VR And AR in Retail: How to Amplify The Customer Shopping Experience

vr and ar in retail

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies blur the line between physical and virtual worlds. In this article, we highlight how VR and AR in retail are revolutionising the consumer shopping experience.

vr and ar in retail

What is AR shopping?

Augmented reality (AR), according to Gartner, represents:

“The real-time use of data and information including graphics, text, audio and a variety of virtual enhancements overlapping real-world objects.”
 The “real world” component differentiates augmented reality from virtual reality (VR). AR is not a simulation of real surroundings. 
Augmented reality overlays the digitally designed content into the consumer’s real environment. The features comprise transparent optics and the real surroundings of the user. Augmented reality in shopping helps consumers to digitally engage with products and brands. It also delivers more product information details compared to standard online shopping experiences.
With augmented reality shopping, consumers can virtually try on a variety of products and styles before buying. Retailers are slowly implementing the technologies to gain traction and engage shoppers. For example, leading beauty companies such as Onda, MAC, and Deciem, use AR-powered apps to allow users to try and test different shades of lipstick shades and makeup styles.

According to GetApp’s research, an average of just 14% of Australian consumers have used AR to shop (online or in-store.) Similarly, only 12% have shopped in a virtual reality environment. Yet, the same survey predicts that AR and VR are trends set to grow and strengthen. On average, 49% of respondents said they’re interested in shopping with AR and the 47% said the same about VR.

What is VR shopping?

 According to Gartner, virtual reality (VR) is:

“An innovative technology, which offers a computer-generated 3D digital environment including 360-degree video and graphics.”
The user will use a head-mounted display and handheld devices to take part in the VR activity. A rendered, digital surrounding replaces the consumer’s real surroundings. The environment surrounds the user and it’s responsive to the user’s actions. Touch-sensitive feedback is also available. Plus, more than one user can take part at once.

VR and AR in retail use 3D assets, which are digital models of the brands’ physical products. Users can interact with 3D assets during VR/AR experiences.

Using VR and AR to drive better customer experiences

AR and VR solutions can help retailers:

  • Improve their customer engagement levels
  • Create personalised shopping experiences
  • Improve customer return rate and satisfaction.
SalesForce research reveals that 75% of consumers expect new tech to make their shopping experiences better. The same study shows that 84% ofconsumers consider the experience is as important as the product.
Statista shows that the video games sector will be the largest segment within the AR and VR industry in 2020—exceeding $11.5 billion by 2025. Yet, the implementation of AR and VR in the retail sector is growing strong and it’s expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2025.

Here’s how using VR and AR can help you deliver a seamless shopping experience.

Engaging and immersive shopping experiences

AR and VR address the prime directives in retail. This includes:

  1. Driving customer engagement and immersion into the brand’s value proposition.
  2. Expanding customer experiences and making them more interactive.
  3. Streamlining the consumer’s buying journey through the shop by providing navigational help.

VR store accessibility

Onboarding is simple and efficient when retailers use easy-to-follow UX designs. Customers can learn how to use the different features available in AR and VR that retailers put in place.

Product information, browsing and help

AR provides extended product information such as ingredients, specifications, features, and benefits. AR streamlines the delivery of product information. It also helps customers compare and select different product categories. The amount of details at the client’s disposal influences their decision-making process.

AR extensions can help customers search for products. The technology allows users to discover products in the virtual shop from home, and as if in-store, they can view products in augmented reality before buying.

People want to make sure they buy a product with the correct specifications and configurations. Augmented reality can help customers buy the right product from home. In turn, this reduces the potential for returns.

Understanding your augmented reality development kit

An augmented reality development kit includes special hardware, AR software, VR software and networking solutions. Hardware components for AR include sensors, displays, processors and input devices. Smartphones include most of the hardware needed, such as:
  • A camera
  • Micro-electromechanical (MEMS) sensors
  • Strong compasses.
Units for AR rendering include:
  • Monitors
  • Optical projection systems
  • Display systems
  • Handheld devices.
AR displays are available on special eyeglasses, HUDs (head-up displays) and contact lenses.
Mobile AR apps are gaining traction thanks to the adoption of wearables and mobile units. According to Statista, smart augmented reality glasses global shipments increased from 150,000 in 2016 to 10.7 million in 2020.

The future of augmented reality and virtual reality in retail

Brands worldwide are steadily adopting VR and AR in retail. Major retailers are enjoying the benefits of AR software and VR software solutions such as increased customer engagement, sales and ROI rates. Consumers are responding to augmented reality, which encourages a seamless, interactive shopping experience.

Looking for AR software? Check out our catalogue.

What Is Self-Service Business Intelligence Software?

self service business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) software is a data analysis system that allows users to access, analyse and share information about their business. In turn, they can use performance metrics to make important business decisions every day. But where does self-service business intelligence software come into play?

self service business intelligence

With self-service BI tools, users don’t need to be a data scientist to operate it. On a daily basis, business users can:

  1. Define parameters
  2. Analyse data
  3. Generate reports.

Without self-service analytics programs, companies must depend entirely on data professionals to interpret and extract information on their behalf. However,  with a BI tool, companies can simplify and speed up this process. 

According to Gartner, data analysis will move further toward the forefront of transformational business strategies for 90% of companies in the coming years.

What is the difference between traditional BI and self-service BI?

The difference between traditional BI and self-service BI is that the latter offers democratised access and usability of the tool. 

When traditional BI tools appeared on the market, they required a complex IT structure—in addition to high maintenance costs and the need to invest in specialised workers. Not all companies have the resources for this structure. As a consequence, this meant the systems were mostly limited to large companies and multinationals.

With the emergence of self-service BI software, more small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from business intelligence. Partly, this is because of the simplified interface, ease of deployment, and a lower cost to adopt the software.

To break it down further, here are the main pros and cons of using a self-service BI tool:

pros and cons of self-service BI
Self-service BI tool pros and cons.

What are the advantages of adopting self-service BI? 

The advantages of self-service BI is the ease of accessibility for any user to take the platform and start using the data according to their needs. With the system, users can filter, analyse and extract data with its accompanying insights and learnings, without depending on specialists.

Here’s a self-service bi example within a typical business today: A  marketing team could use it to track new leads, including where they came from, and use this data to define future lead nurturing strategies. This planning can happen with the speed required to keep up with the fast-paced marketing industry, without having to wait on other departments to chip in.

Lastly, these tools are cloud-based so users can access information from anywhere. This is useful for remote teams, or those not based in a company office. Not only does it allow companies to be more flexible and productive, but it also helps them to save on infrastructure costs.

What are the limitations of self-service BI? 

Like all technology, self-service BI software doesn’t come without its limitations. But the good news is that most of these are not associated with the performance of the tool itself, but rather with the tool being misused. 

Common pitfalls & how to avoid them:

Below are the main pitfalls to be aware of:

Lack of planning

First and foremost, if you are implementing a BI tool, you should have a clear purpose or strategy for its use. This is so you have a clear direction when requesting and analysing data, and can use the data most advantageously for your business. 

In a context in which you may not yet have a clear strategy established,  you’ll likely accumulate a lot of reports that say the same thing. Often, this is difficult to spot because the reports look different by showing varied visuals and graphs, for example. However, the information is essentially the same, which risks confusion when interpreting the information and hinder productivity.

Lack of internal organisation

While a key benefit of the software is its usability ease, companies need to ensure they keep the system organised for any new users that join. This avoids any confusion if, for instance, someone departs the company and leaves a series of reports which aren’t clear to the team inheriting them. 

By keeping the tool well configured, companies also control which content is public or private This provides an important information security measure to help avoid the sharing or misuse of confidential data.

Lack of update

Updating the tool frequently helps with the accuracy of the data. If regular checks aren’t carried out, the software may emit erroneous data. The day-to-day running of the software doesn’t require heavy involvement from the IT team, but they should check in every so often to ensure the tool is still performing as they want it to.

Examples of self-service BI tools for you to consider for your company

Below is a selection of the best self-service BI tools for a range of expertise—we’ve included a full methodology of how we chose these tools at the bottom of this article.

