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How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

by | May 24, 2022 | Public Relations

New research from product-to-consumer (P2C) software firm Productsup reveals that knowing more information about products is one of the top factors that would entice consumers (35 percent) to shop with a different brand or retailer—highlighting how companies can meet global consumer demand for product information, which is hurting sales across all channels.

The firm’s new report, The Commerce Shortfall, is based on a survey of nearly 5,700 consumers aged 16 and up across the US and Europe, asking about their preferences, expectations, and behavior toward hybrid shopping experiences—focusing specifically on shopping sustainably and in the metaverse.

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

Key findings from the report include:

Sustainability information is crucial in shopping decisions but hard to find

Globally and across all age groups, 88 percent of consumers value sustainability, and 67 percent of shoppers are more likely to purchase products if sustainability information is well-presented.

Consumers insist on prioritizing products that will not end up in a landfill, and instead prefer ones that are reusable (71 percent) or recyclable (70 percent). Despite this, consumers say information on a product’s reusability (34 percent) and recyclability (30 percent) is difficult to find.

Companies can also leverage relevant sustainability information to build consumer trust. The data shows providing further explanation of what makes a product organic, free-range, or eco-friendly is the leading step to boost consumer trust in ethical brands and products (43 percent). Conversely, supporting causes in line with sustainability labels (27 percent), partnerships with global non-government organizations (26 percent), and positive press about ethical practices (22 percent) were the least influential, as they could be seen as “cause-washing.”

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

Metaverse products and experiences need to have real value

Considering sales for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are declining, the report reveals this may be because many consumers (60 percent) still aren’t interested in buying virtual-only goods.

However, there are clear signs that this will change, with 40 percent of shoppers currently excited to buy virtual products that will enhance their experience. This is especially true for younger generations as acceptance of virtual goods was twice as high for those aged 16-24 (50 percent) compared to those aged 55+ (26 percent).

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

To successfully drive sales in the metaverse, companies need to ensure their products and experiences match consumer preferences. Almost half of consumers (46 percent) said experiencing life-like features virtually, such as seeing a digital painting in their home using augmented reality glasses, is the leading factor that would entice them to make a purchase in the metaverse. Faster return processes (45 percent) and the ability to place an order in the metaverse for a physical product that is delivered in the real world (44 percent) are other leading factors.

Most interested in making purchases in the metaverse are consumers based in Spain (63 percent), Italy (55 percent), and the USA (47 percent), while the least interested are Denmark (31 percent), the UK (32 percent), and Norway (36 percent).

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

“As the hype for shopping in the metaverse increases, there is an expectation for bigger, better virtual experiences,” said Marcel Hollerbach, chief innovation officer at Productsup, in a news release. “Yet our research suggests that the same principles of commerce that apply now will also rule metaverse engagements. Businesses looking to enter the metaverse will need to ensure their tech stacks can handle an unprecedented influx of data flows to support faster speeds, more channels, and new innovations.”

Omnichannel is old news

Today’s shoppers want hybrid experiences—physical, digital, and virtual. Globally, respondents revealed they were more likely to make a purchase if their shopping experience includes a mobile app that provides more product information while shopping in-store (47 percent), as well as virtual and augmented reality while shopping online (42 percent).

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

“In today’s commerce world, brands and retailers need to deliver nuanced experiences tailored to consumers wherever they shop,” said Lisette Huyskamp, chief marketing officer at Productsup, in the release. “Consumers aren’t distracted by “green-washing,” and they expect the metaverse to be as good as real life. These expectations can’t be met unless product information is managed with a strong P2C strategy.”

How retailers can meet consumer expectations for the metaverse, sustainability, and more

Download the full report here.

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 5,698 consumers from the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The fieldwork took place 28 March, 2022 to 1 April, 2022. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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