Retailers to bring in-store experiences to the home through Virtual Reality, Oracle reports

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Online retailers are turning to emerging technologies, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and chatbots, in the race to offer best-in-class customer experience, reveals new research released by Oracle.

The Oracle report, Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?, polled over 250 senior marketing and sales professionals from online retailers across EMEA. It explored to what extent they have adopted emerging technologies to enhance the online shopping experience, and what plans they have to implement these between now and 2020.

Seventy four per cent of those surveyed expect to be providing customer experiences through virtual reality. Similarly, 73% plan to serve customers using artificial intelligence as they strive to engage and develop a closer relationship with online shoppers.

The research also reveals that online retailers are increasingly aware of shoppers’ preference for swift and seamless interactions that they can make on their own terms. Between now and 2020, the percentage of online retailers that will use chatbots to respond more efficiently to customer enquiries is set rise from 31% to 76%.

The report also found that sales and marketing leaders acknowledge the growing importance of data-driven insight in delivering a higher standard of customer services and experiences. Eighty seven per cent of respondents have already implemented purpose-built mobile apps to gain valuable customer insight, or plan to do so by 2020. Similarly, 89% are already conducting smarter analyses of customer data or plan to do so in the same timeframe.

Mark de Groot, marketing firector EMEA – digital customer experience at Oracle, said: “Cost-conscious online shoppers are less loyal and more concerned with the service and shopping experience than ever before. They want to engage with brands on their terms and at their convenience, and technologies like VR, AR and chatbots will play a growing role in helping online retailers deliver on this expectation. From trying on clothes in a virtual dressing room, to products that come alive in your hands, these emerging technologies offer brands new opportunities to differentiate themselves with campaigns and services that will excite and engage online shoppers.”