Crafting the commerce experience
Keep these examples in mind when crafting your commerce experience strategy. Design your experiences in such a way that people can access the information and products they need no matter what channel they’re using.
Implementing omni-channel experiences isn’t as difficult as you might think. Many retailers believe they need to rebuild their systems or make major IT or operational changes to support these initiatives, but if you’re working with a savvy technology partner, you can actually get your commerce experiences up and running easily.
Embrace the need for constant reinvention
Regularly updating your store and website visuals is necessary to keep shoppers interested — and drive repeat visits in the process. Forward-thinking retailers recognize this and are structuring their stores accordingly.
Take Story, the concept store in NYC “that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store.” Story revamps its location from the ground up every four to eight weeks, which means everything from its design and layout to the products it sells changes depending on specific themes. Doing so keeps the store fresh and gives people new reasons to come back.
Or consider Amazon’s 4-star stores, which are designed to sell products rated 4 stars and above. The shops are incredibly dynamic, as Amazon regularly updates their assortments based on what’s trending and popular online.
Take a leaf out of the playbook of these stores when designing your in-store experiences. Revamp your stores — or at least introduce new things — every few months to continuously drive excitement and intrigue.
The most efficient way to implement this is through technology. Tools such as web/mobile applications, digital signage, tablets, and a user-friendly CMS will enable you to easily update your digital products, assets and content, so you can continuously introduce new experiences at every turn.
Promote human connections
Technology may be enabling consumers to perform a variety of tasks without leaving their homes, but the need for human connection is more important than ever. A 2018 poll by Axios found that in-person interaction is still the top communication method across multiple age groups.
This is particularly true in retail. Sure, ecommerce is making it easy for consumers to browse and buy products online, but there is still a real need for human interactions and communities in the retail sector.
The world’s most successful and forward-thinking retailers are already embracing the power of communities.
Apple, for instance, has Today at Apple — free educational sessions held at its stores that tackle topics like photography, coding, art, design, and more. First launched in May 2017, Today at Apple has expanded considerably; according to 9to5Mac, as of 2018, around 18,000 sessions are being held weekly and attended by millions.
The Container Store is another excellent example of a retailer the understands the value of human connection. Their flagship store in Dallas features the Organization Studio, an experience that helps customers overcome their organizational challenges: Customers upload a photo or video of the space they want to organize, describe what they need help with, and then schedule an in-store appointment with an Organization Expert.
On their end, the Expert would receive the information from the shopper and would put together a tailored digital “solution board” that the customer could review, make changes to, and buy in the store or later online.
We’ve found that the warmth of that interaction and the relationship created is an extremely important component of bridging digital with physical stores.