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SURVEY: Retail Stores Go Virtual

Survey Shows Shoppers Want More Exciting and Immersive Online Experiences

We’ve become accustomed to the ease and convenience of online shopping with packages delivered to our doorsteps with just a few clicks. But, there’s still something to be said about the experience of wandering the aisles of your favorite retail stores.

We wanted to understand how consumers felt about shopping during the 2020 holiday season, so we polled 1,000 U.S. adults to learn about their preferences. It was no surprise that 93% plan to shop online, but 70% expressed missing the physical experience of walking around the store and browsing product displays.

Brick and mortar retailers have been challenged for the better part of a decade as shoppers have increasingly moved their purchases online. But the past year has been especially difficult for retailers of all sizes to compete – even with an online presence. Innovative businesses like Scott’s Scuba Service, Happier Camper, and Humanscale are creating a competitive edge with immersive shopping experiences that combine e-Commerce with a virtual digital twin of their stores.

In our survey, we showed respondents an example of a 3D retail store experience that allowed them to “walk around,” browse, zoom in on products, and purchase them similar to the physical world. We found that 74% felt that the 3D virtual store was a more exciting experience when shopping online, and 75% were more interested in shopping in 3D rather than 2D photos.

Due to Covid-19, it makes sense that 80% of the respondents are shopping online more because of safety concerns. With the ability to shop from the comfort of their own homes and avoid crowds in-store, the verdict was clear: 73% would prefer to shop a 3D virtual store.

Surprisingly, the constantly-connected Gen Zers were the smallest group to prefer virtual shopping experiences (60%) compared to Baby Boomers (73%), Gen Xers (75%), and Millennials (74%).

The good news for brick-and-mortar retailers? There’s a significant appetite for an immersive shopping experience and it remains untapped – almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents had never shopped in a 3D virtual store

Tremendous potential awaits those retailers that go virtual and take their unique and well-crafted store brand along as well. This creates a more compelling and memorable experience in a crowded e-Commerce landscape where differentiators are noticed by shoppers who witness endless look-a-like product listings. Shoppers this holiday season are craving online expediency combined with the store browsing capabilities provided by 3D virtual tours, and Matterport makes it simple to create them. Retailers can learn more and even try it for free with their iPhone here.

Retail Infographic

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