E-commerce and Virtual Reality: retail survival amid Covid-19

The threat of COVID-19 brought a new way of life for billions of people. With the measures of isolation and lack of interpersonal contact, people have turned to technology as a fulcrum for never before made actions.


For many, purchasing online or studying via video chat applications can be a totally new reality. But it seems to be here to stay.


Nielsen examined recent data sets collected from consumers around the world who provided insights about their intentions regarding the technology and the revised along with the developments of recent weeks.


“Undoubtedly, the adoption by consumers of technologies to be informed and protect their health can inspire confidence in a stressful time and this can be the unexpected catalyst to extend the range of platforms and technological solutions, not just short, but long term as well,” says Nicole Corbett, Intelligence Officer of Nielsen.


E-commerce in exponential growth

Nielsen’s retail leader in Italy, Romolo Camillis, noted that as of February this year when it was imposed the first lockdown in a few Italian areas, there was a significant acceleration in the growth of e-commerce. He says that in the future, e-commerce in Italy is a consolidated reality, with online retailers providing a more structured and established platform.


As the recent outbreak spread, older and less adventurous consumers have also begun to venture online, welcoming convenience that technology can provide in the midst of movement restrictions and greater caution.


Read More: The growing influence of Artificial Intelligence in our lifes


Virtual reality: the shopping experience at home

As the cases of 19-COVID increase worldwide, Artificial and virtual reality technology (A / VR) has the potential to bring the in-store experience for homes.


Imagine the ability to buy remotely from the comfort of your home. A virtual shelf is filled with a selection of items based on your purchase history. You select products, ask questions to the virtual assistant on the ingredients, and check the reviews of other people about it. You can not be in the store, but it seems it is.


In some markets, it is already a reality, and smartphone applications leverage augmented reality to show how a product will look at the consumer’s home.


“In the difficult times of COVID-19, where hygiene is a major concern, consumers are less prepared to physically try the products and that is where augmented reality can replicate experiments without the implications for health”,  says Ji Hyuk Park, commercial leader of Nielsen in South Korea.


The progression in the use of technology can start with basic functionality offered by smartphones, such as mobile payments. As consumers become more comfortable with these tools, new advances such as automatic signatures and custom location alerts will change the way consumers buy and accelerate the adoption of more sophisticated tools such as VR.


Read more about Trends for 2020 in our Report about Organizational Culture:



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