- Virtual reality (VR) features in retail stores aren't important to 48% of consumers, according to a study by digital marketing company Bazaarvoice. However, half of respondents said it's important or very important for retail stores to have convenient functionality like self-checkout, location-based mobile offers and online ordering.
- While in-home voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are gaining popularity, 65% of shoppers don't consider them important to the customer experience, according to Bazaarvoice's Shopper Experience Index. Consumers mostly prefer technologies that add convenience and remove friction from their shopping experience.
- According to the study, only 20% of surveyed brands and retailers said they plan to bring digital technology into stores, and 55% are not at all focused on doing so. Bazaarvoice surveyed more than 400 brands and retailers and 2,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.
Almost every new technology goes through a stage of being overhyped before realistic expectations manifest as some innovations have a lasting effect on consumer behaviors. As Bazaarvoice's survey indicates, VR technology isn't a game changer for many shoppers who browse product aisles or sort through clothing racks while shopping. For example, the addition of VR displays that help shoppers who are already in stores virtually try on clothes likely doesn't add much value, as they can simply try on the real clothing in the dressing room and feel the product.
While the survey suggests that many consumers don't see voice shopping as important, the market is forecast to grow as the technology evolves and consumers become more comfortable browsing and buying via voice. Purchases made through smart speakers are forecast to surge from $2 billion to $40 billion by 2022 in the U.S., according to a study from OC&C Strategy Consultants. The three most common categories for voice shopping are groceries, entertainment and electronics, while clothing ranks fourth.
Bazaarvoice recommends that retailers pay close attention to the needs of their shoppers and not blindly invest in new tech simply because competitors are doing so. Retailers must become familiar with the technologies and platforms their customers use most frequently to shop and focus on adding value to shoppers' experiences and removing friction from the transaction process.