E-Commerce still suffers from a tactile experience gap compared to brick-and-mortar: 46% of U.S. shoppers said they like to touch and try items before they buy them — an experience that can lead to purchasing more expensive items in-store, according to a survey by Klarna. In fact, 29% of shoppers prefer to browse for items online before actually buying them in a store.
Technology can help online retailers with this challenge, particularly in the fashion space: 49% of shoppers are interested in solutions that take their measurements so they can be sure something will fit before buying. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tools are another helpful solution that lets shoppers bring the changing room experience into their home.
AR and VR options are particularly attractive to Gen Z shoppers — 40% of this generation wants to use the technology to check out items they can’t try on, compared to 24% among all U.S. shoppers.
Fashion retailers have good reason to meet Gen Z’s demands, since they make the most annual online clothing and accessory purchases of any demographic, at 18, followed closely by Millennials who make an average of 14 annual purchases. In comparison, the average U.S. shopper purchases clothing and accessories online 10 times per year, and those aged 55+ do so just eight times annually.
Consumers also crave in-store technologies that can help in their shopper journeys. More than a quarter (26%) want smart mirrors that make recommendations on what to buy based on what shoppers try on, and another 21% are interested in tracking tech that can confirm if their purchase was ethically produced.
Payment Flexibility Supports Luxury Retail
Luxury goods retailers have an additional consideration when courting younger shoppers: affordability. More than one-third (35%) of Gen Z and 30% of Millennials said they have to save for several months before purchasing high-end goods, compared to 22% of all U.S. shoppers. In addition, 37% of Gen Z and 30% of Millennial shoppers said they struggle to afford the latest trends, and would like options to pay in installments or pay later.
Flexible transactions have support across generations: 33% of of respondents said that having the option to pay for their online purchases in four equal payments would help them better manage their finances, while 24% said it would mean they could buy more high-end products that they couldn’t usually afford. Another 21% said it would allow them to ultimately spend more.
Shoppers also want the ability to return purchases they decide they don’t want: 36% of respondents said they would abandon a cart if the site lacked a decent returns policy, and 53% said a slow and expensive returns process would prevent them from shopping with a retailer again. However, 66% cited a free and easy returns policy is one of the top aspects that would improve their experience.