Don’t you love walking into your local shoe store and having your friendly salesperson Betty show you the new spring line of your favorite designer? You love chatting with Betty – she’s been with you over the years. She remembers your shoe size, designer preferences and your Mom’s birthday.
And now retailers are trying to bring “Betty” and everything she represents to the online retail experience.
Recently InternetWeekNewYork panelists Andrew Schmidt of PUMA, Jaidev Shergill of Bundle.com, Philippe von Borries of Refinery29, and Lindsay Wallner of Zoe Media Group convened to discuss “Recreating Retail: Bringing The In-Store Experience Online.”
“In the early days Zappos led the market by offering free shipping and free returns, which is now the standard for online commerce,” panel moderator Romney Evans of True Fit stated.
Evans went to ask panelists, “What is the next wave of barriers that need to be broken down for consumers to shop online?”
Improve Online Product Detail
Shergill noted that it’s difficult to recreate the in-store experience, “Walking into a store and feeling the clothes – trying them on. This is a data point that you can’t get online.” He added that retailers need to consider this experience and identify ways that people can replicate it online.
As I considered Shergill’s words, I thought about my experience shopping on Coach.com. When Coach enhanced its website with modelmeasurements, showcasing my handbag of choice, I was suddenly able to see exactly where the handbag would fall and how large it was in comparison to the model. This type of visual product detail brought me from researching and web surfing to point of purchase.
Product videos, multiple angles, more product measurement details and real world comparisons offer consumers an improved online buying experience. These details make shoppers more comfortable buying a product they can’t touch.
Retailers can take things a step further through personalization. Using the open graph allows you to better filter for your customers’ preferences. “If you just purchased five polo shirts, and you come to my site… I’m going to show you more polo shirts,” a panelist noted.
The panelists agreed that, ultimately, you want to blur the line between the online experience and the in-store experience, citing examples like BrazilianretailerC&A.
The store showcases hangers with the “like” count for each item as determined by its social media community. CNET reported, “The counters built into each hanger, which are networked, update in real time.”
Before you purchase your next pair of jeans, would you be interested to know how many likes it received on Facebook? Many people already live tweet or Facebook a photo of themselves in the dressing room, but this type of crowdsourcing takes things a step further, effectively blurring the line between your offline and online experience.