Next dimension detail: The retail Metaverse prompts growing digital demands for product information

Retailers’ recent Metaverse plays are prompting greater digitally-driven demands for product information, the latest data from Akeneo, the global leader in product experience management (PXM), reveals.

Original research of over 1,800 shoppers in its latest 2022 B2C Survey: Product Experience Satisfaction Around the World’ Report, showed that over two fifths (42%) of UK consumers now want to use Augmented Reality (AR) to find product information in their buying journeys, as more brands and retailers begin to offer Metaverse retail formats.

Following first-move Metaverse plays from luxury and high-end brands including Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana, Selfridges became the first department store to open up a virtual flagship earlier in March.  Featuring 70 brands, its Metaverse flagship allows shoppers the chance to see and explore exclusive Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) by brands including Paco Rabanne in its virtual store, which is also set up to take crypto-payments and accept digital and cryptocurrency.

As well as wanting AR to play a more prominent role in product discovery, other digital formats of product information are now also being demanded by shoppers.  Almost a third (32%) of UK consumers wanted to be able to use voice commerce technology to find out more about the goods and services they are looking to buy, while 37% would be open to using chatbots in the future as part of product discovery in their paths to purchase.

While digital demand for product information is growing, the role of the store in delivering product information remains; 72% of those polled say they use multiple sources and channels when researching a product and deciding what to buy, and a further 81% have started a product search in-store and have gone on to buy it online.

This omnichannel expectation of access to product information becomes even more important as insufficient product information not only leads to lost sales and abandoned purchases, but also risks brand loyalty being diminished.   Six in ten (62%) said they would abandon a purchase due to poor product information, while two thirds (65%) would stop buying from a brand altogether due to poor product details, saying they would lose trust with that retailer.

“The way we shop is rapidly changing and it’s essential to understand not only how and where consumers are engaging with your products, but what their expectations are for your brand.” said Fred de Gombert, CEO at Akeneo. “The product experience that you design for your various online channels must first be consistent and second be continued through all the points where your consumers will be making their purchases and returns, be they digital or physical. This survey provides retailers with a roadmap of what to prioritise when thinking about their omnichannel strategy, with rich and consistent product experiences being at the top of the list.”

For further information on the new ways shoppers now want to discover brands and the role of PIM and PXM in increasing conversions, CLV and loyalty, download the 2022 Global B2C Survey Report: here.

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