Virtual Reality: The new shopping trend?

There have been countless discussions over how the last year and a half has changed the way consumers shop; and what that means for businesses and consumers moving forward post Covid-19. Technology seems to be the solution according to new research. 

According to business transformation agency, Valtech, many UK shoppers would welcome the use of various digital innovations to make future purchases more convenient. The agency sent out a questionnaire to over 1,000 UK consumers about their shopping preferences post Covid-19, providing interesting results. 

Amongst the feedback, 71% of consumers stated that they would be happy to use a Virtual Reality headset to browse through stores; whilst 64% would 3D print products from home in order to avoid physical stores. Consumers between the ages of 55 to 64 are still concerned about entering physical stores due to Covid-19. 

‘Smile to pay’ services, which has already been used in China, is another initiative consumers would be happy to use to purchase items (60%). 

The use of AR (Augmented Reality) has been popular with online retailers to give shoppers a chance to try on makeup and clothes, however, this could be set to be a regular experience for customers. 

UK Managing Director at Valtech, Chris Daplyn, believes the pandemic has encouraged consumers to try and adapt to technology which they would have initially rejected. 

“For retailers this means big changes. With many brands still struggling to keep up to date with basic technologies like click and collect or one-click purchasing, the sudden shift to innovative technologies like VR is going to take its toll. Brands that want to keep up with growing consumer demand need to rethink the way they provide experiences to customers, and that means being open to experimenting with the latest technologies.

“Before they can do that though, brands need to get the basics right. A lot of these tools rely heavily on having access to customer data and having the right digital ecommerce infrastructures in place. If UK retailers don’t get the fundamentals right, they’ll always be playing catch up with these larger trends.” Daplyn added. 

The shift in consumer behaviours has forced businesses to provide digital solutions to customer needs much earlier than they would have intended. Just as how consumers are searching for trends and experiences that match their needs, businesses are also experimenting the best digital innovations to carry on a strong relationship with their customers. 

We may all have to get used to wearing VR headsets soon.