When it comes to finding the right fit, a little technology goes a long way for consumers.
According to the 2017 State of Digital Commerce report by digital marketing firm Episerver, one in five consumers said they would like to see augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) incorporated into their shopping experiences.
With the ability to ‘try on’ different outfits and virtually overlay clothing, AR and VR allow consumers to conveniently shop without the hassle of visiting a store. The report—which was derived from a poll of 1,200 U.K. consumers, 100 marketers and 100 brands—found that VR was a preferred feature for consumers over other tech services, including one-click ordering. Although the demand for this technology is gaining momentum, the report said only 9 percent of marketers have built VR into their campaigns. However leading apparel businesses like Gap are catching on and offering their own virtual fitting room apps.
While the report says many of these attempts at incorporating AR and VR into retail have been gimmicky, it also says that’s OK. “The tipping point for adoption of these tools is not only in making them genuinely useful contextually, but also in making them a fun and immersive experience for customers,” the report said.
Episerver also noted that certain aspects of online shopping like price matching have found their way into stores just as mobile technology is increasing the popularity of shopping from home. With 66 percent of consumers doing most of their mobile browsing at home, the services that allow them to do so are most popular. Of these, one-hour home delivery and VR topped shoppers’ wish lists.
“Our research shows that the vast majority of retailers aren’t even incorporating basic marketing technologies such as personalisation or A/B testing into their campaigns, let alone more advanced capabilities,” Episerver commerce strategist Ed Kennedy told Net Imperative. He added, “Rather than rushing in, both retailers and marketers must focus on developing strong customer experiences–getting the basics right and then layering on experiential aspects such as AR changing rooms.”