E-commerce has grown 2-5 times faster than before the COVID-19 pandemic according to McKinsey & Company. The pandemic isolating individuals, and people who do not prefer traditional shopping ways to avoid interaction affected this outcome greatly. A lot of stores have turned to operate an e-commerce website/app, especially in the retail industry.
However, the real question the businesses need to ask is whether this online shopping preference is here to stay or not after the pandemic is gone. One can think that most of the online shoppers will start to lose interest as the pandemic starts to go away, but on the contrary, research shows that this e-commerce segment will even grow more in the near future. In this article, we will analyze why this online shopping habit is here for good, and why online shoppers will not only increase in number but also shape the way for “Society 5.0”.
First of all, we need to define the difference between online commerce and traditional commerce. In traditional commerce, although the customer gets to experience the product in real life, the limited number of products reduces the customer's shopping scale. Factors like color and size are often a limitation. However, with technologies like AR, we are now able to experience a product of every size and color in the comfort of our own homes.
E-commerce gives the customer the ability to shop 24/7 and increases accessibility. Today, customers need to try whatever they want at any time of the day. Augmented reality enables customers to try a product virtually even at 4 am in the morning and make a purchase without needing any assistance from the staff. Therefore, going for an all-traditional shopping strategy and not being available 24/7 will make you fall behind your competitors. That's why most companies develop their own mobile apps for shopping. This is a must-have feature for today’s businesses.
Brands can only create a loyal customer base if they can establish trust. At this point, you may be wondering how e-commerce is more reliable than a traditional shopping experience. The latest developments in online payment security services have created a trusted environment. In addition, customers feel safe by reading the product reviews left by other shoppers.
Indeed, research suggests that reviews about the products, which we frequently encounter on the internet, are highly effective in gaining the customer's trust. This is also called “peer-to-peer marketing” and is a very important part of a brand's online presence. Since in real life we can not ask about the opinions of strangers who bought the same product with us, reviews are a life-saver when it comes to shopping online.
Flexible refund and return policies are also another reason why people have started to prefer online shopping more. Knowing that you can always send the product back to its seller, makes people shop without thinking about it excessively. What’s more, the online stores that have augmented reality features observed a decrease in product returns by 25% according to the 2021 Snap Consumer AR Global Report.
After all, trying the product with AR first is as close as it gets to actually experiencing the product. In this way, society is moving towards a new era of digitization by getting rid of traditional methods.
To summarize what we have discussed so far, maybe online shopping was not very appealing to the customer at first due to the technical flaws it had, like the payment and security issues. However, there is an exponential positive development in the customer's sense of trust with the latest developing technologies and people are adopting them fast.
Although we experienced this accelerated digitalization under the weight of a pandemic, online commerce has now achieved to become a part of our daily lives, even routines for some of us, and it is here to stay for good. So if you want to enhance your customers’ online shopping experiences and digitize your products using 3D and AR technologies, you can contact our professional team and learn more about how artlabs can help you bring your products to life.