1. Power BI

Power BI screenshot
User dashboard showing Power BI’s interface [Source]
Power BI is a tool from Microsoft which provides interactive visualisation and analytics features. It doesn’t require deep knowledge in BI, making it suitable for a range of professionals needing access to business data. Microsoft regularly provides optimisations thanks to the feedback it receives in the market, offering new features that meet the ongoing demands of businesses.

2. Tableau

Tableau screenshot
Types of data shown in Tableau’s dashboard [Source]
Tableau’s key advantage is its visualisation of data, regardless of the type and format of this information. The tool is compatible with most forms of data and offers the possibility to connect with large volumes of information for bigger requests.

3. OriginPro

OriginPro screenshot
Data display of OriginPro [Source]
OriginPro provides users with the flexibility to create graphics and a wide range of size, resolution and format options to display data. Users of the platform say it is easy to use because it has a  straightforward interface. 

4. SiSense

Sisense screenshot
Sisense interface displaying performance metrics [Source]
Users of SiSense say the platform is simple and easy to use, especially for those who are not data experts. As well as this, users highly rate the platform’s customer support service.

Looking for a BI tool? Check out our catalogue.

Methodology for the tool list

The tools selected for this article had to have an overall rating of at least 4.5 /5. They also required more than 100 user ratings in the Capterra directory. Also, the tools could not have a rating lower than 4/5 in the below requirements: 

  • Practicality
  • Customer service
  • Resources and quality
  • Price ratio.

British SME owners on remote work, software and the future post-pandemic

British SME owners on remote work and COVID-19

With the UK facing a slow return to the workplace, it has been reported that there could be a second wave and another lockdown.

In London in particular, this is a big concern, since if the new rule of six (no more than six people are allowed to gather together in the same space to help reduce the spread of COVID-19) doesn’t work out as expected, the future of office working is pretty much still up in the air. 

British SME owners on remote work and COVID-19

We wanted to hear from SME owners about their experience with COVID-19  and how software has helped them overcome the hurdle of managing a remote workforce.

#1: Adapting your business model to survive

51% of businesses had to implement new software as a response to the pandemic. Remote desktop software, live chat software and video conferencing software are the three most popular software solutions purchased by SMEs. In addition, 76% have had to change their offering to adapt to the crisis.

We asked them how this impacted their core business model and to describe any major changes they have experienced. 

Richard Westhead,CEO, One Digital Signage

“We placed three elements at the core of our response to COVID-19: the enduring viability and success of our business, the wellbeing and support of our people, and providing the solutions needed by our customers and the general public. These factors were vital in steering a business strategy that has seen the company design, develop, and manufacture a range of new COVID solutions.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek:

There has clearly been a significant impact on the market and going forward new business development will no doubt be challenging. Difficult market environments change business priorities and create opportunities for innovation, and it is important to be ready to adapt to meet client needs.”

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected:

“Detected origins came about while working on another business I have. The more we helped both buyer and seller, the more we saw issues with suppliers. There wasn’t a way to verify a seller’s authenticity and we encountered plenty of unscrupulous parties. We realised business verification was something every company and marketplace needs. Detected was then born.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“We saw a large increase in sales during global lockdown. People were online more and took to social media to stay connected with friends and family. Customers were also after creative activities to spend time on. After all, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch.”

#2: Remote work and taking care of employees

Retaining employees (45%) and maintaining employee productivity (49%) are two of the main concerns for managers during the crisis. 

One of the key successes of collaboration tools is that they replace office interactions by allowing users to work together via virtual interaction. However, it’s important to make sure that communication between teams is efficient and well planned to avoid messaging saturation.

We asked British owners how they have handled the transition of their staff to remote working and how have their employees responded to the change.

Richard Westhead,CEO, One Digital Signage

We have supported our team to work remotely, and for all of our people we have emphasised the importance that they feel comfortable in their working environment. There has certainly been no downturn in performance and we will continue to support remote working as a choice for them if they want or require it.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek

“For many employees, working from home on an almost permanent basis has been challenging and while the company operational objectives can be met, we also recognise that it can be difficult for individuals. The workplace is not only important to people from a career/employment perspective but is often part of their social lives where they support and are supported by their friends and colleagues.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“For us, habits, routines and structure are crucial. We keep in touch and share information as much as possible – it’s crucial everyone knows the team’s priorities. Each of us works in a different way—some of us are good at holding ourselves to account, others need more guidance. Leaders should take this into consideration and keep adapting.”

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected:  

“The most important thing is having everybody know everyone else’s role and ensuring we are all heading in the same direction. Remote working stumbles when people don’t know what others are responsible for.”

#3: Using new tools remotely (and how to get everybody on board using them)

A new software tool shouldn’t add an additional layer of responsibilities, it should remove them. 

When choosing collaboration software, there should be a good understanding of the workflows, how teams work on projects, and how a tool can help improve either of those. 

Richard Westhead , CEO, One Digital Signage

“We have invested time in ensuring our people are comfortable using Microsoft Teams. Within our business development operations Teams has also been crucial to building strong relationships with new partners.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“[Before COVID-19] we were already communicating via Slack, Google, Zoom and other collaboration technology before the pandemic. We are investing in our SEO and using some online tools to guide that process, however that wasn’t prompted by COVID-19.”  

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected: 

“Google Hangouts is free and that’s the main tool we work in since we operate in a very lean business model”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek

“A lot of our employees were already set up for the odd working from home day before COVID-19.  However, we did have to do additional VPN testing to measure how well it worked with everyone working from home. So in this case, we were quite fortunate in that it wasn’t a  huge transition.”

#4: Business continuity and the future post-COVID-19

The lack of business continuity plans meant for many SMEs had to invest in software looking at ensuring employee productivity.

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up businesses and pushed some of them into making emergency software decisions meant to help in the short term. However, as restrictions ease and workers start to go back to the office, companies need to think about a more longer-term strategy.

We asked owners how they see the future post-crisis and how it will affect continuity plans.

Richard Westhead, CEO, One Digital Signage:

It’s important to emphasise the impact COVID-19 will continue to have on the economy and everyday life and then devise plans accordingly. In many instances, it [COVID-19] has simply accelerated changes in consumer behaviour that were underway already.”

 

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected: 

“Businesses have been forced into more astute decision-making and are far more selective about who they work with, so you have to put your best foot forward. COVID-19 has created a culture of clarity and transparency.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek: 

“Significant market disruption is [obviously] a major challenge for most business owners. However, it is the case that market disruption creates a business opportunity. This is already the case for some organisations who have moved to digital channels for distribution and who are experiencing growth above the levels they would have expected prior to the pandemic. 

Understanding the changing needs and priorities both in the short and long term of your customer market is critical to identifying these opportunities and planning for your business in the future.”

Looking for Collaboration Software? Check our catalogue

 

VR shopping adoption in the UK: 4 insights to take into consideration

When you think about virtual reality (VR), one thinks about something rather futuristic, but, in fact, it has been around for quite some time. American computer scientist Ivan Sutherland invented the first headset in 1968  and since then it’s been a long journey for VR. 

VR shopping adoption in the UK

The use of VR has extended to many industries like gaming or sports throughout the years, however immersive technologies such VR in shopping are experiencing an increase in adoption— especially since some retailers are incorporating the technology into their offering to customers. 

What is VR?

Gartner defines it as:

“Virtual reality (VR) provides a computer-generated 3D environment (including both computer graphics and 360-degree video) that surrounds a user and responds to an individual’s actions in a natural way, usually through immersive head-mounted displays.”

Consumers may be familiar with gaming headsets like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive or perhaps have used Samsung VR/Gear or Google Cardboard using a mobile phone.  But who is actually using VR for shopping in the UK?

VR shopping adoption in the UK

We wanted to understand how UK consumers use VR for shopping (or if they do at all), and what is their opinion on the technology. 

