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Flevy Management Insights Q&A
How is the rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology impacting Customer Journey Mapping strategies?

This article provides a detailed response to: How is the rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology impacting Customer Journey Mapping strategies? For a comprehensive understanding of Customer Journey Mapping, we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to Customer Journey Mapping best practice resources.

TLDR The integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into Customer Journey Mapping offers immersive experiences that transform customer interactions, necessitating strategic updates to accommodate these technologies for improved engagement and data-driven insights.

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The rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology is significantly reshaping Customer Journey Mapping strategies across various industries. These technologies offer immersive experiences that are transforming how customers interact with products and services, thereby requiring organizations to rethink and redesign their customer journey maps to accommodate these innovations. The integration of VR and AR into customer experience strategies not only enhances engagement but also provides organizations with a competitive edge in understanding and meeting customer needs more effectively.

Understanding the Impact of VR and AR on Customer Journey Mapping

VR and AR technologies have introduced a new dimension to Customer Journey Mapping by enabling more interactive and personalized customer experiences. For instance, VR can transport customers to virtual environments where they can interact with a product or service in a highly immersive manner. AR, on the other hand, overlays digital information onto the physical world, enhancing the real-world experience with additional content. This shift necessitates organizations to incorporate touchpoints specific to VR and AR experiences in their customer journey maps. It's not just about adding a new channel; it's about understanding how these technologies change the way customers perceive and interact with the brand at various stages of their journey.

According to a report by Gartner, by 2022, 70% of enterprises were expected to be experimenting with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use, and 25% will have deployed them to production. This indicates a significant shift towards the adoption of VR and AR technologies, emphasizing the need for organizations to adapt their Customer Journey Mapping strategies accordingly. The immersive nature of VR and AR can significantly enhance the exploration and evaluation phases of the customer journey, providing customers with a unique and engaging way to interact with products and services before making a purchase decision.

Moreover, the integration of VR and AR into Customer Journey Mapping strategies allows for the collection of detailed behavioral data. Organizations can track where customers look, what they interact with, and how long they engage with VR and AR content. This data is invaluable for understanding customer preferences and behaviors in a way that traditional analytics cannot match. By leveraging this data, organizations can create more personalized and effective customer experiences, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.

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Real-World Examples of VR and AR in Customer Journey Mapping

Several forward-thinking organizations have already started integrating VR and AR technologies into their Customer Journey Mapping strategies with notable success. For example, IKEA's AR app, IKEA Place, allows customers to visualize how furniture would look in their home before making a purchase. This AR experience addresses a common customer pain point in the furniture buying process—uncertainty regarding size, style, and fit—thereby enhancing the decision-making phase of the customer journey. By addressing this concern, IKEA not only improves customer satisfaction but also potentially reduces the rate of product returns.

In the automotive industry, Audi has leveraged VR to offer potential buyers a customizable and immersive experience of their desired car model. Through Audi's VR experience, customers can configure their car and explore different features and options in a highly realistic and interactive environment. This use of VR technology enriches the exploration phase of the customer journey, allowing customers to engage deeply with the product in a way that was previously impossible in a physical showroom.

Similarly, in the retail sector, Sephora's Virtual Artist app uses AR technology to allow customers to try on makeup virtually. This AR experience enhances the evaluation phase of the customer journey, enabling customers to experiment with different looks without the need for physical product trials. Such an innovative approach not only improves customer engagement but also drives sales by providing a risk-free way for customers to explore and discover new products.

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Strategic Considerations for Integrating VR and AR into Customer Journey Maps

While the potential benefits of integrating VR and AR into Customer Journey Mapping are clear, organizations must approach this integration with strategic consideration. It is essential to start by identifying the stages of the customer journey that can most benefit from immersive experiences. Typically, the exploration, evaluation, and post-purchase phases offer the most opportunities for enhancement through VR and AR. Organizations should focus on these areas to create impactful and memorable customer experiences.

Additionally, it is crucial for organizations to ensure that VR and AR experiences are seamlessly integrated into the overall customer journey. This means that these technologies should not stand alone as gimmicks but should be integrated into a broader strategy that enhances the customer experience at multiple touchpoints. For example, VR and AR experiences should be easily accessible, provide real value to the customer, and be consistent with the brand's messaging and aesthetics.

Finally, organizations must consider the technical and resource implications of integrating VR and AR into their Customer Journey Maps. Developing immersive experiences requires significant investment in technology and skills. Organizations should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the investment in VR and AR technologies aligns with their overall customer experience strategy and business objectives. Moreover, ongoing measurement and optimization of VR and AR experiences are essential to ensure they continue to meet customer needs and drive business value.

In conclusion, the rise of VR and AR technologies offers exciting opportunities for organizations to enhance their Customer Journey Mapping strategies. By creating immersive and personalized experiences, organizations can engage customers in new and meaningful ways, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. However, the successful integration of these technologies requires careful strategic planning, a focus on enhancing specific stages of the customer journey, and a commitment to ongoing optimization and measurement.

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Best Practices in Customer Journey Mapping

Here are best practices relevant to Customer Journey Mapping from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our Customer Journey Mapping materials here.

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Explore all of our best practices in: Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping Case Studies

For a practical understanding of Customer Journey Mapping, take a look at these case studies.

Customer Journey Refinement for Construction Materials Distributor

Scenario: The organization in question operates within the construction materials distribution space, facing a challenge in optimizing its Customer Journey to better serve its contractors and retail partners.

Read Full Case Study

Improved Customer Journey Strategy for a Global Telecommunications Firm

Scenario: A global telecommunications firm is facing challenges with its customer journey process, witnessing increasing customer churn rate and dwindling customer loyalty levels.

Read Full Case Study

Customer Journey Mapping for Cosmetics Brand in Competitive Market

Scenario: The organization in focus is a mid-sized cosmetics brand that operates in a highly competitive sector.

Read Full Case Study

Enhancing Consumer Decision Journey for Global Retail Company

Scenario: An international retail organization is grappling with navigating the current complexities of the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ).

Read Full Case Study

Enhancing Customer Experience in High-End Hospitality

Scenario: The organization is a high-end hospitality chain facing challenges in maintaining a consistent and personalized Customer Journey across its global properties.

Read Full Case Study

Retail Customer Experience Transformation for Luxury Fashion

Scenario: The organization in question operates within the luxury fashion retail sector and is grappling with the challenge of redefining its Customer Decision Journey to align with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

How is the rise of AI and machine learning transforming the personalization aspect of the customer journey?
The rise of AI and ML is revolutionizing personalization in the customer journey by enabling dynamic, predictive, and engaging experiences through data analytics, predictive analytics, and real-time personalization, significantly enhancing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business growth. [Read full explanation]
How can companies leverage AI and machine learning more effectively to predict changes in consumer behavior during the Consumer Decision Journey?
Companies can gain Competitive Advantage by leveraging AI and machine learning to analyze data across the Consumer Decision Journey, enabling personalized marketing strategies and improved customer satisfaction. [Read full explanation]
How does Customer Journey Mapping integrate with agile methodologies in product and service development?
Integrating Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) with Agile methodologies enhances product and service development through a dynamic, customer-centric approach, prioritizing features based on customer experience and encouraging continuous feedback, leading to improved customer satisfaction and operational performance. [Read full explanation]
In what ways can the alignment of internal teams around the customer journey enhance overall business performance?
Aligning internal teams around the Customer Journey enhances Business Performance by improving Customer Satisfaction, driving Operational Efficiency, fostering Innovation, and boosting Revenue Growth and Market Position. [Read full explanation]
How do generational differences (e.g., Baby Boomers vs. Gen Z) affect the Consumer Decision Journey, and how should companies adapt their strategies accordingly?
Companies must adapt their Consumer Decision Journey strategies to cater to Baby Boomers' preference for traditional media and in-person experiences and Generation Z's inclination towards digital platforms, social responsibility, and personalized experiences to effectively engage these diverse demographics. [Read full explanation]
What role does employee training play in optimizing the customer decision journey, and how can businesses implement effective training programs?
Employee training is crucial for optimizing the customer decision journey, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty through skills development and strategic training programs aligned with company objectives. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: Customer Journey Mapping Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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