Immersive technologies — i.e., augmented reality (AR), 360° video, 3D content and virtual reality (VR) — are advanced, affordable and increasingly being welcomed by consumers looking for greater confidence in making online purchases, according to a recent study.The research from Accenture Interactive describes immersive technologies as the “missing link” between the trust that comes from touching and trying products before buying in-store and the doubts that come from online purchases.
“The reality is that rotating a 3D model of a designer handbag or seeing a 360° video of an oceanfront rental home is more than a cool interaction. It is an exercise in truth seeking,” wrote Accenture in the study. “Unlike anything else in digital commerce, immersive experiences provide accessibility and tangibility.”
The tech’s potential was shown through a global survey taken in March among 3,000 consumers who relied on immersive technologies to evaluate and/or purchase a product and/or service online over the previous six months.
Asked about their top motivations for trying out immersive technologies when shopping online, the top answers were:
- Viewing products without visiting the store, 52 percent;
- Assessing product features and capabilities, 42 percent;
- Experiencing products before purchasing, 42 percent;
- Increasing confidence in purchasing decision, 39 percent;
- Changing, customizing or personalizing products, 29 percent.
The study found that of all the media that influence purchasing, immersive technology is the only one that consumers see growing in the future — only store visits, customer reviews and online search ranked higher as a purchase influencer.
Accenture’s analysis revealed that 64 percent of “leading consumer brands” are starting to invest in immersive experiences for commerce. However, the firm believes many are not investing in ways that are scalable or connected across the business.
Accenture wrote, “They are investing in pockets, doing things like uploading 3D models on product pages, curating personalized make-up palettes and hosting virtual fashion shows to bring people closer to products in the digital world. Winning in digital commerce takes immersive product and service experiences that give consumers purchasing confidence.”