The Retail Customer Experience: Tips and Tricks
Amazon can often seem like an industry goliath – and for good reason. In 2016, 34% of all online traffic from November through December occurred on Amazon.com[i]. And in the same year, a whopping 52% of US households were Prime subscribers[ii]. So how can other retailers compete?
The answer lies in the retail customer experience. Shoppers want to make an emotional connection to their products and their brands, and the way they do that is through rich experiences they can engage with. This is something Amazon historically has struggled to do, meaning this is a key opportunity for other brands. Below, we break down four ways your content can compete with Amazon.
40% of consumers reportedly look online for inspiration[iii]. From outfits, to décor, to lifestyle tips and tricks, shoppers are actively seeking out this sort of content. The best way to infuse inspiration into digital experiences is through emotional connections. When customers make purchase decisions from an emotional place, it becomes a personal relationship.
Ultimately, Amazon cannot provide this sort of inspiration. Amazon makes it easy to buy, not to shop and discover. There are no rich experiences based around style, trends, or designs, meaning customers will look elsewhere. A great example of inspiration done right is homeware retailer Serena & Lily’s pillow buying guide. The experience shows shoppers how to mix and match their pillows, and walks them through the décor trend with how-to guides. It’s creative and engaging, and once shoppers fall in love with the style they’ve created they’re ready to buy.
Amazon is known for its choices – with over 419 million SKUs[iv], they have an endless amount of products. But that’s not necessarily a good thing, as it’s easy to get lost in product grids. Choice paralysis can absolutely deter a purchase, as it’s easy for consumers to be overwhelmed with too many product options. And even after making a purchase, being exposed to hundreds of options in the process can trigger buyer’s remorse.
Instead, offer your customers a curated experience that takes the stress out of shopping. Take Hush’s denim guide; the experience presents shoppers with a specially selected collection of products, with styling tips included. It narrows down customer’s choices and makes it easier for them to make a purchase. And the styling suggestions are a perfect opportunity for upsells.
It’s a well-known fact in the industry that as consumers, we have a dwindling attention span. It’s been found that adults have about 3 minutes before they move on to the next activity[v]. So how can retail marketers combat this? With snackable content; experiences that are rich, curated, and tell a story, but are also easily digestible and accessed.
A great example of this is Tibi’s “Tibi on the Street” experience. The url remains the same but the content itself is constantly refreshed, meaning loyal shoppers can check for updates easily. The experience itself keeps things short and sweet, with punchy copy and images that are easy to casually peruse. Instant shoppability means shoppers never have to leave the experience, so the purchase process is as simply as clicking add to cart.
When your brand is spending valuable time and money on rich content, you want it to resonate with your customers. Keeping your content fresh and relevant is one of the best ways to do that. With fast fashion bigger than ever (According to Business of Fashion, Zara features over 10,000 new designs every year, with products taking only two weeks to go from design to stores), shoppers expect to get new content just as fast. Fresh content that is ahead of the trends and highly relevant to what consumers care about will always drive engagement.
Fashion retailer New York & Company wanted to make their 2016 New York Fashion Week salon show accessible to all their loyal shoppers. Within three hours of the models hitting the runway, they had a rich, shoppable, multimedia experience live on their site. And to top it off, they had a marketing email announcing it out to their entire consumer base. The experience was fresh and highly relevant to their fashion-savvy audience, and with instant shoppability it was a home run. The looks sold out in days.
Amazon is a giant in the industry, but they simply cannot focus on the consumer relationship on an emotional level. They’re not creating interactive and shoppable experience that their customers truly crave. This creates a huge opportunity for other brands to deliver this engaging content; ultimately, storytelling is the way brands will stand out and make an impact.
Want to learn more about competing with retail giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart? Watch the full webinar here.
[iv] L2 – How Amazon is Dismantling Retail, April 2017