For this study, we asked 5,080 respondents in Europe (over 1,000 based in the UK)  to also understand if consumers in Europe have adopted VR shopping and what is their view on using this technology to shop.*(full methodology at the bottom of this article)

Highlights of the study: 

  • In the UK, only 13% of respondents have used VR for shopping.
  • Food & drinks (63%) and clothes & accessories (59%) are the most popular items bought using VR.
  • 60% state that 360º videos help them understand the product better.
  • 54% of respondents in the UK state that the perception of VR and willingness to use it has changed because of COVID-19.

Below are the 4 key insights from our study that retailers looking to adopt VR software should take into consideration:

#1: A quick look at who uses VR for shopping

The use of VR for shopping is still in its infancy, in the UK only 13% of respondents state having used VR to shop. This is not much different from users that have used augmented reality (AR) in the UK, with 15% of them have used this technology to shop.

So what does the current user persona look like? Respondents aged between 18 – 45 state having shopped in a virtual environment, 58% are male and the average income is above  £26,000.

Food, drinks and clothes are the most popular items bought using VR

63% of users that have used VR to shop have used it to buy food and drinks, and clothes and accessories (59%). A third of consumers surveyed (34%)  have also used it for real estate virtual visits

When asked which device they have used for buying using VR, almost half of the users (45%) used dedicated VR glasses and 38% a smartphone with a VR app and a VR headset for the device.

The most popular VR headsets used by consumers in the UK are the Samsung Gear VR (52%) followed by Google Cardboard (17%). In Europe, the Samsung Gear is also popular with users in Germany (43%), Netherlands (49%) and France (36%) using the device for shopping. 

Users in Spain (27%) and France (29%) have higher use of Google cardboard than in the UK.

Helping to understand the product better with 360º videos

Approximately half of the respondents in Spain have used  360º  videos (51%), whilst in the UK only a third have used it.  However, the number of people interested in using this type of content is higher in the UK than in other countries in Europe, with 37% of respondents interested in doing it.

Respondents consider that  360º  videos help understand the product better (60%) and add entertainment to the shopping experience (51%). 44% say it can improve the perception of a brand and 45% state that this content helps to make a better purchase decision.

#2: The VR user of the future

Looking at who is interested in using VR in the future, there are a number of factors that make for the (possible) VR shopper of the future:

  • Women: Women respondents are more willing to try VR for shopping (55%). 
  • Over 56 years old: State being interested in shopping in a virtual environment.
  • Interest in clothes and accessories: 74% of consumers that haven’t used VR would be interested in trying it in clothes and accessories followed by food and drinks (69%)
  • Income: Respondents who state being interested in trying VR for shopping have an income between £15,000 and £25,000 a year.
  • Free headset preferred: 24% of respondents would only be willing to use it if these were provided for free. 

#3: What is the perception of VR shopping by users in the UK?

Consumers would like to use VR to have a similar experience of going to a store but without leaving the house. This is important as shoppers have changed their habits due to the pandemic, being more cautious when looking to go to a physical store and using online shopping instead. 

In fact, 60% state that using VR would minimise the risk of infection as there is less interaction with people or trying clothes that someone else has already tried on.

54% of respondents state that the perception of VR and willingness to use it has changed because of COVID-19. Out of these, almost half (45%) state that they are more willing to use it than before the pandemic.

The UK is among the countries that are willing to adopt VR due to the lockdown

In Spain and France, respondents state that it has changed their perception of VR, perhaps because these countries, as well as the UK have had stronger lockdown measures have pushed people into considering other technology available to shop.

Almost half of UK consumers surveyed (46%) state feeling comfortable or very comfortable using AR and VR formats in the future for most of their shopping.

#4: Immersive technologies are here to stay

Our study showed that immersive technology such as and VR are finding a place in society thanks to allowing shoppers to experience the product before buying it.

The pandemic has changed consumer’s shopping habits and has accelerated the adoption of these technologies since they allow more distance. 60% of users state they can have the same shopping experience using VR as they would in a shop.

Providing consumers with a tailored shopping experience where they can shop from the comfort of their home or in a physical store will become pivotal for retailers if they want to stay in line with the latest demands from consumers.

Looking for VR software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “GetApp AR/VR Survey 2020” study was collected in August 2020 from an online survey of 5,080 respondents that live in the UK, Germany, France, Spain or The Netherlands.

Out of these, 1,006 participants who qualified to answer in the UK.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
All participants come from different industry sectors.

COVID-19 Drives Australia’s Interest In Augmented Reality Shopping

AR in retail for Australia

Augmented reality shopping technology isn’t a new concept in the retail industry, but it’s not common either. Just 17% of Australian consumers have used it to shop online according to GetApp’s survey—even less (11%) have used the technology in stores. 

Yet, because of COVID-19, interest in augmented shopping is on the rise: On average, 51% of Australians think augmented reality (AR) would make their online and in-store buying experiences safer.

AR in retail for Australia

In this article, GetApp highlights how augmented reality could advance shopping online, and be a potential solution to revitalising the struggling high street. 

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality is a concept that many of us may have come across, despite not fully understanding what it is. Games, such as Pokemon GO and Jurassic World Live operate using AR technology—as do the filters we use on social networks like Instagram and Snapchat. 

Gartner defines augmented reality (AR) as:

‘The real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. It is this “real world” element that differentiates AR from virtual reality. AR integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world, versus a simulation.’

 

The technology works by superimposing additional content (such as moving images) onto the user’s actual surroundings.  The virtual image overlays onto real-world products or environments based on the input received from a device. This could be through the camera of a phone or other wearable devices, like AR-enabled glasses.

Augmented reality shopping, also referred to as augmented shopping, is the process of using AR to shop. 

Examples of AR being used in a retail store

Timberland is one retailer that was quick to jump on this trend with its Augmented Reality Campaign. The shoes and clothing brand created a ‘magic’ mirror outside one of its stores in Warsaw, Poland, enticing passersby to try out their virtual fitting room.

The thought process behind the AR experience was more than just gimmick. According to Marketing Squad:

‘Timberland has been on a journey since 2011 to change their marketing strategies, as well as their target market – millennials. [The brand] created value for their customers by developing a fitting room that is efficient and easy to use. The ease of trying on their clothes enticed customers and encouraged them to participate in the AR campaign.’

 

Examples of AR being used online

Ikea was one of the first retail companies to bring an augmented shopping experience into peoples homes. 

ar-app-ikea
Ikea augmented reality application [Source: Architecture Magazine]
The idea behind the app was to help the customer visualise products from their website in home-settings. The AR app allows users to hold their smartphone camera at an area of their house to see how the piece of furniture would look there—and this kind of service may be more necessary than you think. 

According to research from UNSW Sydney, 2-5% of us have difficulty with visual imagery (a condition known as Aphantasia), meaning picturing products at home is a genuine challenge. Augmented reality could be considered a valuable asset for those who have genuine challenges picturing products away from their immediate surroundings.

How is AR being used in the Australian retail market?

GetApp surveyed 1,012 Australian consumers (see full methodology at the end of this article) to explore how they’re using augmented reality for retail shopping. While many themes are driving this trend, we honed in on the most important ones for retailers.

Early adopters are already using it to shop in Australia

On average (across online and in-store purchases), 14% of respondents said they’d used augmented reality to shop. 

autralians-using-augmented-shopping

Of this group:

  • 88% are in employment 
  • 62% earn between $51,000 and $100,000 per annum. 
  • 71% are under 35-years-old. 

Considering that Millennials and Generation Z are often referred to as digital natives, it’s unsurprising that they are the biggest users of augmented reality technology. Retailers that want to introduce this tech to their services should pay special attention to this group. Why? Because these are the people that drive ideas out and spread them to other people.

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory explains why it is important to hone in on the personality traits and characteristics of consumers that accept innovations fastest:

‘Adoption of a new idea is caused by human interaction through interpersonal networks.  If the initial adopter of an innovation discusses it with two members of a given social system, and these two become adopters who pass the innovation along to two peers, and so on, the resulting distribution follows a binomial expansion.’

 

innovativeness-adopters-categories-rogers

Key takeaway: Innovators will help drive AR technology adoption

Those targeting age groups under 35-years-old should think ahead about how AR will be used in a few years time. Preparing applications now will allow them to catch the market as market share grows. To organically drive brand awareness by developing an AR application, hone in those that fit the role of innovators and early adopters.

