Experiential e-commerce

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In the previous post, we discussed how consumers’ behavior has changed. There’s a strong need to become a fast company that can meet changing demands of customers. With that said, now how retailers and businesses can meet the new expectations. What are the various ways that need to be adopted across the world for logistical fulfillment?

How retailers can meet new customer expectations

Innovation in omnichannel

Immerse an in-store feel to the digital experience

While eventually, the in-store side of experiential retail will be able to restart again along with the rest of the experience economy, the fact that a good portion of the experiential economy is moving online means that offline experiences no longer exist in its own silo. As various technologies get integrated into the offline store experience, in-store experiential initiatives will also need to start connecting with the digital side.

As the customer journey becomes increasingly fluid, brands will need to accelerate building out their omnichannel retail infrastructure that connects their physical retail experiences with the digital (and vice versa) to deliver a fun, consistent retail experience across channels. When experiential retail goes online, it inevitably becomes content to be consumed and, with the right technology, that shoppers will be able to participate in. While Retail-as-entertainment is not a new idea, in this new era, retailers will have to lean into interactive content to bridge the gap between in-store experiences and online ones.

Reimagine physical network

Redefine the role of physical stores

Over the past three years, consumers have switched their increasing share of purchases to e-commerce, leading to ever-growing declines in physical store traffic. Moreover, due to COVID-19, this trend has accelerated with apparel retailers and department stores, which are projected to see a 10 to 13 percent increase in online penetration post-pandemic. This rise in the volume of e-commerce transactions will make it necessary for retailers to re-evaluate their network of four-wall stores.

Create a store of the future

Sophisticated retailers are evolving their strategic thinking for store profitability metrics. For example, data sources can be used for micro traffic patterns. Retailers are taking a hard look at their footprint and reassessing the role of each store moving forward. In this model, which has been deployed by many retailers, physical locations are turned into temporary or permanent fulfillment nodes to enable faster delivery.

Practice Agile Model

With the fast pace of change in the post-pandemic environment, retailers are forced to continually reassess their strategies. This approach requires more real-time insights on customers as well as a new agile operating model to utilize these insights and implement them.

Before the pandemic, digital leaders were using data to optimize customer experience, gauge satisfaction, identify foot traffic trends, and generate purchase recommendations.

In addition, as retailers reformulate their customer experience, they should use valuable feedback from their customers. This can be achieved by bringing customers into the design process as ideas develop, and eliminate risk for the initiatives along the way. Qualitative feedback can be gathered through online tools or in-person concept sprints so ideas can be analyzed and iteratively improved.

By acquiring agile practices alongside the generation of instantaneous consumer insights, retailers can more quickly recalibrate their business model and offerings to meet consumer expectations. Retailers need to raise their efficiency—that is, the speed at which they process information and develop new offerings. The pace at which some retailers have been able to stand up new omnichannel models shows what a truly agile operating model can unleash. A rapid approach to tests and trials can enable retailers to launch offerings at scale more quickly and avoid losing share in the face of shifting consumer behavior.

Most experiential retail experiences will adapt online out of necessity to accommodate health safety concerns in the short term. The accelerated development of internet experiences and e-commerce will merge to re-birth experiential retail, giving brands a great venue to develop brand equity and drive sales directly.

Other than retail, this pandemic has simulated many experience-driven industries like travel and out-of-home entertainment to reinvent themselves online. Whether it’s the series of virtual travel experiences curated by Atlas Obscura or Expedia or the next-level virtual concerts in Fortnite that drew nearly 28 million viewers, online experiences demonstrate the viability of recreating offline events on the web and provide retailers with a proof-of-concept to follow.

On the other hand, shoppable content has been flourishing online, particularly on social media, thus allowing retailers to easily connect online experiences directly to sales channels. Facebook and Instagram recently added seamless shops to allow retailers to sell from anywhere in their customizable online shop. TikTok is reportedly testing a “shop now” button for top influencers, which could open up another channel for retailers to push shoppable content. Even Google is working on a new shoppable video platform called Shoploop to decline the accelerated rise of content-driven e-commerce.

In the long run, moving experiential retail online will also help retailers to better scale experiences and reach a bigger audience. In-store experiences inherently carry a capacity limit, but online experiences break down the geographic barrier and democratize access to all shoppers.


The Team:

Shriya Madan, an ardent learner, a digital enthusiast, aspires to make an impact in the real world with the power of technology

Pranjali Apurva, driven by curiosity, converging design principles with digital transformation

BLVCK PiXEL is a Digital Innovation Consultancy headquartered in Paris. We aim to bridge the gap between Technology & Business through Design-led Strategy. Connect with us.