Leading provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions, Bazaarvoice has released its latest research, highlighting the importance of engaging shopping experiences as Australian shoppers look to gamification, AR, VR and opportunities in the metaverse.

Despite rising inflation, 99% of Australians say there is at least a certain case where they would buy something based on experience over price. Four in 10 (41%) identify user ratings and reviews as the most valuable source of insights, while 24% rank it as is their second most valued source.

More than two-thirds (68%) of Australian shoppers say they would enjoy gaming elements while shopping online, 37% say in-store, and 36% say in-app. 72% say they would spend longer in an app or on a website if they received points that converted into a discount in return.

Live shopping (47%) is the emerging experience Australians are most excited about, followed by virtual reality (VR) (42%), augmented reality (AR) (27%), and the metaverse (29%). Overwhelmingly, more than half (52%) want to see more AR/VR integrated into in-store experiences.

There’s no Australian shopper who has not heard about the metaverse. However, in line with global peers, 51% of Australian respondents said they don’t understand the concept, 31% think it will be regularly used by most people in three to five years, 7% think it will happen within the year, and 12% don’t think it will ever be widely used.

The biggest barriers for Australians to adopt shopping within a metaverse experience are their self-reported low understanding of the metaverse (37%), the lack of trust in the metaverse with personal data (35%) and a perceived inability to try things out before purchasing (35%).

Bazaarvoice Asia Pacific managing director, Kate Musgrove (pictured) said, “With consumers more willing than ever to gamify their shopping experiences, brands need to look beyond the need to convince their prospective customers to just buy something. Shoppers today are happy to be entertained, nudged, challenged, and engaged beyond a product transaction.

“Brands and retailers willing to experiment with emerging technologies and shopping experiences are poised to encourage more and better product reviews that drive higher sales.”