Around half of Aussies are interested in using it

An average of 49% of Australian consumers said they’re interested in using AR technology to shop online or in-store. 

australias-interest-levels-ar-technology-shopping34% have not tried augmented shopping online, and have no interest in doing so. Slightly more respondents (39%) felt this way about using AR for in-store shopping. Primarily, this was because they:

  • Prefer to see and try the products in person
  • Must download additional applications on their devices
  • Are concerned about privacy.

Key takeaway: Integrate AR into your audience’s most popular channels

There is interest in augmented reality shopping in Australia. Now is the time for brands to consider the best ways to introduce it to their audiences. To increase how quickly they embrace it, consider the platforms where consumers are already using AR. For example, there may be an opportunity to incorporate it into social media strategies. 

Opportunities and potential success vary across retail sectors

The most popular items purchased through augmented shopping differ slightly, depending on whether the consumer is online or in-store. However, clothing remained the top choice for both.

most popular items bought using ar technology

Clothing was also the top choice for those that hadn’t shopped using augmented reality but were keen to try it.

items australians think would be useful for augmented shopping

Key takeaway: There is potential to tap into AR across multiple categories

Before investing in augmented reality experiences, eCommerce brands and stores that specialise in these categories should consider why they’re doing it. Are they jumping on a trend or seeking to bring genuine value to their users? The latter is likely to be much more successful in achieving business goals. 

Key drivers behind using AR in technology:

1. Better visualisation of products

The main use of augmented reality is to help consumers ‘see’ the product in its potential context. For example, Dulux’s Colour AR app lets customers visualise how shades of paint would look on their walls. 

Dulux colour AR app
The Dulux Colour app showing a user how blue paint would look [Source: Dulux]
GetApp’s results demonstrate that AR is serving its purpose well. Around two thirds (65%) of respondents said the technology made their ability to visualise the product in the right place easier when shopping online. Around the same (61%) said the same for shopping for products in-person.

2. Protection against the pandemic

51% of respondents said that the pandemic is a key reason why they have or want to use AR to shop online. 52% of respondents said the same for shopping in stores. 

AR reduces covid risks

For both in-store and in webshops, the top three reasons for wanting to try augmented shopping were the same. Protecting themselves against COVID-19 was the second-largest aspect driving consumers towards AR technology.

Top 3 reasons for wanting to use AR to shop:

  1. Shoppers can visualise products in the right context more easily (such as seeing a shade of lipstick applied on their face without actually putting it on.)
  2. It minimises the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19.
  3. There is more information readily available about the product which can help make decisions easier.

Less than half (46%) of all respondents have changed their perception towards augmented reality and are more willing to use the technology.

3. Faster purchases

On average, 49% of consumers who have shopped using augmented reality (either online or in-person) said it made purchases faster. One reason for this may be that with AR, less travel time is typically required. However, it may also be because users have access to more details, which enables them to make decisions quicker. 

37% of users said AR provides them with more information on the product when shopping in-store. For online shopping, this response increased to 38%.

Return rates of augmented shopping products is a challenge

50% of respondents said they return more products when buying online using augmented reality. On the other hand, 50% of respondents who have shopped using the technology said they return items the same (26%) or less (24%) than when they shop online without it. 

Return rates with AR shopping

In terms of accurately representing real-life products, AR may still be finding its feet. According to Appinventiv, however, retail augmented reality app development levels are ‘improving at breakneck speed.’ Despite being around for some years now, it’s important to note that the technology is still young in essence. 

However, AR will help retailers adapt to the post-COVID-19 reality

There is genuine market interest in augmented shopping, and evidence that it can improve the retail experience. With that in mind, now is a good time for retailers to get ahead of the curve and explore its full potential. AR is no longer a future possibility for retail—it’s here. 

Looking for augmented reality software? Check out our catalogue.

Methodology for GetApp’s Augmented Reality Shopping survey

GetApp wanted to understand how shopping habits in Australia are changing in light of COVID-19. We surveyed consumers living in Australia, and over the age of 18-years-old, to discover the role of augmented reality in this. 

The full panel of 1,012 respondents includes 51% female and 49% male respondents. Incomes ranged from less than $15,000 per annum to more than $201,000 per annum. The participants also came from various business sectors and levels of seniority. 

The AR in retail survey ran in August 2020. 

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

 

The future of retail: How to shop in a contactless world

the future of retail in the UK in a post-COVID world

The beginning of lockdown meant for many a dramatic change to their daily routines. Both work and education were shifted towards online education and remote working. For retailers, this meant that physical shops had to close down and shoppers had to readapt to the online world.

the future of retail in the UK in a post-COVID world

We asked 1,045 respondents in the UK to understand if their shopping habits had changed since the beginning of the lockdown and what does the future of retail looks like for UK retailers and consumers. (The full research methodology is at the bottom of the article.)

The future of retail: 5 new ways of shopping 

We have identified five new ways that are starting to be used more by UK consumers, some of them accelerated by the pandemic, and could hold the key to the survival of smaller retailers. 

#1: Shopping by chat 

At the end of last year WhatsApp unveiled the ‘virtual catalog’ in the UK, allowing customers a new way to browse what a shop has to offer. The business can add information on price, images, description and product code. Users can switch from the personal app to the business app. They can’t run at the same time, but it allows business owners to have that app running without having to lose all of their personal one.

You don’t need to add a website, so if you are a traditional physical store, you can add to your products. However, if you use eCommerce software , then you can take the user through the whole journey, from browsing to purchasing.

 

whatsapp for business as a new way of shopping

 

Only 5% of respondents state having shopped using this WhatsApp virtual catalog, however, it could become an effective way for small businesses to reach out to younger consumers. Users can now see the entire catalogue of goods right from within the app and not having to switch to a website.

#2: Shopping by voice

This is a trend that has been around for some time (Amazon’s Alexa was launched in 2016 in the UK), however, it is still taking off—only 12% of respondents state shopping using voice assistants.

According to a poll from YouGov, consumers are using the devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home to play music and ask general questions, however, these are not being used for buying. 

Despite the low adoption, it is worth keeping an eye on this. AI virtual assistants can help SMEs with the customer journey, by personalising their experience and also provide a post-sale service.

#3: Social media buying

16% of respondents state using social media to buy. This, also called social commerce, differs from social media marketing in that in social commerce  the buyer’s journey (from browsing to purchasing) is done on social media platforms.

At present Instagram is the most popular platform, with buyers landing on a product and completing the customer journey on the platform. 

New research shows that consumers in the UK are keen to use social media for buying. For example, 79% state they buy more products via social media compared with two years ago.

#4: Shopping without paying in-store

Amazon Go, the ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ model, was implemented in 2016 in the US. Here’s how it works: Users need to have an Amazon account, download the Amazon Go app, add items to their shopping cart via the app, and then purchase the items. Then, they can walk into an Amazon Go store, pick up the items they added to the app’s shopping cart, and walk out without queuing or paying at the tills. 

Amazon uses computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, which means that the items have a weight sensor so when a product is taken from the shelf it automatically updates the stock. There are also sensors and cameras that a machine learning system is showing in real-time what the user is actually putting in the bag. 

In the UK, it has been reported that Amazon will open at least 30 physical stores in 2020. With a third of consumers (24%) in the UK avoiding going into physical stores as a measure of prevention for COVID-19, Amazon Go it will be interesting to see the adoption of this new way of shopping.

#5: Shopping using AR/VR

The use of Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) in retail is expected to grow in the next few years. According to Gartner, by the end of this year, almost half of retailers (46%) planned to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements.

A number of retailers have already started offering it to its customers, focusing on clothing, furniture, accessories (such as handbags) and make-up. A recent survey showed how UK consumers are willing to use AR technology for shopping, with over half of them stating they would be happy to try it if it was available online or in-store.

A change in customer behaviour towards online shopping and mobile payments

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and some of the methods above have seen a boost since the beginning of lockdown. Health has become a priority issue for consumers and avoiding physical contact the key focus for them when looking to incorporate new ways of shopping.

