Just 20 years ago, no one could have imagined that we will have VR stores and make purchases in two clicks on a smartphone. Algorithms, AR, smart stores, and conscious consumption – another round of transformations awaits customers in the 2020s.
Augmented reality: deep dive
Digital dressing rooms and furniture selection in virtual reality – in the new decade, it will be easier to shop than ever before. Now, according to Nielsen, about half of consumers (51%) are ready to use augmented and virtual shopping (AR/VR) to evaluate products.
By clicking on the Instagram advertisement, you will instantly be able to try on a suit and find a closet of the right size. In autumn 2019, the company Lamoda placed 16 virtual dressing rooms in the center of Moscow and added the function of AR-dressing sneakers in a mobile application. In turn, IKEA introduced a system that allows you to embed virtual furniture in the interior of the apartment, and Nike has created a service Fit for remote selection of sneakers.
AR-filters and smart mirrors of virtual shopping stores will allow us to select clothes with greater precision to the size, which means that we will not have to return the goods once again. Manufacturers will be able to predict demand in advance, producing digital collections and adjusting the product range. Looking for things will also become easier: a smart search on the picture already uses many large retailers – from AliExpress to Lamoda and ASOS.
VR shopping will not pass by the convenience stores either: according to a Nielsen study, 89% of consumers will give up physical shopping if they have a device or technology that fully recreates the experience of visiting a store (including smells, the ability to feel the goods, etc.).
Shop whenever and wherever you want
In 2020, stores will turn into ecosystems covering all spheres of life. Voice assistant will remind you about buying champagne for your birthday, you will see an advertising coupon in the social network with a personalized discount, and the virtual reality store will display the starting page of the offer especially for you.
On the one hand, advertising will become more intrusive and frighteningly accurate – on the other, the process of shopping will become easier.
A new model will come to the forefront – an approach that combines all the tools of communication with the client into one system. You will be able to easily switch between online and offline, move from the mobile version of the store to the desktop version, contact support by phone or in messenger. The priority will be convenience.
Giant Amazon is already working on such a model, cosmetic corporation Sephora and furniture store Crate & Barrel, as well as brands of LVMH.
The boundaries between the physical point of sale and the virtual reality stores will be erased. For example, you will be able to make a purchase through Instagram, pick up at the point of issue in the nearest supermarket, and if necessary, make a return in the flagship store of the retailer.
Conscious consumption: we will learn to take care of nature
Climatic changes, environmental pollution, and excess plastics will force even the most conservative companies to experiment. Awareness will finally become the main trend among buyers and sellers. For example, it is the mass use of recycled plastic in packaging and an extensive network of recycling.
Global giants like PepsiCo, Unilever, Starbucks, Amazon are already making public commitments to reduce the use of plastic, giving up disposable goods, calculating CO2 emissions during the transportation of goods, and so on. Cosmetic brands take empty cans to reuse them, and clothing brands organize collections for recycling. Retailers delivering food (e.g. Crossroads, part of X5 Retail Group) offer customers to return plastic bags for processing through them.
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