Augmented Reality (AR) for small businesses is improving the way smaller companies interact with consumers. This enhanced interaction is attracting, engaging, and winning loyal customers. Even on shoestring budgets, they can use AR to provide remarkable customer experiences during the marketing, sales, and service stages of the customer journey.

AR provides consumers with the opportunity to use their phone to place 3-D images on top of real-world models. People can move furniture around their living room, try on false eyelashes, and see the filling inside of a cake.

As a powerful sales tool, AR, can change a buyer’s opinion about an offering. It can persuade consumers who are between buying and not buying.

Besides being a robust sales tool, augmented reality for small business is a resourceful post-sale tool. This technology allows buyers to use AR self-service support and other service tools to build customer loyalty.

Here are some ways small companies are leveraging augmented reality at every stage of the buying process to win customers.

Augmented Fake Eyelashes

Beauty brands adopted AR early because if can do makeup demos in stores without the time or expense to apply samples to customers.

For example, Battingtion Lashes teamed up with the beauty app and marketing company, FaceCake Marketing Technologies Inc. Together, they created an app that permits people to try on eyelashes using their smartphone.

This kind of app helps customers in the awareness stage of their journey. It answers the question, how will the lashes look on them. Sirine Swed, Chief Executive Officer of Battington Lashes, has said that since the creation of the app, sales had increased 52%.

Piece of Enhanced Cake

For a small bakery like Magnolia Bakery in New York City, keeping normal-size samples of wedding cakes on the premises is unfeasible. The bakery needed to do more than show photos of their cakes to create awareness.

That’s where the app Kabaq comes into the picture. Kabaq allows customers in the bakery to use an iPad Pro to immerse themselves in different cakes with 360-degree views. They can place the cakes on real-life plates. Users can get up close to the cake; virtually almost tasting the filling inside.

Enriched Furniture Shopping

Small furnishing companies that sell off-brand merchandise online have a hard time selling their big-ticket items. The problem is that potential buyers do not have direct experience with their offerings. However, augmented reality has created an effective method to sample expensive items.

Shopify, the e-commerce platform, offers augmented reality for small business. These features allow companies to showcase some products in 3-D. Using a smartphone or tablet camera, people select images of the products, a browser appears and lays a 3-D model onto their screen for a real-world view. Then users can place a lamp on a table.

Horne, a small furnishing company in Pennsylvania, said that sales from items using AR have increased by 15%.

Wayfair, another up and coming furnishing company leveraging augmented reality, sells a lot of off-brand merchandise. However, their “View in Room 3D” app allows users to see whether a red sofa matches the walls of a particular room.

In addition to augmented reality for business improving sales, it also enhances the service after the sale. As a result, long-term relationships and customer loyalty can be cultivated.

Augmented Self-Service Support

More often than not, customers can’t fix small problems by themselves. In this situation, talking to a customer service representative can become frustrating.  AR self-service apps eliminate the need for customer service representative for easy fixes. With this AR app, customers point their phone at a product to see a complete self-service overlay.

This overlay provides customers an FAQ and help sheets that help them fingertips find answers to common questions. This AR app saves time and frees up more of a business’s resources, and when a company give customers the freedom to solve problems on their own, customer satisfaction increases.

Augmented Reality Manuals

Augmented reality for small business increases the goodwill from customers when it helps them use and maintain products over time. Providing this additional support encourages brand loyalty and increases the chance of repeat purchases.

AR for Technical Support

When customers need technical support, the exchange between the customer and the rep can get awkward. The customer knows something is wrong with the product but might have trouble putting the problem into words. With AR customers can point their smartphone camera up to the product, and the agent can identify all the parts in real-time. The agents will know the correct name and model number of the failing appliance. Consequently, resolving the issue faster and providing quality customer service.

Small businesses understand the game-changing capability of AR in their pre-sales, point of sale and post-sale support operations. With smartphones, augmented reality for small business can create incredible value during the marketing, sales and support stages of the buying process.