However, the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviour for both online and in-store shopping:

  • Long-term change: 62% of respondents state that their shopping behaviour has changed for good since the crisis. 
  • More online choice: 24% state buying more online than they did before in physical stores, with 13% stating this choice is due to the reduced risk of infection.
  • Cashless payments preferred: The preferred method of cashless payment is by debit card (55%), Paypal (49%), and credit card (40%).
  • Brick-and-mortar shops chosen to support the local economy: (53%) that prefer to shop at a retail shop, (34%) stated that they would choose a physical store to support the local economy.

The crisis has also impacted the way in which consumers have adopted cashless payments since the beginning of the crisis.

  • Mobile wallet usage on the rise: Over half of respondents have a mobile wallet installed (55%). 
  • Health reasons behind choosing mobile wallet: 30% consider is safer to use a mobile wallet during COVID-19 to avoid contact.
  • 100% cashless society: 43% would feel comfortable in a cashless society only if 100% of stores would accept a cashless solution.

Building resilience for the future

Businesses that traditionally had been brick-and-mortar retailers saw how they had to rapidly switch to an online model to survive.

In fact, over a third of companies (39%) didn’t have a business continuity plan in place before the crisis. In addition, 51% of SMEs have had to make an investment in software in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

So what does the future of retail look like?

The future of retail should look at combining emerging technologies that can help retailers bridge the gap between the online and in-store experience. 

Retailers that were traditionally offline have had to quickly adapt to be able to continue doing business online at a time when physical shops were closed. These unexpected changes have left many traditional retailers struggling to find different ways to serve customers effectively using other channels.  

Those retailers that already had an online presence have adapted quicker, either using an eCommerce platform or as part of Retail Management Systems

We have seen how for many consumers the crisis has meant a change in shopping habits. As restrictions ease and consumers start to shop again, retailers need to think about a  long-term strategy. 

Looking for Payment Processing Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Cashless Payments Survey” study was collected in July 2020 from an online survey of 1,077 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,045 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
  • Participants that lost their job as a result of COVID-19 crisis
All participants come from different industry sectors.

 

Social Commerce Report 2020: Key Social Selling Insights For Retailers

social commerce report capterra

Before the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian highstreet was already struggling. In an adapt-to-survive strategy, much of the retail world made the important decision to invest more in eCommerce strategies. Capterra’s Social Commerce Report of 1,020 respondents highlights how Australian consumers are also turning to social media to shop in light of COVID-19.

social commerce report capterra

In this article, we reveal the key insights that will help retailers get started with social commerce through social networks and traditional eCommerce software platforms. But first, let’s go over some of the basics of social selling.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce, also known as social shopping and social selling, is an eCommerce term used to describe the online buying activity that takes place across social networks. 

Over the years, social networks have merged further into the consumer’s shopping experience. Today, businesses can sell directly to customers through social channels on a global scale as well as targeting local customers.

Types of social commerce:

The most popular types of social commerce channels include:

  • Snapchat: Users can search and shop from the app.
  • Instagram: Businesses can add buy buttons on posts as well as shoppable stories.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Users can geotarget and purchase products in local areas.
  • Pinterest: Displays the prices of products via product pins.
  • TikTok: Influencers can place shoppable URLs within their video posts.
What about Twitter? Twitter rolled out a Buy Button in 2017 only to quickly roll back the feature. The network put this decision down to ‘pivoting away from their ecommerce focus’.

Social commerce also includes selling through forums and groups, chatbots (like you’d find on WeChat or Facebook Messenger), and other means. There are many types of social commerce platforms today, but primarily, they can be defined as any social network that allows for purchases and electronic payments.

How does social commerce work?

Social commerce works by streamlining the shopping experience for social media users. Essentially, the purchase path comes down to three steps: See, click, and pay. 

Imagine a user sees a hat they like through an Instagram advert. They can then click on the buy button and order the hat. The payment process is conducted solely through Instagram, rather than them heading to the brand’s website or retail store to make the purchase.

Allowing users to shop from the social media platform reduces the buying journey for the customer. For the consumer, this is both time-saving and convenient. 

What are the benefits of social commerce for brands?

1. Social media is a consistently expanding marketplace

Social media users are growing every day. Taking Instagram as an example, there are already 500 million active users of the app. Of these, half are logging into the app every day and actively engaging on it—and according to the platform, this number keeps climbing. 

Instagram also says that:

  • 60% of people discover new products on Instagram.
  • More than 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile daily at least once.
  • 130 million users tap on shopping posts in the app every month.

As the marketplace grows, social networks are continuously developing their commerce offering. Facebook, for example, has recently launched a range of new tools to help brands showcase their products. One of these includes the launch of ‘Storefronts’ which allows brands to tag products in their posts, similar to Instagram, and let customers browse their product range on a brand’s profile.

2. Brands can follow in-store customers onto digital alternatives & reach new audiences

Capterra’s survey highlights how the majority of Australian shoppers shopped online more during the COVID-19 lockdown than before:

Monthly online shopping rates before and after the lockdown in Australia
Monthly online shopping rates before and after the lockdown in Australia.

According to Marc Charlery, Head of Digital Product at Impressive Digital Agency, most brick and mortar stores will lose out on loyal in-store customers because of social distancing rules. However, he explains how social commerce may help retailers reach those people who cannot or feel reluctant to shop in-person:

 

Marc Charlery‘Not only are people in lockdown and looking for stimulation, but there are many people working from home who may previously not have been in a position to look at their phones during the working day.

Using social media for eCommerce provides an opportunity for brands to still connect with audiences they may have previously interacted with in a physical sense, while also reaching new audiences.’

 

3. Increased brand usage of social commerce is driving media costs down

As people are forced to stay home, Australians are spending more time on social media at an increased frequency and for longer periods.  

In light of COVID-19, Jacob Arnott, managing director We The People agency, explains how this has led to his clients paying less than normal to advertise on social networks:

Jacob headshot‘As a result of this increase in attention, we’re seeing the cost of advertising on social platforms decrease, providing brands more value for their investments. In April, we saw the Cost-per-Mile (CPM) reduce 35% compared to the same time last year, as a result of increased attention on Facebook. Advertising on social platforms has always been highly cost-effective; however, this recent reduction in CPM is reflective of the further value on offer to brands.’

 

In particular, Jacob draws attention to the rise of Tik Tok. The platform has quickly become one of Australia’s most popular social media platforms, with Australian users spending an average of 62 minutes on the platform each day. He explains: 

‘Leveraging TikTok’s new advertising platform, we’ve been impressed by the cost-effective results the platform has delivered for several of our clients across various industries.’ 

 

4. Social commerce is highly-measurable

A huge benefit of social shopping for brands is that it’s easy to set clear, measurable performance indicators. This helps inform retailers how they develop their product line in the future, as well as which social media marketing posts drive most sales.

Clare Stevens, Social Director from Crunchy Social agency, elaborates on this advantage: 

Clare stevens‘Social media allows brands to test their strategies, learn from their results and continually improve their marketing in order to attract sales. Establishing an understanding of the brand’s social analytics can allow for better buying, faster logistics and better brand management in the future.’

 

What are the challenges of social selling?

The main challenges of social selling include:

  1. Increasing competitiveness: Social shopping is on the rise, and as a result, social platforms are continuously bringing to market new features and updates. More and more brands will likely want to take advantage of this trend.
  2. Lack of expertise: Brands must take care to research the social commerce market and put the right strategy in place before diving in blind. Otherwise, they risk making little to no profit on their efforts. 
  3. Handling of logistics: Brands need to think ahead about fulfilling deliveries effectively, quickly, competitively and conveniently. Not being prepared to handle an increase in orders could jeopardize the service brands provide to customers.

For those who are new to social commerce, read on to discover how best to get started.

Where brands should begin with social commerce

1. Understand the key demographics shopping on social networks

The benefit of social commerce is that features like buy buttons enable businesses to take the ‘sales talk’ out of selling on social. Instead of writing sales slogans, brands should focus on creating enticing imagery and writing engaging captions. 

