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NZ retailers urged to embrace new e-commerce experiences ahead of holiday season

New Zealand retailers are being urged to embrace new e-commerce experiences, according to a new report from Accenture.

The report shows that retailers should expect to see new shopping behaviours from customers in the lead-up to the holiday season. 

With more shoppers using online channels, Kiwi retailers need to reassess their e-commerce platforms and begin integrating immersive digital experiences to win over customers, Accenture says.

“The global pandemic accelerated e-commerce trends. Kiwis began shopping online out of necessity, and businesses had to act quickly to bring their digital offerings online or be left behind," says Ben Morgan, Accenture New Zealand managing director.

“Kiwis’ consumer habits are changing and we are expecting to see a marked increase in online shopping this holiday season," he says.

Global research from Accenture shows that over 80% of consumers were likely to maintain their increased use of in-app ordering and home delivery services after the coronavirus outbreak.

“Lockdown left many businesses scrambling to get e-commerce platforms up and running," says Morgan.

"This holiday season those investments are set to pay dividends, but retailers should be preparing for more disruption in the future.”

Rise of immersive tech

Kiwi retailers will soon need to reassess their digital offerings. Research from Accenture has found that 64% of the world’s leading consumer brands are starting to invest in immersive experiences.

“New technologies such as augmented reality, 360-degree video, and virtual reality are already being used by the world’s leading brands to entice and excite customers," says Morgan.

"Fashion retailers such as Adidas and ASOS are using augmented reality for customers to virtually try on products and visualise how they will look in multiple settings.

“Kiwi retailers need to reimagine their e-commerce offerings to be successful in the years to come. It is time for retailers to stop treating their e-commerce platforms as digital catalogues. Customers are demanding better," he says.

Accenture’s research has found that more than half of consumers would better recall brands that regularly engage them with immersive technologies. Forty seven percent of consumers said that these technologies make them feel connected with products.

“Traditionally there was always a trade-off between buying items online and purchasing in-store. These immersive technologies are breaking down those barriers, to bring a greater shopping experience to e-commerce platforms," says Morgan.

“Immersive technology resonates with consumers. It gets them engaging with products in a way that is much more personal than the traditional approach to e-commerce platforms of having a photo and product description.

“These technologies were initially expensive novelties. Now, they are much more affordable, and their widespread adoption is being seen as the next step in the evolution of e-commerce," he says.

“New Zealand retailers should not rest on their laurels. E-commerce channels have been business imperatives throughout lockdown and the ongoing global pandemic. 

"But now is not the time for retailers to rest on their laurels – new technology is set to shake up the world of retail as customers demand more immersive experiences."