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Firsthand experience of products important to e-commerce sales, study finds

30 July 2018 - 14:23 by Simon Crisp

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A survey commissioned by PushOn has found that four out of five consumers prefer to experience a product up close so that they can see it in person and actively touch it before subsequently snapping it up online.

45 per cent said that this desire was mostly based on the fact that they would not feel comfortable committing to a purchase unless they could feel confident that the product they were buying met their expectations.

40 per cent said that this issue could be addressed if more retailers adopted augmented reality, allowing them to see a virtual product transposed on a real backdrop in full 3D. This would make safe shopping online more akin to high street outings, although it would not address the inability to make physical contact with an item offered on an e-commerce site.

Almost a third indicated that they would be more likely to buy online if there was the option to gain assistance from artificial intelligence, effectively stepping into the role of a store employee in bricks and mortar retail, but in a digital space.

Clearly, this report demonstrates that there is strong demand for the integration of cutting-edge technologies across web-based retail platforms. In particular, it is the absence of true firsthand product engagement that seems to be preventing more people from buying online with increased frequency.

Of course, this means that retailers will need to continue investing in their e-commerce offerings since it seems that consumers are increasingly aware of technologies such as AR and AI, in addition to having an idea as to how these might be applied to online shopping to make the experience more engaging. However, it may be some years before the adoption of such technologies becomes truly widespread.