To do this, brands must first understand the demographic of their potential customer. Capterra surveyed 1,020 Australian consumers about their online shopping habits. To see a detailed methodology of the survey, skip to the bottom of this article.

Of the 18% of all respondents who said they have shopped on social, here were the dominating demographics:

71% were under 35-years-old

Millennials and Generation Z are the primary social commerce demographics. With this in mind, social media makes a solid choice for brands that target or plan to target these age groups.

Age breakdown social shopping Australia
Age breakdown of social shoppers in Australia.

Bear in mind that 20% of the respondents were between 36-45-years-old. However, consumers aged above this aren’t yet privy to social shopping.

Around two-thirds are female

Gender breakdown of social shoppers in Australia
The gender breakdown of social shoppers in Australia.

Capterra’s survey highlighted that 63% of social media shoppers are female and 37% were male. 

75% are earning regular incomes

When looking at the spending potential for Australians that shop via social networks, Capterra found that:

  • 63% are employed full-time, therefore earning a regular salary.
  • 22% are employed part-time, earning a lesser but regular income.
  • 72% earn more $16,000 but less than $100,000 per year.
Income breakdown of social shoppers in Australia
Income breakdown of social shoppers in Australia.

98% are confident with technology

91% of Capterra’s 1,020 respondents rated themselves as tech-savvy—ranging from quite tech-savvy to very tech-savvy. However, social media shoppers are more confident than your average online shopper.

Tech-savviness of Australians that shop on social networks.
Technology-savviness of Australians that shop on social networks.

When looking at the level of their technology-savviness, social shoppers rank their abilities at the upper end of the spectrum.

86% believe their shopping behaviour has changed for good due to the crisis

Respondents that said they shop via social networks said they believe they’re shopping habits have changed. Delving further into the topic:

  • 39% said they will buy more online than they did before.
  • 36% said they’ll buy more products online that they used to buy in-person.
  • 11% want to avoid going to physical shops due to risk of infection.
  • 14% don’t expect their online shopping habits to change at all.

2. Start with your best sellers

Social media management platform, Buffer, recommends that brands new to social selling start with their best, lowest cost products. The company explains the logic behind this strategy: ‘It makes sense that lowest-cost products might sell best on social media. You’re capturing people at a certain place in their buyer journey where they’re eager to buy, not eager to weigh the pros and cons of a major purchase.’

Breaking it down further, selling the ‘best’ products—AKA the products that have already proven to be highly desirable to your existing customers based on sales and reviews—will improve your chances of appealing to a wider audience. Focusing on the least expensive of those products helps reduce thinking friction for shoppers who are browsing more passively.

It’s also useful for newer social sellers to understand the most successful business verticals. According to a 2019 eMarketer report, the most popular categories for social commerce include apparel, luxury goods, beauty, and home decor.

3. Leverage eCommerce software for social selling

Many eCommerce software platforms already allow for integration with social networks. If you’re already using this type of technology, check whether this integration is possible because it will allow you to automate updates to your social store as you make changes to your website store’s back-end system. This approach would work well for brands with a wide range of FMCG products that they want to advertise on social media.

Brands that don’t have an eCommerce platform, or would prefer not to, can still sell products through social media platforms without one. However, this method is recommended mainly for retailers who have few products because the catalogue will need to be created and managed manually. 

4. Choose the right influencers

Influencers and your community come hand-in-hand in social commerce. Influencers help to promote brand stories while social media communities help to amplify the noise. But choosing the wrong influencer may come across inauthentic to followers, or encourage followers to promote the wrong messages.

Clare from Crunchy Social gave her advice to brands exploring this avenue:

‘Success with influencer marketing depends greatly on the offering of the business and its audience. It is important for businesses to first assess the metrics of the influencer and outline any expectations from the influencer or brand from the beginning. Businesses should also consider other ways they could effectively gain reach, such as through targeted advertising on social media or competitions.’ 

5. Measure its success

The ultimate goal of social commerce is to drive more sales and positively impact the store’s bottom line. To measure this, tracking procedures need to be put in place. As well as measuring how much revenue is coming from your social commerce vertical, it’s worth measuring how many users are viewing and engaging with posts. Not all of your audience may be ready to shop yet when they view a post, so having this data available gives brands a benchmark to work from to drive higher conversion rates. 

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out our catalogue.

Methodology for Social Commerce Report 2020

Capterra wanted to understand how online shopping habits in Australia are shifting in light of COVID-19. We surveyed consumers living in Australia, and over the age of 18-years-old. 

The full panel of 1,020 respondents includes 58% female and 42% male respondents. Incomes ranged from less than $15,000 per annum to more than $201,000 per annum. The participants also came from various business sectors and levels of seniority. 

To understand how many respondents had shopped through social networks, we asked: Have you ever shopped by using any of the following emerging technologies? 

18% of the total respondents said they have shopped on social media. To obtain demographic information for these respondents, we set a filter to review only these answers. 

The Online Shopping Habits in Australia survey ran between 14th and 22nd of July. 

1 in 2 consumers are willing to use AR technology for shopping

AR in retail for Australia

Augmented reality (AR) technology has been around for a while. In reality, most of us have seen it, possibly without realising. For instance, every time you use a Snapchat filter or chase a Pokemon using Pokemon GO, you are using an AR experience.

augmented reality used in retail to improve shopping experience

However, how are shops using AR technology to attract consumers and how is this technology perceived by UK consumers?

We asked over 1,000 consumers based in the UK (*full methodology at the bottom of this article)  to understand if British consumers have adopted AR technology and what are their shopping habits.

Below are the main highlights of the study:

  • The majority of respondents haven’t used AR technology before to buy something online (53%) or in a physical store (51%) but are interested in trying it.
  • Women are more interested in trying augmented reality experiences in both online and physical than men.
  • Men aged 18-35 have used more augmented reality apps in both online and physical stores.
  • Clothes and accessories are the most popular items bought using augmented reality in both online and physical stores.

What is AR?

Gartner defines augmented reality (AR) as:

The real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.”

 

Augmented reality technology works by superimposing a computer-generated image on a user’s view of real life, using a person’s phone camera on a mobile device. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store.

UK consumers are willing to try augmented reality

Only 15% of consumers in the UK have used AR technology to buy something online. However, out of the 85% that haven’t used the technology to buy online, more than half (53%) would be willing to try it.

uk population using AR

When asked about using augmented reality in physical stores, only 11% have used AR to buy something in store. Out of the 88% that haven’t, 51% are willing to use it.

This poses a great opportunity for retailers. Offering augmented reality to consumers can help increase brand loyalty, as well as transform the way a business works by providing another way for shoppers to experience the products.

example of ar technology in shoes
Example of AR technology Source: WWD

AR technology can help enhance the in-shop experience, like virtually trying on new products. It’s even possible to try them on before they are physically available in the store, so the customer can see how it looks and place an order to purchase it once it is available.

In recent years, a number of British retailers have incorporated AR technology to its offering. For example, John Lewis, launched last month a new feature to its augmented reality app that allows users to visualise how a sofa or an armchair would look in their living room before buying it.

More women consumers are willing to use it

A higher percentage of men have used the technology in both online and in-store. 53% of the respondents that have used augmented reality online are male, and 62% of men have also used it in physical stores.

However, the results reveal that there is a high percentage of women respondents expressing a willingness to try the technology in both online (55%) and physical stores (56%). This could mean there is an opportunity for retailers to offer more targeted products to women using AR.

In fact, the results show that AR technology is also used when buying cosmetics like make-up in physical stores (40%).  In recent years, there has been an increase in the offer of augmented reality apps in beauty and accessory items like handbags. 

Global make-up brands like L’Oreal or Sephora have started using AR to help customers visualise the lipstick on them before deciding on buying it in stores. 

Cosmetics have a lot of potentials to attract new consumers using augmented reality. British make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury used the magic mirror as a new way of attracting customers. These would sit in front of a mirror that, using AR, would scan their face and be able to see a number of the brand’s looks on them, without wearing any real make-up.

