Is e-commerce’s next move experiential?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Unlike traditional online commerce which is focused on transaction-centric elements such as fast site performance, price/availability and ease of navigation, experiential e-commerce seeks to replicate the complete shopping experience consumers are used to facing in a brick-and-mortar store.
According to CoreMedia, a provider of web content management software, experiential e-commerce adds the ability to browse and learn, gain a personalized shopping experience, and find informative, inspirational and entertaining content (interactive tools, how-to-guides, editorial, etc.).
Only 11 percent of retailers currently have an experiential e-commerce strategy in place, according to a survey CoreMedia conducted at last year’s 2014 IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit. However, experiential e-commerce is gaining traction as up to 75 percent of companies are discussing the concept more extensively.
The top factor driving experiential e-commerce adoption is a lack of differentiation from the competition, as reported by 57 percent of retail respondents. Other factors increasing retailers’ interest in experiential e-commerce were low conversion rates (44 percent) and a lack of brand understanding among consumers (43 percent).
Customer loyalty was seen as the top benefit gained from embracing experiential e-commerce, cited by 68 percent of respondents; followed by revenue (66 percent); customer satisfaction (63 percent); engagement (62 percent); and brand awareness (58 percent).
However, the survey found five obstacles make the implementation of an experiential e-commerce strategy more difficult:
- Providing a relevant experience across all channels (58 percent);
- Personalizing the user experience based on context (58 percent);
- Integrating with marketing systems, campaigns and content (58 percent);
- Lacking experimental commerce expertise (48 percent); and
- Integrating rich media into their commerce platform (48 percent).
To ensure marketing and e-commerce alignment, CoreMedia recommended that retailers map out the buyer’s journey across all touch points and identify "moments of truth" in which content and offers can guarantee a positive action from consumers.
Additionally, CoreMedia suggested that retailers review the technology they have in place so they are not using inadequate experiential tools. On top of that, businesses must ensure that team members can easily use these tools to reduce dependence on IT or external resources. Retailers can build up technology skills by offering cross-training or by partnering with system integrators or digital agencies that have experience working with e-commerce and content management solutions.
- Only 11% Of Retailers Have Embraced Experiential e-commerce – Retail TouchPoints
- CoreMedia e-Commerce Survey Report – CoreMedia
- CoreMedia e-Commerce Survey Infographic – CoreMedia
What do you think of experiential e-commerce’s potential to transform the online experience? Can e-commerce sites match the storytelling, personalization and other elements more common to brick & mortar retail?