Nearly 32% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience over a retailer that doesn’t offer AR and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment, according to a study released by BRP, Boston. Consumers are very interested in relying on technology instead of human interaction if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. For example, 55% are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout vs. a store without, and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” says Ken Morris, principal. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

Key findings from the “20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey” entail:

Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Retailer capabilities. 19% currently offer IoT capabilities, and another 36% plan to within three years.

Artificial intelligence

  • Retailer capabilities. 23% currently utilize AI and an additional 30% plan to within three years.

Augmented reality

  • Customer expectations. 32% are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience.
  • Retailer capabilities. 9% offer augmented reality to their customers, and another 29% plan to within three years.

Virtual reality

  • Customer expectations. 29% are likely to shop at a retailer offering virtual reality in their store.
  • Retailer capabilities. 7% currently offer virtual reality capabilities to customers, and 23% plan to add it within three years.