They're Eager to Design Rooms, Customize Products and Shop with Friends from Across the World - Retailers Need to Get Ready for "V-Commerce," Says L.E.K. Consulting
Boston, MA /PRNewswire/ - Virtual reality shopping is on the way — and now new data shows how consumers want to use it.
Seventy to eighty percent of early tech adopter consumers are eager to use virtual reality technology to design rooms by visualizing furniture and accessories assembled together in virtual "rooms," "trying on" and customizing products like jeans and eyeglass frames, and taking virtual shopping "trips" with friends from across the country or around the world.
Those are among the key findings of a survey of 1,000 early-adopter consumers by global management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting. The results show that "v-commerce" — a blend of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping — is nearly here. Savvy retailers will respond by investing in virtual reality technologies and starting to plan v-commerce strategies. Some — like Lowe's, Alibaba, Wayfair, The Gap, and Sephora — are already making strides.
"V-commerce brings the potential for entirely new shopping experiences and new kinds of added value," says Dan McKone, Managing Director at L.E.K. "But there are risks for retailers — the initial investment is significant, and there are high costs for getting it wrong. Retailers need to do what they've always done — look to their consumers to point the way."
Two kinds of virtual reality shopping are on the way
Retailers are ramping up investment in two kinds of v-commerce technology — "virtual reality" (VR), where consumers use headsets to enter a completely digital world, and more-accessible "augmented reality" (AR), where they use their camera-equipped smartphones to get information (such as prices and color selections) overlaid on a picture of the physical showroom or shopping space.
"For retailers, the appeal is obvious," says L.E.K. Managing Director Rob Haslehurst. "These technologies are a new way for retailers to do what customers want them to — create compelling shopping experiences and have rich communications with them."
Survey shows how early-adopter customers want to use v-commerce
The L.E.K. survey of 1,000 consumers who had already experienced VR and AR technology was conducted in in the spring of 2017. Among the findings that help point the way for retailers:
Unifying physical and digital channels can boost sales
V-commerce offers retailers considerable benefits. L.E.K. Managing Director Maria Steingoltz says "It can create new, special experiences that would otherwise not be possible, and that leads to greater consumer engagement. It enables retailers to unify physical and digital channels — brick-and-mortar retailers can bring digital capabilities into the store experience, and online-only retailers can create virtual 'stores.' And the rich experience can generate more sales — a customer can 'see' a sofa in his or her own living room, and then be shown the cushions, lamps and side tables that go with it."
Retailers that want to take advantage of the v-commerce opportunity should:
"The future of v-commerce is still developing — but it's time for retailers to start investing in it and creating consumer experiences that fill baskets and the revenue pipeline," Steingoltz says.
About L.E.K. Consulting
L.E.K. Consulting is a global management consulting firm that uses deep industry expertise and rigorous analysis to help business leaders achieve practical results with real impact. We are uncompromising in our approach to helping clients consistently make better decisions, deliver improved business performance and create greater shareholder returns. The firm advises and supports global companies that are leaders in their industries — including the largest private and public sector organizations, private equity firms and emerging entrepreneurial businesses. Founded more than 30 years ago, L.E.K. employs more than 1,000 professionals across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. For more information, go to www.lek.com.
SOURCE: L.E.K. ConsultingCopyright 2017 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved