A lot has changed when it comes to shopping over the last 18 months. Shopping in-store is still an option, but we know more consumers are turning to online shopping (70 percent of U.S. adults have purchased something online in the last month). Retailers are adapting to the ever-growing e-commerce boom and are investing in new technology like 3D and augmented reality (AR) features to allow for an interactive online shopping experience, but are consumers really utilizing it? And if not, what must retailers do to increase their bottom line and drive repeat visits?
AR and 3D Technology is on the Rise. But Are Consumers Really Using it?
With the implementation of AR, virtual reality (VR) and 3D configurators, consumers no longer feel the need to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. They can shop in the comfort of their own home and interact with products they’re interested in purchasing. There are certain products consumers feel they need to interact with before purchasing, including apparel (35 percent), shoes (34 percent), and household furniture (29 percent).
But are consumers really utilizing AR, VR and 3D technology when it comes to online shopping? A recent consumer survey found that 71 percent of Americans that have shopped online in the last year have never used virtual try-on/AR features. While younger shoppers are more inclined to use these features (33 percent of Americans between 35-54 have used this kind of technology), it’s not resonating with older consumers.
There’s clearly a disconnect; the technology is available, but it’s not being widely adopted by consumers. Retailers need to figure out why this is happening and take action to figure out better ways in which to bring AR, VR and 3D technology into the buying experience — whether it’s investing in new technology or working with existing technology to ensure they aren’t losing out on business.
Consumers Crave Personalization and the Option to Customize
Offering a more personalized shopping experience is something retailers are consistently working towards. Consumers want to feel like the brand they're shopping truly knows them through targeted promotions and offers as well as other personalization technology. To this end, retailers are starting to reveal new ways to engage with shoppers. For example, Stitch Fix, which was known for its subscription offering, has extended to a direct-to-buy option, offering more for consumers. Alternatively, brands such as Benchmade are changing their approach and offering a direct-to-consumer market with a new line of kitchenware that’s appealing to consumers shopping online.
When it comes to the kinds of options consumers want, 36 percent of Americans want to see other products they might like based on items they’ve viewed, 32 percent want the option to customize their purchase, and 29 percent want to view other items often purchased with the product they're currently viewing. For retailers, there’s more work to be done to offer true personalization and customization. Online shoppers need both of these options readily available, as it takes the place of in-store shopping. Therefore, retailers have to offer the consumer an engaging visual experience.
The Bottom Line for Retailers
It’s all about the technology — it’s what’s going to move the needle when it comes to e-commerce — whether it’s preventing fraud, offering more personalization options, or adopting an omnichannel approach that benefits both the in-store and online shopping experience. E-commerce is going to continue to grow, and in order for retailers to retain loyal customers and bring in new ones, they need to take things one step further by offering more personalization and customization features to keep shoppers engaged.
Angelo Coletta is the CEO and founder of Zakeke, a 3D product customization tool.
In 2017, Angelo Coletta founded Zakeke to create a platform to help brands build engaging customer experiences through customization and personalization using 2D, 3D and AR. As CEO of Zakeke, Angelo leads the team’s global mission to own the visual shopping experience. By helping customers have a positive e-commerce experience, Angelo and his team work behind the scenes to make complex technology easy for any brand to adopt with the goal of increasing engagement and driving sales. For more information on Zakeke, visit https://www.zakeke.com/.