With digital-first shopping becoming more ingrained in the consumer mindset, the online marketplace has become more competitive than ever. To not only stand out amid the multitude of options, but also provide consumers with the experiential and emotional factor often missing from eCommerce, brands and retailers are creating unique virtual experiences through features like live-streamed events, on-demand consultations, community platforms, and enhanced virtual try-on capabilities.
Further, online retailers are experimenting with shoppable media and remote 1:1 service to replicate the sense of discovery consumers are used to receiving when browsing in-store. In this digital-first era, businesses have the opportunity to connect directly with consumers on the platforms where they're already spending their time to deliver convenient, hyper-personalized experiences.
Three Trends to Keep in Mind
In our new research paper, Next-Gen Digital Commerce, the PSFK team looked at how key players are tackling virtual shopping. Read on to see how three businesses have implemented digital tools to provide unique commerce experiences to online shoppers.
Social Engagement—Many online shoppers are missing the social aspect of in-person shopping. To provide communal experiences virtually, brands and retailers are combining live video, chat and social media tools to create digital shopping experiences that connect consumers and foster community. The experiential store Camp, for example, introduced a virtual White E-lephant Gift Exchange, where consumers can invite their friends and family, shop Camp's website, and enjoy an online gift-revealing experience before their present ships out.
Guided Selection—In brick-and-mortar stores, customers have the ability to see, feel, and try on products before purchase. To build this trust virtually, brands and retailers are utilizing questionnaires and communication features to provide highly individualized recommendations. For instance, Canadian menswear retailer Harry Rosen uses shoppers' self-reported preferences and data from their previous purchases and consultation sessions to create curated baskets tailored to individual tastes.
Native Integration —To reduce friction on the path to purchase digital retailers are embedding enhanced checkout capabilities directly into search engines, social media, and other platforms where product discovery naturally takes place. These integrations close the gap between intention, providing the ease and immediacy that customers expect. Messaging app WhatsApp has done this by creating an “add to cart” feature that allows users to shop through multiple retailers' WhatsApp Business accounts and check out with a single text message.
These are just some of the tools that digital retailers are using to engage and connect with online shoppers. Learn more within our research paper on next-generation eCommerce experiences, available here.