Times are changing, and with that in mind, your business needs to make some changes as well. Whether it's staying relevant fashionably or technologically, it's important to stay up to date on the latest trends and solutions. As mentioned in How to Survive the Retail Apocalypse, there are plenty of integration features that would only benefit your eCommerce business, and other solutions that will also increase traffic to your brick-and-mortar store to prevent your retail and/or online business from becoming irrelevant.
Here are some creative examples to help you brainstorm:
This trendy bicycle shop has created an interesting and informative way for customers to experience their products, right from the comfort of home. Shopify augmented reality (AR) is an interesting way to implement the feeling of shopping in store, but you get to try it out at home. Looking at their products fit into your home brings a virtual reality kind of feeling. Pure Cycles' goal is to get more people on bikes. Shopify AR is driving customers towards their products more than ever. Daniel Beauchamp from Shopify stated,
"What has Jordan and his team excited about the 3D models they’re creating through Shopify AR is the potential to provide an immersive shopping experience that empowers customers to remotely explore every inch, every part, and every angle of their products—an area where traditional product photography has fallen short".
I'm providing the following information as a true consumer, straight from my shopping addicted brain. My favorite hobby is to go shopping online, put all my favorites in a cart, then abandon it. It's an extreme sport. The personal touches, information and engaging videos make me click on the "add to cart button" because I typically know within 3 minutes if this is a product I would enjoy. According to Retaildive, Sephora has been a company at the forefront of experiential retail for some time now. Not to be totally biased or anything, but let me just say that Sephora's website gives me all the important product information to create a luxurious and easy shopping experience that I need when I'm on their eCommerce site or using their mobile app. Not only is their eCommerce platform user friendly, it also provides a lot of videos with product information along with instructions on how to use the product. On top of that, they make it clear which products are marked "clean beauty" or "allure's best seller" before even clicking on the product description, meaning less deep diving for product details on Google. Their site and app provide multiple personalized sections to fill all the information you need to shop for the right products based on your skin type, tone, and concerns.
Most importantly, Sephora upgraded their store and website as time, technology, and styles changed.
Source: Connoir and Wayback Machine
Every time I'm in their retail or online store, I have a wonderful and easy-going experience. As a woman who is always on the go, when I need to get something that I buy regularly, I try to make it as quick as possible. If I go into their store and I want a product that is out of stock, they provide free shipping to my house if I order online while being in their physical retail store. The store associate does all the work and clicking for me. All I have to do is pay and then wait about 3-5 days for the product to arrive at my door. This can take the stress off any shopper, and it has saved me a couple of times.
Whenever I'm shopping in their store and I'm unsure of a product, a store assistant will give me a sample for free. Sephora introduced the concept of try-before-you-buy for cosmetics, which has been widely replicated across beauty retail. Even if I decide to just buy the product without trying a sample, but later discover that it's not to my liking, Sephora accepts free returns (check their return policy for more detail). If the product has been opened and gently used, they provide a seamless and easy shopping and return experience both on their eCommerce site and in their retail store. Their updated, integrated retail/eCommerce solutions are what create such a unique and luxurious shopping experience. This is the glue that keeps their company relevant and thriving. The quality of service they provide at their brick and mortar and eCommerce site is unlike any beauty store I've experienced.
I'm sure your brain is about to explode with all these truth bombs and amazing solutions.
It's important to note what's happening here. Not only did these companies stay up to date with the latest trends and styles, they made a point to upgrade their technology as well-- and they have been prosperous because of it.
Here are my top 4 key takeaways :
- Make digital a priority.
Sephora and Pure Cycles have taken their technology to the next level, with well-known success to back it up.
- Upgrade the look and feel of your brick and mortar.
Your retail store should look just as nice are your online store. First impressions are important because they dictate the mood and the overall experience a customer will have.
- Integrate in-store technology to attract and engage customers.
Sephora and Pure Cycles help clients solve certain consumer pain points, leveraging augmented reality, facial scanning, etc. Integrating ROPIS (reserve online and pickup in-store), or BORIS (buy online, return in-store) can be helpful to drive more in-store traffic, as well as creating an easy and friction-less shopping experience.
- Personalize product or service recommendations based on customer data.
Sephora is known to use personalization to attract and maintain loyal customers. Pure Cycles also does this by allowing customers to view products while at home, from their app. These companies create a unique shopping experience unlike any other.
Before making the jump to integrate new technology into your retail and eCommerce business, you might be thinking that you need to talk this over with people who are experts in your business and come up with what needs to change moving forward. Surviving the “Retail Apocalypse” by ShopGate is a detailed survival playbook mentioning many of the solutions mentioned here and much more. Bring this guide to your next meeting if you're considering making a switch to implement these solutions as it will give you plenty of ideas.
Now with all of these helpful tips and tricks, comprehensive information along with a couple of helpful guides, we at Fortuitas hope that this series of articles about retail and eCommerce have inspired your creativity.
If you ever need help on a future eCommerce integration project, please feel free to schedule some time with us.