What do consumers want when using AR or VR to shop?
It no longer seems like a question of if but when retailers will begin using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to improve the customer experience and drive sales. Recently released research provides some insights into how consumers familiar with the tech want to use it for shopping.
“For retailers, the appeal is obvious,” said Rob Haslehurst, a managing director at L.E.K Consulting, which surveyed 1,000 early adopters for its research. “These technologies are a new way for retailers to do what customers want them to — create compelling shopping experiences and have rich communications with them.”
According to the survey’s finding, 80 percent want to use AR and VR technology to design rooms for their homes. This would involve them browsing virtual or physical showrooms where they can get information about furniture and décor and then use AR/VR to see what their rooms would look like with the items added. L.E.K. pointed to Lowe’s Holoroom and Wayfair’s VR showrooms as examples of retailers putting the technologies to work.
Seventy percent of early adopters want to be able to use AR and VR tech to try on clothing and related accessories and beauty products. As reported earlier this year, Gap is using its DressingRoom app to allows consumers to see how clothes might look on them before purchasing.
Also popular with 70 percent was the idea of using VR headsets to shop in a virtual store or making use of an artificial intelligence “virtual shopper” similar to Alexa or Siri to make purchases. Last year, eBay and the Australian chain, Myer, debuted the first virtual department store. The companies distributed 20,000 free cardboard viewers to increase participation.
L.E.K. says the study findings point to the need for retailers to begin exploring AR and VR tech if they haven’t done so already.
“It enables retailers to unify physical and digital channels — brick-and-mortar retailers can bring digital capabilities into the store experience, and online-only retailers can create virtual ‘stores,’” said Maria Steigoltz, a managing director at L.E.K.
- New Data Shows What Consumers Want From Virtual Reality Shopping – L.E.K Consulting/PRNewswire
- Is Wayfair Amazon-proof? – RetailWire
- Lowe’s takes AR immersion to the next level – RetailWire
- Can augmented reality solve the virtual dressing room problem? – RetailWire
- Will consumers prefer a virtual reality department store to the real thing? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that retailers need to be investigating the use of virtual and/or augmented reality tech for their businesses now, if they haven’t already done so? Do you expect VR or AR applications to be more popular with consumers over the next five years?