Online Experiential Retail

Retailers of all shapes and sizes are rethinking their customer offerings.  The most successful shops are shifting towards Online Experiential Retail (OER) to meet customer needs during these unprecedented times.  Sometimes referred to as “retailtainment” an experiential e-commerce experience is one that goes beyond simple shopping to provide customers with something more personalized and memorable.  Consumers spend more time and money on experiences than merchandise alone. To capture this segment, brands often reinforce customer loyalty by offering an engaging or exciting experiential retail experience.

There are many ways e-commerce stores can and have implemented experiential retail into their online storefronts, whether it is through the use of social media, games, or both augmented and virtual reality, to name a few.

Social media is probably the most accessible.  Not only is social media engagement a vital part of merging an in-store experience with the online e-commerce platform, but it can also help facilitate the growth of the brand while engaging customers on a deeper level.  Many e-retailers are actively working to make their content more “Instagrammable” (i.e. more visually pleasing for the purpose of generating more shares on social media platforms, Instagram in particular).

The more Instagrammable your content is — online or in-store — the more likely your customers are to share or post what they see.  And, if they are encouraged or reminded to check-in, tag the store or brand, and use relevant hashtags, your store is essentially getting a host of free advertising to their network.

Another way that e-commerce brands are engaging in retailtainment is by selling products in a game, like Shopify’s Unity Buy SDK.  This allows Shopify e-tailers to integrate their products directly into Unity games and apps for an in-game shopping cart and checkout for players.

E-commerce brands are implementing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to bridge the gap between their online and physical stores, by providing immersive experiences to distinguish their products.  Companies like Ikea use AR to allow their customers to skip the line and place digital versions of Ikea products in their homes in real-time, while other companies like Vroom utilize VR to transport their customers into a virtual showroom where they can fully interact with their car models from their homes. Augmented and virtual reality, while still relatively new, are finding great use in retailtainment.

Times like these bring about new trends, frequently changing the e-commerce space.  Consumers want what once was a personal, memorable, and special shopping experience. To meet current customer needs and stay ahead of trends it is important to strategize for the now and then.  Here at Nox, we pride ourselves on always giving our clients an edge over the competition. In this ever-competitive eCommerce landscape, it is important to be able to stand out.  If you are looking for a new platform or would like to chat with us to see how we can take your eCommerce business to the next level, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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