Clothes and accessories are the most popular items

90% of respondents agree that AR is most useful when buying clothes online, followed by 70% stating accessories (handbags and glasses) and 59% stating furniture. 

type of product most used AR to buy

Visualisation is the key driver for choosing AR online

When asked about the reasons to choose augmented reality for online shopping, 60% of respondents state that they can visualise the product better and/or visualise it in the right place (makeup on their face or furniture in their apartment, for example).

Health, one of the main drivers behind choosing augmented reality

Minimising interaction with people is another key reason to choose augmented reality, as highlighted by half of the respondents. 

reasons to choose AR for shopping

Other factors behind choosing AR technology include the ability to choose from a wider range of products that may not be in store (45%) and also making purchases faster (43%) are the other two chosen by respondents as main reasons.

78% of the people that have started using augmented reality stated that they see themselves buying in a physical store a lot less or a little bit less since they have tried the technology.

For the respondents that have not used it, those aged 46 and over, stated that being able to try and touch the product (47%) is the main reason. Requiring the installation of an AR app (45%) is the second most important reason for not having used augmented reality yet.

COVID-19 has made people more aware of AR

Almost half of the respondents (47%) have changed their perception towards augmented reality and are more willing to use the technology. 

people are more willing to try augmented reality

The crisis has impacted all (or most of) aspects of our daily lives, accelerating the digital transformation of companies and changing our own habits. AR technology can be a great opportunity for retailers when looking to expand the current shopping experience to their customers.

Looking for augmented reality software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “GetApp AR/VR Survey 2020” study was collected in August 2020 from an online survey of 1,406 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,006 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
All participants come from different industry sectors.

 

 

Building A Digital Workplace Business Case: The Office Of Tomorrow

digital workplace business case

Working from home in light of COVID-19 has strengthened the digital workplace business case for businesses and employees alike. It’s a model that fosters greater flexibility and increased mobility. It also meets the increasing need for employees to access their company resources anywhere. 

digital workplace business case

Digital transformation of the workplace allows for a whole range of industry sectors to meet the demands of the always-on nature of our modern working world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that we are seeing a rise in the emergence of innovative solutions and the adoption of innovative solutions such as digital workplace software and remote support software.  

If you are looking to build a digital workplace business case, this article will outline everything you need to know about the relevant software and its benefits for businesses. 

What is a digital workspace?

The digital workplace is an online work environment offering employees holistic and centralised access to everything they need to perform their job. It is a collaborative platform unifying all of the tools, data and resources used by a company including:

  • Emails
  • Instant messaging
  • Social media
  • Professional software
  • Document management.

Unlike traditional intranets, the digital workplace goes beyond your company portal and productivity suites, such as Office 365 or G-Suite. The latter does provide access to a collaborative working environment with a variety of applications. However, bear in mind that this comes without the integration of other tools. The digital workplace, however, is a unified virtual platform that encompasses all applications, including an intranet, providing a more streamlined and collaborative employee experience.

What to include in a digital workplace business case:

What challenges will the digital workplace solve?

The digital workplace caters to the increasingly transversal and collaborative ways in which companies need to operate today. If you’re looking to adopt this model of working for your business, there are two key benefits to help you build your case: Strengthening employee productivity and improving communication.

Employee productivity

Like the office, home working has the potential for distractions. Therefore, keeping employees productive was a big priority for businesses during the initial lockdown. However, the challenges of coronavirus, and how it affects the way and where we work, continue to evolve. Companies face a growing need to allow their employees greater flexibility and mobility. 

By intelligently unifying all business resources, the digital workplace allows employees to access their workspace at any time and in any place, improving their ability to be agile. With the centralisation of a company’s platforms and tools, employees also no longer need to switch between multiple platforms. This streamlines the working experience, and in turn, improves overall efficiency.   

Collaboration and internal communication

Communication can be a common challenge for organisations, with many seeking to better involve and unite their employees. The digital workplace simplifies the flow of information between employees by using integrated messaging solutions, so even if employees are working in different places, they can still work together smoothly. 

Improving communication and the sharing of information not only strengthens collaboration between employees but also increases productivity while saving time. In addition, by providing companies with a future-facing, dynamic work environment, a digital workplace can enhance the appeal of a company to clients and potential candidates alike.

What are the main advantages of the digital workplace?

The digital workplace can help bring companies into a faster and more flexible way of working. By consolidating tasks into one place and interconnecting all tools and resources, employees can effectively do their job from anywhere. They can also adapt to and unanticipated workplace challenges.

More specifically, the digital workplace makes it possible to:

  • Have unique and secure access to professional resources.
  • Facilitate synchronous interaction and communication between collaborators.
  • Better unify employees and foster collaboration.
  • Schedule tasks in a shared calendar and streamline their management.
  • Share knowledge and resources with greater ease.
  • Access documents and information on the move.
  • Provide a real-time dashboard.
  • Reduce operational costs through task automation.

The considerations of implementing a workplace transformation

For the digital workspace to perform its key function of unifying and streamlining a company’s resources into one virtual environment, a business needs to ensure they can adapt to this digital overhaul. For instance, the range of platforms, tools and servers a company may have would need to meet certain requirements to fulfil a successful transition to a digital workspace. This includes meeting criteria for governance, security, data management and staff training.

Data integration is also a key consideration. For the software to amalgamate a company-wide range of resources, it needs to host a variety of your business’ data, which may include confidential or sensitive information that you will need to protect. In addition, each business has its own unique requirements that perhaps can’t be met by software just yet, and so it’s worth checking that the vital resources employees require to work can be incorporated into your digital workplace.

Looking toward the future

Just as the way in which we work continues to change, there is no doubt that the modern workplace will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs and expectations of businesses, and ultimately improve the way in which we all do our jobs. A digital workplace strategy is a good place to start when remote work is increasingly growing to be (at least part of) the new normal for offices.

Looking for a digital workplace solution? Check out our catalogue.

Tips to make your LinkedIn for business page stand out from the crowd

tips for Linkedin for business

LinkedIn for business has become a crucial platform for companies of all sizes, and for a b2b marketer looking to make valuable connections. 

linkedin-for-business

Launched in 2003, the social media platform became recognised as a “social network focused on people who want to find jobs” and has evolved into one of the world’s most well-known tools, especially useful for businesses.

Currently, LinkedIn’s activities for business and b2b marketer concentrates on different fronts: editorial; recruitment and selection; business generation; and marketing actions.

Just to give an idea of the platform’s scale (according to the data collected by the company itself): LinkedIn has around 50 million registered companies, and 675 million users distributed globally, of which 29 million are in the UK. That makes this country the fifth-largest platform market, followed by France (20 million). 

Therefore, creating a LinkedIn company page provides an opportunity to show a company’s brand, find talent, gain authority through relevant content, make connections with other businesses, and interact with their community.

In this post, we explore key tips for you to build a powerful brand presence on LinkedIn for business with a company page, and explain how to use such tools as marketing automation or video editing, and the production of live videos, which can help you make an impact.

How to create a LinkedIn business profile 

Registering your company on LinkedIn is easy. The first step is to create a personal LinkedIn profile and, from there, register your company. You will need to complete a form to begin, submitting all of the requested information about your business.

At this stage, you can’t be vague or skip information, as this can significantly decrease the chances of your page gaining visibility. According to LinkedIn, when companies insert all of the information required, profile views increase by 30% per week.

Pay attention to the crucial data that you must provide carefully, to ensure your profile is relevant on your business page:

1- URL definition: Keep the same username that you’ve utilised on other social networks. By doing so, you maintain consistency and avoid confusing your customers.

2- Choosing categories: It’s very important that you choose the right categories to which your business belongs, both those related to the size of the company (small, medium, or large) and your company’s area of expertise. This will help users find your business when using search filters.

3- Set a tagline: For this field, choose a phrase that reflects the essence of your company. When your business appears on Google searches, part of the tagline is also displayed, so the first few words are crucial to help users identify your brand quickly.

4- Add hashtags: LinkedIn has a Hashtags field for you to enter terms related to your business. You can even add a hashtag of your own, but it’s important to insert some hashtags that associate your brand with existing terms, to boost your visibility.

