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State of Shopping

Wool & Water, a provider of shoppable augmented and virtual reality experiences for retailers and manufacturers, announced the results of its semi-annual State of Shopping report. The study examines consumer interest in using Snapchat for eCommerce shopping, how curiosity in AR and VR has increased, and the impact these trends could have on retailers in the near future as we move closer to the Metaverse becoming a reality. Notably, the survey uncovered an overwhelming preference for AR as a way to enhance the shopping experience, yet despite the recent development of Snapchat's AR Commerce tool, markedly low interest in using Snapchat to make purchases.

Augmented Reality When Shopping For A Car - Wool & Water
Augmented Reality When Shopping For A Car - Wool & Water

Surveying more than 1,000 U.S. consumers between October 6 – 8, 2021, the report revealed a strong majority (85%) of those who are somewhat or very excited about augmented reality (AR) as a way to interact with products. Additionally, another 85% are at least somewhat likely to choose a brand that gave them the option to increase confidence in the fit, look and experience of a product through AR or VR, over a competitor – up slightly from 83% in the Spring of 2021. These findings demonstrate the promise that AR offers, as well as the limitations of its most recognized platform: Snapchat.

For example, 50% of consumers have used Snapchat in the last 24 hours but only 6% have used the AR shopping feature to buy products. More than eight-in-ten (82%) have not bought anything directly through Snapchat using their AR shopping feature, and only a quarter (27%) expect to make more purchases over Snapchat in the next 6 months.

"These survey findings clearly demonstrate that consumers have a piqued interest in augmented and virtual reality when it comes to shopping online – a trend retailers will need to have a long-term plan for as these technologies are the steppingstones to a true Metaverse," said Jeff Bodzewski, CEO and co-founder of Wool & Water. "Despite this, far too many brands are relying on apps like Snapchat to offer an extended retail shopping experience for their customers. This is unequivocally the wrong strategy. Consumers are not using Snapchat for shopping, and they don't expect that to change anytime soon. Brands need to realize that they can and should offer a one-touch AR experience themselves, without the limitations and baggage that Snapchat carries."

Additional findings in the Fall 2021 report include:

• More than half (51%) think AR and VR have improved over the last six months and will play more of a role in shopping in the future.
• Roughly eight in ten (83%) consumers are somewhat or very likely to say that augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) would improve their shopping experience.

Wool & Water chief strategy officer and partner Justin McAneny notes how "direct-to-consumer brands need to realize the business constraints of going through a platform like Snapchat to make AR commerce a reality. Using Snapchat to access what they can offer to consumers themselves leads to more red tape, higher costs, and a weaker customer experience. While we applaud the work they are doing to make AR more widely available as an eCommerce and in-store shopping tool, there are more effective ways for brands to offer AR capabilities directly to consumers."

Brands who want to thrive in this new and evolving market need to offer a fully shoppable experience throughout their entire omni-channel approach – something that Wool & Water has been offering for more than a year.

The State of Shopping report is released twice a year and provides a view into the changing customer expectations around AR. To view the full results of the survey, and to learn more about Wool & Water, please visit www.woolandwater.co.