Many online stores focus primarily on convenience and findability. Boring! The challenge for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands is therefore not only to make online shopping efficient, but also attractive. A plea for e-commerce experiences.
Ecommerce is boring
According to research by payment provider Klarna, only 9% of online shoppers find online shopping “fun”. We may have become much more accustomed to online shopping over the past year, but what about the quality of the experience? Ecommerce, of course, scores points when it comes to convenience, but few people describe online shopping as truly enjoyable.
At the moment, too many brands are still just focused on providing convenience to their customers. The challenge for brands that are directly to consumers in 2021 will therefore be to make searching and buying online as attractive as it is effective. To do this, brands need to invest in experienced e-commerce platforms.
The trend of experiential e-commerce stems from the Experiential retail movement, which began in 2010. Experiential retail is about an in-store experience that goes beyond just shopping. It is also known as retailtainment.
It combines entertainment with retail stores, where consumers in a store can not only shop, but also experience and do something extra. A good example of retail is Nike’s brand store in the United States. A retail store that not only showcases products but also has a basketball court, try first before buying a new level.
Experienced e-commerce is a translation of experienced retail to the online world. It’s a strategy that aims to strengthen the bond between brands and consumers through a virtualized, browser-based shopping experience. In simple words, a cool e-commerce experience that uses, for example, 3D content, storytelling, AR / VR and / or AI.
These e-commerce sites are aimed at creating the best possible online experience for discovering and exploring products, giving a little pleasure to online shopping.
Experienced e-commerce can go as far as Google’s Umami Land. It is a virtual theme park celebrating Japanese food culture. The experience teaches you about a variety of Japanese dishes. In addition, it also connects you to the local restaurant in your area that serves specific dishes.
Experienced e-commerce may also be less advanced. Patagonia’s e-commerce website is an excellent example. It’s a ‘regular’ web store, but filled with movies, long and short documentaries, interviews and photo content.
Besides it is a more traditional e-commerce website, optimized for product discovery and fast checkout. It also allows customers to dive into the brands and its values by including different types of content on the site.
Benefits of experienced e-commerce
One of the major benefits of e-commerce experience is that it increases the confidence of the buyer. The typical online shopping experience is based on product images or, if you are lucky, a video that shows the use or features of the product. Useful, but it does not answer all the questions customers have about a product. With Augmented Reality, for example, consumers can get a better idea of a product. This in turn leads to lower returns.
Experienced e-commerce experiences also strengthen the bond between brand and consumer. Unlike TV and social media where almost only information is sent, experiential e-commerce offers an interactive component. And interaction leads to connection.
When you are able to browse, click, listen and look at things about a product, then you become more familiar with a product and feel more connected to it. This is the same principle as being able to try on your new shoes on a basketball court before you buy them. The more confidence you have in a product, the greater the chance that you will buy it.
Another benefit of experiential e-commerce is its unlimited reach. Experience in the store has the capacity and geographical limits. Online experiences do not have those limits. This allows brands to reach a larger audience and make contact.
How to get started
When you start e-commerce, there are three important elements to keep in mind. Start by focusing on interactivity.
Real-time interactivity distinguishes experiences from online content. It provides an element that adds the personal touch that is crucial to successfully translating offline retail experiences online. Whether people can try on sunglasses or shoes with AR, chat with experts or watch videos, interactivity is key.
Second, make it divisible. Shopping is a social activity. We may have forgotten it because of the pandemic, but it’s true. The social aspect is completely missing in online shopping. Brands should strive for a website, an experiential trading experience, that people want to talk about and / or experience with their friends and family.
Lastly, stay close to your brand. The possibilities for fun and interactive e-commerce experiences are limitless. The key to successful e-commerce experience is to stay as close as possible to the intersection of your brand values and the importance of your customer. If you would like to receive support from an experienced agency, please contact Story from AMS today.