Could you Innovate by selling online?
The emergence of online companies has forced many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to close many of their physical locations around the world.
Technology is revolutionizing the shopping experience with virtual fitting rooms, showrooms and many other innovations that are all part of a customer-focused plan.
The latest E-commerce strategies need to cater for consumers who use multiple platforms and devices to go through the buying process.
They may start by searching prices and variations on their smartphone and complete it by picking up their order in store.
Right now you may be wondering how an online shopping website could fit into your current business operations. Have you been dependant on physical premises to serve clients because certain services or assessments had to be conducted in person?
Many companies who faced similar challenges in the past have since created strategies and methods to enable most tasks to be conducted through their e-commerce platforms, instead of in person or as an alternative option for their customers.
Here’s a look at 5 unique ways in which companies are doing business online:
1. Showcasing furniture in a customer’s home through AR | Target, Lowes, Amazon
The future is here! Augmented reality (AR), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are no longer ideas reserved for science fiction films. Retailers are leveraging AR technology right now to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical. Giant brands like Target, Lowes, and Amazon have launched AR features that allow shoppers to see how furniture pieces may look in their own homes.
With the AR market anticipated to reach $133 billion by 2021, smaller retailers will surely start implementing this soon. To make this innovative retail technology more accessible to smaller brands, Shopify is also now offering it as a plug-and-play feature on their e-commerce platform.
“We’ll continue to see marketplaces and traditional retailers converge. It’s happening both ways, where marketplaces like Amazon are moving to forms of traditional. Traditional retailers like Albertsons are making the move to marketplaces to stay relevant in the digital economy.”
– Greg Chapman, SVP Business Development, Avalara
2. Fashion Style inspiration with shoppable content – Joules, Jack Wills, Net-A-Porter.com, Kate Spade
Some online retailers have come up with creative ways of monetising product images without detracting from their artistry. Joules’ online lookbooks incorporate tiny shopping tag markers on key images which, once clicked, prompt a lightbox where shoppers can add items featured
straight to their shopping bags.
The Jack Wills website give visitors scrolling through lookbooks/new collections an option to ‘shop the look’. By clicking a specific call-to-action (CTA), browsers are redirected to a page where they can choose their size and colour (etc), learn more about the product and add to basket.
‘The Edit’ is NET-A-PORTER’s weekly online publication featuring a traditional glossy mag look. Readers can ‘get the look’ by hovering over items and clicking the ‘shop now’ link.
Similar to NET-A-PORTER above, Kate Spade used to publish ‘The Style Spy’ — again, recreating that glossy mag feel but cleverly adding links within the editorial.
3. Segmentation disruption to provide a low-price offering with wider availability – Amazon Business and Zoro (owned by Grainger)
Segmentation disruption occurs when a supplier identifies new or existing underserved market segments and designs an offering to serve its needs. This is often experienced in instances when markets are largely ignored by traditional channel players. An example of this type of eCommerce disruption can be found in the industrial supply and distribution industry.
Large suppliers and distributors (e.g. Grainger or McMaster-Carr) have a generally higher-priced, more full-service offering including inventory management, one-stop shopping, etc. This approach has left an underserved segment of the market which did not need or want to pay for this type of offering – small businesses. As a result, companies such as Amazon Business and Zoro (owned by Grainger) have entered the marketplace and provided a low-price, simple online offering that fits small business needs.
4. Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPS) – Takealot, Amazon, Khols
Some of the most common reasons online consumers give for abandoning their cart revolve around problems with fulfilment:
– Delivery costs
– Long delivery timelines
– Lack of delivery options
By offering your customers a buy online, pickup in-store (BOPS) option, you could eliminate most or all of these barriers. While the biggest reason for most customers who choose to shop online is to have items delivered to their home, it can sometimes be more convenient for some to pick up an order at their nearest physical location.
Brands without a physical location might consider partnering with existing brick-and-mortar businesses to cater to BOPS customers —
the most prominent examples of this being Amazon and Kohls.
5. Subscription Boxes – Papirmasse, Vinebox
Subscription services provide a regularly-delivered, always-as-expected experience for every order fulfilment. Depending on the type of service provided, the value to the customer comes in the form of things like personalization, convenience, and monetary savings.
“A lot of business also tailor their contents to the individual, curating a selection of products based on the information they’ve collected about the consumer, which fulfils our desire for personalization in our shopping experience.” – Emil Kristensen, Sleeknote
Papirmasse, one of the most creative examples of a subscription box service, mails out archival-quality prints of emerging artists’ work—paintings, illustrations, collages and more—with a piece of original, contemporary creative writing stamped on the reverse. The format changes from month to month: Past projects have ranged from a 5-by-7-inch booklet to an 18-by-24-inch poster.
Vinebox’s Twelve Nights of Wine provides 12 curated glasses of wine from all over the world. Each day leading up to Christmas, the recipient will pour out a glass from one of the twelve tubes delivered right to their door.
A sure bet heading into 2020 is that the demand (and prevalence) of subscription-based services is bound to increase. This just makes sense — for both the customer and the company.
Running a subscription service can save you time, money, and other resources — in a few different ways:
– More reliable forecasting leads to better inventory management
– Repeated, scheduled purchases allow for streamlined transactions
– Focus on retaining high-quality customers, not acquiring mass amounts of one-off consumers
– With all this in mind, there’s little doubt that more and more eCommerce brands will shift or expand to offer subscription boxes in 2020.
I hope the 5 examples above have given you some inspiration as to how your business could pivot or shift to benefit from an eCommerce platform this year.
Kreativworx offers a wide range of services to assist you in upgrading or developing an innovative and effective online shopping website for your business.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation or request a quotation.