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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed consumer behaviour as revealed in a recent global survey by consulting firm Accenture. The study points out that immersive experience in digital commerce using augmented and virtual reality, and 3D technology are nudging the consumer to choose alternative shopping channels.
These immersive technologies seek to replicate in-store shopping experience and provide online shoppers an equivalent experience. Accenture’s report titled ‘Try it. Trust it. Buy it.’ notes that about 47% of the consumers feel these technologies are making them connect with the product.
"Immersive technologies such as conversational AI, AR, VR and 3D content help bridge the physical and digital divide, and are being used by brands to enhance customer engagement, replicate in-store experiences and drive sales," said Anurag Gupta, Managing Director and Lead, Strategy & Consulting, Accenture in India.
Consumers are more satisfied when they can try, touch and buy products online with confidence. They are more likely to become repeat customers and brand promoters, Accenture found in a survey of over 3,000 consumers across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific region.
The consulting firm estimates that consumer confidence jumps by 4% globally when immersive technologies are used in online buying compared to when they are not. About half of the consumers surveyed said they are ready to pay a premium for a product online if it can be customised with immersive technology
Immersive tech in use
There is a growing number of brands that use immersive technology to engage with their customers. Emirates airline is said to be using VR to offer 3D models of the cabin on its website. Travelers can select their seats and preview the environment.
Beauty products maker Dior has launched a VR store based on its flagship location in Paris. The 360°, 3D experience connects customers more to the products and the brand.
Video streaming platform YouTube is said to be offering an AR option for people to virtually try cosmetic products. MAC Cosmetics was the first brand to leverage it. Consumers can test out MAC lipstick and shop while watching makeup tutorials.
Sports brand Nike is using AR to help its customers choose a right fit for their shoes. They can use Nike’s app to measure their feet with their smartphones and get guidance on the right size.
Car maker Toyota’s AR experience helps consumers self-educate in a “choose your own adventure” style. Consumers can select the car model and standard features they want to explore. They can also opt for a virtual car tour available through banner ads on social media.
Accenture estimates that 60% consumers are willing to buy more from brands that will let them interact with and evaluate products, through these technologies.