Thought Leadership BLOG

The Next-Gen Features Consumers Actually Want

By October 27, 2017 No Comments

Astound Commerce’s 2017 Global Brand Shopper Survey of 1,000 consumers details what’s important to the most avid online shoppers, and where brands should prioritize their efforts when crafting top-notch customer experiences — both online and off.

Here are the report’s key digital and in-store insights about customers’ changing expectations. Keep these in mind as you work to perfect your omnichannel strategy:

Demand for Digital Both Online and In Store

The basics won’t cut it for much longer for many shoppers. Consumers, especially millennials, expect more engaging brand shopping experiences, both online and in store.


  • 34 percent of shoppers find customization tools (like Ray-Ban’s build-your-own sunglasses) very important.
  • Four out of ten shoppers value sizing tools that assist in selecting the right product (eg. TrueFit), while 38 percent prioritize online product finders as very important.
  • Millennials look ahead to next-generation capabilities, craving features like virtual reality (VR) shopping experiences and room visualization and planning tools (32 percent).
  • More than 6 out of ten Millennials expect artificial intelligence capabilities that can deliver more personalized chat and customer service experiences.


The study reveals an overarching theme: even when customers are shopping online, they want personal, exciting connections with brands. Whether interacting with a chatbot or simulating an experience through VR, they don’t want to compromise their shopping experience just because they’re on their phones or laptops.


In Store

  • Three out of ten shoppers want smart fitting rooms along with access to in-store devices to research products, check inventory and place orders.
  • 55 percent of non-Millennials (and 69 percent of Millennials) look forward to virtual reality that can bring an image, product label or store experience to life.
  • 67 percent of non-Millennials and 86 percent of Millennials value a mobile POS that would allow to them to check out faster and remotely.
  • Almost seven out of 10 Millennials consider in-store beacons very important.

While customers have always headed to brick-and-mortar stores to see and feel products for themselves, they now want deeper integration between stores, a brand’s ecommerce site, and technology in stores. The more brands can use tech to drive convenient, engaging experiences, the more loyal customers will become.

Get Ahead of Next-Gen Features

Both online and in-store findings reveal higher expectations across channels. While older generations tend to prioritize convenience and practicality, Millennials are excited by more innovative experiences that engage them throughout the process and across channels. Brands can meet the needs of all generations by implementing the technology that makes shopping easier, faster and more immersive.

Looking ahead, features that now seem cutting-edge will become standards. VR/AR experiences and in-store features like smart dressing rooms will be the norm. The best market leaders will start preparing now for the next generation of retail.