When interest in the metaverse faded as AI marched to the top of priority lists in the new year, some thought that brand and retail marketers were abandoning previous plans to incorporate immersion as a next-gen tech tool, but not surprisingly it was just a slight detour to allow time for embracing AI more fully because—you guessed it—AI will take immersion to an even higher level, and quickly. Now, more than half (55 percent) of US brands surveyed are re-upping those plans, saying they will “definitely” increase their investment in immersive experiences over the next three years, according to a new executive research study by Coresight Research and experiential e-commerce platform Obsess.
The survey of 150 US-based brands and retailers across the fashion, beauty, CPG/FMCG and home categories also found that, on average, immersive experiences rank the third-highest investment priority overall for brands and retailers over the next 12 months, behind e-commerce and mobile user interfaces/website agility, and marketing campaigns/influencer marketing. Immersive experiences ranked higher than supply chain agility/logistics, payments, product R&D, store renovations, loss prevention technology, and employee training and development.
In order of investment priority in the next 12 months, the following immersive experiences rank top of mind for brands and retailers:
- Data/AI-enabled content for personalization
- VR/AR-enabled virtual try-on
- Virtual stores
- Virtual events/fashion shows
- Social shopping
- Gamified shopping experiences
“By leveraging immersive experiences such as virtual stores, data/AI-enabled content for personalization, social shopping and gamified shopping experiences, brands and retailers are poised to deliver more meaningful, engaging and personalized shopping journeys,” said Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research, in a news release. “Our data shows that retailers of all kinds are looking to prioritize these types of investments, which will lead to increased customer acquisition, customer loyalty, conversion and, ultimately, business growth. This technology continues to show real business impact.”
All respondents in the survey stated that their companies are considering increasing their investment in immersive experiences over the next 10 years—with a significant 86 percent stating that they “definitely” will.
“In today’s fast-changing retail landscape, brands and retailers have a unique opportunity to harness the power of immersive experiences to redefine customer engagement,” said Neha Singh, CEO and founder of Obsess, in the release. “The accelerated adoption of immersive experiences, particularly virtual stores, which we found increased total sales for 88 percent of brands surveyed, have now reached scale with a proven impact on conversion and sales. The emphasis on personalized content also suggests that brands and retailers recognize the urgency and importance of tailoring immersive experiences to individual preferences.”
Additional key findings:
- 61 percent of all surveyed companies have invested in virtual stores
- 88 percent of brands and retailers that have invested in virtual stores have seen significant or moderate increases in total sales as a result
- 77 percent of surveyed companies that have invested in virtual stores have seen an increase in click-through rates
- 67 percent of brands and retailers that have invested in virtual stores have seen an increase in new customers
Data/AI-enabled content for personalization
- 71 percent of surveyed brands and retailers have invested in data/AI-enabled content for personalization
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) of companies that have invested in data/AI-enabled content for personalization reported significant or moderate increases in online sales
- 40 percent of surveyed companies have invested in gamified shopping experiences
- 77 percent of brands and retailers that have invested in gamified shopping experiences have seen significant or moderate increases in online sales as a result
- 65 percent of all surveyed companies have invested in social shopping
- 78 percent of brands and retailers that have invested in social shopping have seen significant or moderate increases in online sales as a result