Experience versus price: most Brits value smooth customer journey over cheaper price tag

Even with rising inflation, 98% of shoppers admit a good experience could tempt them to spend more, while gamification is becoming a stronger marketing technique in a digital world.

Bazaarvoice, a provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions, has released its latest research, based on a survey of more than 10,000 global shoppers.

When looking at local responses from the UK, the report reiterates the importance of engaging shopping experiences and proves that ‘online shopper’ may become a redundant term in the future, as almost all consumers are shopping on the internet.

Consumers are now looking for brands and retailers to take their e-commerce experiences to the next level with rewards programs, gamification, AR and VR, and, eventually, opportunities in the metaverse.

Zarina Lam Stanford, Bazaarvoice CMO, said:  “Consumers no longer need to be convinced to shop online for products, but brands and retailers have to up their game (literally) to keep them there. Consumers are ready and excited for these tools to not only entertain them, but also help them make more confident and informed purchases. Sellers need to experiment with how these technologies can enhance their shoppers’ experience and drive sales. ”

Seven key findings from the UK: 

Experiences are priceless

Even with rising inflation, 98% of U.K. respondents said there is at least a certain case where they would buy something based on experience vs. price.

Rewards programs are a win-win

72% of British consumers have spent more money than planned while shopping in order to unlock a brand or retailer’s reward. 58% say they’re more likely to purchase something if they can participate in a rewards program.

Brands need to step up their gamification

61% of British shoppers said they would enjoy gaming elements while shopping online, with 32% saying they would prefer this to be in-store and 28% wanting in-app gamification. A further 66% said they would spend longer in an app or on a website if they received points that converted into a discount in return, with 71% prepared to submit UGC to gain a reward.

Take shopping into the future

Looking to the future, live shopping (45%) is the shopping experience people in the U.K. are most excited about, followed by virtual reality (VR) (38%), the metaverse (26%) and augmented reality (AR) (22%). Interestingly, 48% of UK consumers want to see AR/VR in physical stores.

Move to the metaverse

Everyone surveyed had heard of the metaverse. However, 36% of Brits said that while they’re aware of it, they don’t understand how to use it. Despite this, 31% of people in the U.K. think it will be regularly used by most people in 3-5 years, 5% think it will happen within the year, and 12% don’t think it will ever be widely used.

NFTs are not going away

Awareness of NFTs is high with almost half (48%) of Brits saying they know what an NFT is, 22% saying they kind of do, and only 26% saying they don’t. Furthermore, two-thirds are preparing for an NFT purchase, with 38% intending this purchase within the next 12 months and 28% planning to in the coming years.

“China is an excellent indicators for brands in Europe”

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice added: “Consumers no longer want their expectations met, they want them to be exceeded. Technology is how we achieve that, but the key is not just implementing offerings such as VR or AR, but about developing a fully integrated ecommerce experience that will take the shopping experience to the next level. In doing so, it will transform it from a practical and transactional experience to a fun and engaging one. 

“More advanced markets where innovative technology tends to be adopted earlier in the life cycle, such as China, are excellent indicators for brands in Europe, and globally, as to which strategies and technologies have potential for success.”

The research was commissioned by Bazaarvoice and conducted in April 2022 by Savanta among 10,585 consumers from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the U.K., and the US