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While the supposedly infinite potential of Metaversum and AR/VR technology as tools for future online marketplaces has been spun around, the past few years have also seen a decline in sales at several e-commerce companies, prompting some organizations to get back to the drawing board to go it’s about good digital CX. A new report from Productsup has examined consumer tastes and expectations for digital hybrid shopping experiences, with a particular focus on sustainability and the metaverse. For many businesses looking to boost sales in the digital marketplace, the results illustrate an uphill battle: According to the report, 60% of shoppers have no interest in buying virtual goods at all.
With the Metaverse projected to generate $800 billion in revenue by 2024, it’s no wonder forward-thinking companies might be keen to cater to customers not yet interested in online-only spending. Overall, the results from the Productsup report show that customers are most interested in digital CX that offers transparency, accessibility and availability.
In the last decade, sustainability and DEI initiatives have come to the fore in the minds of consumers; When they decide to buy a company’s product, they will inquire about it more and more often why and how a said product is manufactured. Consumers tend to avoid products that end up in landfill, preferring products that are reusable (71%) or recyclable (70%) instead. Despite this, consumers state that information on a product’s reusability (34%) and recyclability (30%) is difficult to find.
For example, it is no longer enough to put a “Fair Trade” or “Biodegradable” seal on the cardboard coffee cups – 43% of consumers not only want a detailed explanation of how the product is biodegradable, but 40% also information proving that the product conforms to its “sustainable” label. “Consumers don’t get distracted by ‘greenwashing,'” said Lisette Huyskamp, chief marketing officer at Productsup. “[Their] Expectations can only be met if product information is managed with a strong P2C [product-to-consumer] Strategy.”
While consumers of all generations want more product information, how that information is best presented depends on each generation. Gen Z are much more embracing the advent of the metaverse and digital-only shopping than their older peers. Similarly, Gen Z are much more likely to prefer information presented via online comparisons (40%) or QR codes (37%). At the other end of the generation spectrum, those over 55 prefer information that is easy to find and included in the product description itself.
After all, customers generally don’t want an “either/or” shopping experience; ie they want access to product information and offers that are accessible in both metaverses and the business. Roughly the same number of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product when an offer is only available in-store or online (55% and 54%, respectively), meaning businesses use coupons and sales in both physical and in-store environments physical form and digital venues. Technology that combines physical and digital shopping is also welcomed: 47% of consumers would make a purchase if, for example, they could access product information via a store’s mobile app during in-person shopping. The use of augmented reality (AR) technology, such as Gadgets such as smart mirrors and mobile filters could also be used to engage consumers in-store (41%) or on the company’s website (42%).
All in all, the results show that while many consumers are looking forward to the expected increases in speed, convenience, and information of the Metaverse and other digital marketplaces, they are not yet ready to give up the best practices of decades past. “In today’s retail world, brands and retailers need to deliver nuanced experiences that are tailored to consumers wherever they shop,” said Huyskamp.
Productsup’s report is based on a survey of nearly 5,700 consumers ages 16 and older in the US and Europe, who were asked about their preferences, expectations and behaviors when it comes to hybrid shopping experiences.
Read Productsup’s full report.
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