Virtual reality not important to in-store shoppers: survey

Virtual reality features are not important to about 48 per cent of the respondents who were surveyed regarding digital in-store experiences by a digital marketing company. In-home voice assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, are growing in adoption, but 65 per cent of shoppers do not consider them important to the customer experience.



Consumers do embrace digital enhancements in retail but prefer technologies that simply add convenience and remove friction from the shopping experience, said Bazaarvoice in its Shopper Experience Index. It surveyed more than 400 brands and retailers and 2,000 consumers across the US, UK, France, and Germany to identify the gaps between what shoppers want and what the industry is delivering.

Half of respondents said it is important or very important for retail stores to have convenient functionality like auto checkout, location-based mobile offers, and online ordering. Despite this, only 20 per cent of brands and retailers said they plan to bring digital in store, and 55 per cent are not at all focused on doing so, highlighting a big opportunity for retailers to evaluate where and how they would like to invest in new in-store technologies long term.

Personalisation is another area that retailers are prioritising but still trying to figure out. A whopping 91 per cent of brands and retailers said that receiving personalised content, offers, and recommendations while shopping online will be significant to the customer experience, and 81 per cent said that using customer data to personalise content modules and product recommendations is a top focus in the next 12 to 18 months.

Almost 51 per cent of shoppers said a homepage that shows products they are looking for, or might be interested in, is useful.

Less than 20 per cent of shoppers said the product recommendations they see are relevant and 38 per cent said they will not return to an online retailer that recommends products that do not make sense for them. This indicates that brands and retailers have yet to crack the code on how to target their customers effectively. An overwhelming 90 per cent of shoppers said that retailers should not send too many emails.

It is well-established that shoppers trust and rely on consumer-generated content (CGC), like ratings and reviews, questions and answers, and visual content pulled from social media when making their purchase decisions. About 56 per cent of consumers said it is important or very important to have this content available when shopping. Currently, 80 per cent of brands and retailers reported that they either have a visual CGC programme or plan to implement one in the next year, and 60 per cent consider visual CGC a standard in e-commerce.

Consumers are spending more time scrolling through their social feeds and engaging with brands — 80 per cent of Instagram users follow at least one business, 45 per cent of online shoppers said they like or follow a brand on social media, and 57 per cent say they have purchased a product they heard about on social media.

Close to 81 per cent of brands and retailers are prioritising integrating social media and online shopping in the next year. However, only 17 per cent of consumers say being able to discover and buy products directly from social media is important. This could be because there are still layers of friction between social media and e-commerce environments or simply because shoppable social feeds are not ubiquitous yet. 

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