the complex. Amit Parsuramka, Senior Vice-President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer– Tata Housing and Customer Relationship Management says, “In this real-time digital world, it is all about being at the right place, at the right time.
The home of the future is the one that provides smart, green living.” While chatbots and voice assistance features are enabling better communication with prospective buyers, technologies such as VR and AR are helping buyers get a close to the real view of the construction. The 5D experience centres at Tata’s luxury projects are designed to enhance the customer buying experience.
AI is altogether redefining the real estate ecosystem and augmenting the data-driven business decision-making, says Lalit Makhijani, Chief Marketing Officer, Godrej Properties Ltd.
“AI bots are helping us push customised offerings and products to our clients, making the real estate acquisition process more convenient.”
Lalit Makhijani, Chief Marketing Officer, Godrej Properties Ltd.