Let us face the truth; a human cannot be replaced in a successful business with a machine. Is this statement accurate or false? Properly, we have proven success stories that are telling us a different story. eCommerce stores are getting closer to replace real-life experience and show it’s potentials. But we see a lot of samples where the digital world fails, so we ask today, why eCommerce stores don’t sell?
“An eCommerce store needs to show the convenience of a retail store and deliver all the flavor of personality which we love. It is a point-of-sales where the salesperson, marketing person, cashier and shop assistant needs to be replicated into the digital world.” – Dieter Hovorka, CTO, and co-founder of Skillz Middle East
Definition Shopping Experience
Defining a shopping experience is not anymore the classic wow for a customer like great design and great colors. It goes far beyond the point people selecting a product of the shelf. From the point, a client enters the store we can find multiple touchpoints between the customer and the shop itself. To succeed requires interaction, and we do not talk about online or offline alone. Both need to achieve the mission with their enabling methods to succeed.
“A shopping experience remains a complex concept, which stretches far beyond the fact of a shopper buying a product in a store.”- we can read at Retail Native
Did you know … a recent study in 2019 showed that more than 50% of shoppers start their shopping journey on Amazon instead of using search engines?
The aspect of multiple touchpoints for multiple interactions, from interest to narrowing down options is key. Clients want to see everything together in the right place/time/price for the right product to make up their minds. Special when it comes to the moment of truth, the last mile, and after-sales and customer services, they need to be addressed for our consumer.
It summarizes up and we can see that the offline to online (O2O) experience is as much important as the digital world alone. The digital world brings advantages, which we can’t deny, but still does lack in most of the cases within a customer-centric approach.
eCommerce store is lacking exactly where?
The endless opportunity has arrived; the digital universe is the answer to many wishes we might have. However, on which elements are we miss out when we talk about the customer-centric approach? Let’s take a step back and replicate the brick and mortar store experience which we mastered over hundreds of years.
People love in-store shopping from the point they walk on the street and see the store window or meet a promoter in person. The excitement comes when they examine shelves or clothes racks when they can directly identify promotional items and being able to talk to a sales representative before buying.
Buyers in a brick and mortar store interviewed say they enjoy the atmosphere of shopping on the spot, having the ability to see and touch a product before buying it, and there is no delivery time. This sounds all good, is there a possibility to replicate this experience into the online shopping world?
Let us start to compare in-store shopping vs eCommerce Store
- Store window. The ultimate store window represents the front of your eCommerce website. All possibilities are given and even an advancement compared to traditional stores. Your customer experience matters from the second a person arrives on your website, presenting their personal flavors for returning customers or also for first-time visitors by knowing where they came from and showing what they are looking for.
- The Promotor: Nothing is easier than that in the digital universe, from the social promotion of products, customer reviews, recommendations, and ads you receive multiple options in the digital omnichannel world.
- Shelves and Racks. Building an eCommerce store has many possibilities in design and functions. Definitely, our experience traverses from looking left to right or right to left to scroll up and down, are the classic navigation of eCommerce stores. Product show wheels let us enjoy the experience, which we know from our retail store.
- Atmosphere: Let us get cozy; it is all about knowing your website visitor. From personalization to building the right dialogue, recommendations and assisting in a genuine way with easy navigation and advanced search, breadcrumbs and search facets build the atmosphere.
- Identify promotional items: Nothing easier than this, we can make the proper promotional items visible for our visitors via various options, including pop-ups, focus area placements, and related to his last visit. Using the omnichannel approach gives us the power to make them memorable at the fingertip, anytime and anywhere.
- Delivery time: It seems that real stores enjoy here an advantage, which you see you can purchase on the spot and take it with you in hand. Nevertheless, catching up with the fact of 24-hour max delivery is happening in many eCommerce stores. Some of them deliver in not even 2 hours. Special when it comes to eCommerce stores that are present with warehouses at customer’s shopping areas.
- Talk to a sales representative before buying: Online chatting is helping here to bridge the gap, a chatbot reached popularity over the last months. Also, buyer’s recommendations and testimonials answer the majority of questions and raise trust in most of the products offered online.
- Ability to see and touch: From creating engaging video content to interactive 3D models to VR/AR we have great technological advancements, which open a new dimension of experiencing products.
The ideal eCommerce Store
Now the question maybe comes up what is in there for the store operator? They can be in touch with their loyal customers 24 hours, even if they are not presently in your store. Up-selling, cross-selling, re-marketing, re-targeting, follow up on abandon carts, and being first in line is an excellent opportunity in the digital world. Spreading news to the favorite omnichannel of trust of your client remains a fantastic opportunity.
Can you tick all the checkboxes and say, “yes my online experience is the same as in my store”? Or does the question remain, “Why eCommerce stores don’t Sell?”.
One thing is clear, you don’t need to make your own eCommerce store. Many people take the advantage to use Amazon which is one of the most successful online stores ever. You can take the advantage of making the store-in-store experience real. Getting up and running with Amazon can be quick, here is a Beginner Guide on how to get started selling on Amazon.
If we are looking into the promising future, will the shopping experience change from what we know today?
Blake Morgan wrote for Forbes “My prediction is a definite yes. Nearly every aspect of how we shop will transform in the coming years, and we are already seeing much of that change start to occur.”
We learned about three future aspects of improvements; customer experience, transaction-less experiences, and sustainability. We are moving more faithful to a customer-centric experience by following the dialogue of trust.