Opening the door to the next wave of digital commerce

Digital commerce has yet to replicate a key aspect of the in-store experience. In stores, consumers can touch and try products before buying them. These interactions help people determine the quality, craftsmanship, dimensions and fit to know if a product meets their needs and expectations. They provide the control, transparency and tangibility that build trust and drive purchasing confidence. After all, experience matters.

Missing link, missed opportunity

As much as consumers love the convenience of digital commerce, there is no purchasing certainty when they shop online for products they haven’t experienced in person. Is this cashmere sweater well made? Does this sofa fit in the living room? Is this lipstick shade flattering? It’s all guesswork and crossed fingers until the product shows up on the doorstep, and people can actually see for themselves.

Brands have tried to solve for this missing link. But product videos, influencer partnerships and generous return policies are not enough. The perceptual divide between physical and digital could cost sales growth opportunities in product categories that consumers buy online today. Brands are also missing out on expanding sales in categories like automotive and luxury that don’t sell well online because people are wary to buy these products from a distance. Yet with consumers more open to buying more categories online in the wake of COVID-19, the pressure is on brands to bridge this divide now.

Immersive technologies: From novelty to utility

Winning in digital commerce takes immersive product and service experiences that give consumers purchasing confidence. Surprisingly, leading consumer brands already understand this. Our analysis reveals that a full 64% are starting to invest in immersive experiences for commerce today. However, many are not investing in ways that are scalable or connected across the business. 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.

64%

Of leading consumer brands are starting to invest in immersive experiences.

Immersive technologies make this next era of shopping experiences possible. These technologies have come of age. What was a quirky novelty just a few years ago has become a powerful utility today. The good news is that technologies like augmented reality (AR), 360° video, 3D content and virtual reality (VR) are not only more sophisticated than ever, they are also very affordable and accessible for brands.

Rori Duboff

Managing Director – Strategy & Innovation, Accenture Interactive

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