Another important aspect is the visual content, which must have a good resolution to ensure the highest standard of visibility and avoid any accusations of amateurism. For a good level of visual quality, the logo should have the following dimensions: 300 x 300 px, while the cover image must be 1584 x 395 px.

When adding brand information on your LinkedIn business page in the Overview, describe your mission, objectives, and values, as well as the products and/or services your business provides. Always continue the tone of voice that your brand uses to communicate, for consistency.

Take advantage of keywords, as they can help your company gain prominence in the LinkedIn search engine. With the help of SEO tools, it’s possible to list relevant keywords for each segment.

How does LinkedIn for Business work?

LinkedIn offers a complete range of services for Company Pages, all based on the social network’s purposes mentioned at the beginning of this text.

To choose which one to use – after all, except posts, content suggestions, talent solutions, stories, analytics, and live content, all other features are paid – you’ll need to identify which strategy your brand will follow on this social network.

If the idea is to strengthen your marketing strategies, just use the features that allow you to produce and share content, and that are based on the following principles:

  • Posting and sharing:

    Like any other social media platform, LinkedIn allows you to share textual and audio-visual content, with options for emojis, hashtags, external links, and mentions of other users or companies. With so many resources, the best thing to do is diversify the messages to attract followers’ attention.

  • Content suggestions:

    One way to discover the most engaging topics for your company’s audience is to consult the Content Suggestions tool. Using segmentation filters, you can gain great insights into different subjects. You also have the opportunity to estimate the audience size for a given topic. This is an excellent thermometer for you to identify which types of content are aligned with your product or sector, and to achieve more engagement when they’re published.

However, if the focus is on supporting the recruiting team, it’s worth taking advantage of the talent solutions search resources.

Below, we list all the features for business profiles offered by LinkedIn.

Main features 

Check out our summary of the main features available on LinkedIn, and how to use them.  

LinkedIn Stories

Brazil was the first market in the world to receive the stories feature on LinkedIn when it launched in April 2020. Today, Australia, France, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates already have access to the feature, which is being gradually released. Despite this, only selected Company Pages can use the functionality, as it is still in the testing phase.

The content published in this tool (which can be in the form of an image or video) is available to all followers for 24 hours. Each video has a maximum duration of 20 seconds, and the dimensions used must follow the following pattern:

Videos: 1080 x 1920 px, 30 Fps, Square pixels, H264, MP4 files; 9:16 full portrait

Images: 1080 x 1920 px, JPG/PNG; 9:16 full portrait

Check out our list of software to create videos that can also help you produce your stories.

LinkedIn Lives

LinkedIn Lives work differently. That’s because companies can only broadcast live video content to their followers if LinkedIn approves. For that, it’s necessary to submit a form to the platform, which may or may not be authorised.

Check out our list of streaming software that can also help you to make your live content.

LinkedIn Page Analytics

This feature allows you to evaluate the performance of your Company Page. When analysing the available indicators, you learn about what types of content are most effective in your engagement strategy. It is also possible to get to know your followers and visitors better. 

Check out our list of web analytics software that can also help you when evaluating results.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

This is a sales tool focused on the B2B market. Using this, salespeople can search for profiles of potential customers or decision-makers and contact them.

Check out our list of sales automation software that can also help you sell.

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter is the tool focused on finding talent on LinkedIn. If the company’s focus is hiring, this tool is ideal for you to search using advanced filters. 

Check out our list of applicant tracking software that can also help you find candidates.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads are a way to increase the number of followers your page has, bring it to wider attention, generate more leads, or promote an event. By segmenting the audience by job or function, the ad appears on the timeline or directly in the target audience’s inbox – it’s up to you to define the approach.

Check out our list of graphic design software that can also help you create ads.

Career Pages

Career Pages is an option offered by LinkedIn to make the business page even more comprehensive. It has some more in-depth features, such as the Daily tab, in which the company can show a little more of its culture and take followers behind the scenes to see its daily routine.

In addition to this, it also features the Jobs tab, in which the company can publish job opportunities, inviting interested parties to send their application information.

Check out our list of project management software that can also help you manage all your tasks.

Tips for managing your business page on LinkedIn

It’s no secret: relevance on LinkedIn is gained by making posts containing unique and exclusive content frequently, and exploring the different formats and possibilities the platform offers. Below, we help you understand how to diversify your message and win the attention of followers.

Create a content production routine

The LinkedIn algorithm prioritises the publication of relevant content, to increase the credibility of a Company Page. To organise yourself, define at least three content editorials: for example, this could be a day dedicated to inspiring phrases, another to industry news and, finally, another to images from behind the scenes of your company. Plan these editorials in a publication calendar. 

Once you have a broad view of the type of content you must create, it will be easier to write.

If you need help with making the editorial calendar, you can use a marketing automation software that allows you to distribute these texts on the days you choose to post. Another advantage of using these tools is that you will no longer have to worry about accessing LinkedIn to post your content, as the software will do it for you according to the day and time you stipulate.

Maintain your image

LinkedIn is not just about the text – the visuals are vital, as well. Here, the difference is that you can’t use selfies (as you may prefer on other social channels). Instead, use images of the team and pictures of the company. It’s crucial that they’re good quality and mature, as their content can affect how people view your business’s credibility and professionalism.

You can also think about creating videos, even if they’re made from photos or recorded with a mobile phone. Today, there are video editing programs that allow you to easily create content for publication on social media platforms.

Another fairly common practice on LinkedIn is to insert logos or frames into photos using design software. In addition to differentiating your content from those published by other companies, this shows that your business understands the power of visual language. After a while, people will be able to identify your brand at a glance. 

Practice your social selling

If there’s a platform that gives you the opportunity to practice social selling (or relationship selling), it’s LinkedIn.

Whether using the Sales Navigator feature or manually expanding your connections, your sales team can use LinkedIn and your profile search tool to get in touch with key professionals from other companies and approach them to present your service/product. As a result, they can increase sales.

Even if you already have CRM software – or intend to use this solution to manage customer relationships and store sales data – it’s possible to integrate it with Sales Navigator, which will share information from the contacts created through LinkedIn.

Build a powerful team 

A significant part of the recruitment work is done by human resource automation software. Using this type of platform, your company’s HR can easily manage the hiring process, analyse job-specific skills, and select the right candidates.

If you already use recruitment and selection software (ATS), you can associate it with Recruiter by viewing LinkedIn candidate information on your own ATS. When combining one tool with the other, your HR team has more information to help them choose the candidates that can help your company grow. This reduces the risk of hiring the wrong people to fill important roles.

what to and not to post on your linkedin page

It’s time to advertise your Company Page

With the page built and running at full steam, now’s the time to be known and gain more followers. 

The fastest and most immediate way to increase your number of followers is to invest in advertising on LinkedIn Ads – but remember that you must invest a significant amount to achieve good results. However, the investment will pay off when you start to notice a real difference in your visibility and engagement.

However, if you’re not in a hurry and want to save money at this stage, you can take other actions without necessarily incurring an expense. The first thing is to add your Company Page profile to your company’s email signature – all employees must have that same signature. Just insert the LinkedIn logo next to the logo of other social networks if you already use this subscription format. It’s a simple technique but it can make a positive impact.

Another way to increase your range and attract more followers is to encourage your employees to add your company to their profiles as professional experience. LinkedIn promotes interactions between users when an employee starts working at a certain company or completes a work anniversary cycle, which allows your page to gain indirect visibility.

Besides, whenever adding content, especially that which includes photos of events with professionals from within or outside your team, take this opportunity to tag their profiles. This way, you’ll promote interaction and your content will gain more likes. It’s a simple process but it can make a positive impact. Whenever someone recommends or reacts to your content, LinkedIn shows the activity on the users’ timeline, making your company even more visible to third parties.

Finally, take advantage of LinkedIn’s option to invite members of your own network and invite your first-degree connections to follow your business. 

These tips will help you boost your Company Page’s engagement and gain visibility on LinkedIn.

Are you looking for marketing automation software? Check out our catalogue!