Written by Senior Digital Designer, Paul Sonley
With over 20 years’ experience, I can claim to be a digital veteran. But in an industry where technologies, platforms and trends move on as quickly as I can get to grips with them, e-commerce remains a constant in my life. Both designing and using.
We all want better online shopping. From maximising product impact to solving complex and varied purchase journeys. The challenges remain, but now more than ever, the technologies and approaches available to us offer the best chance yet to really do it better.
To be better at capturing a brand’s vision and innovation and better at ultimately converting to sales. These are some of the more exciting trends appearing across online stores that are helping brands positively impact their customers shopping experience and helping both sides to shop better.
With the fundamentals of e-commerce now commonplace, the ‘shop window’ retail approach just isn’t enough.
Technologies can now help brands tell bigger, more compelling stories and contextualise the shopping experience. Seamlessly weaving together content and commerce for even greater customer engagement and reward.
This could be easily and effectively created with a simple ‘shop the look’ module. Or for the more ambitious, creating longer editorial pieces for greater brand engagement.
Clothing brands are champions here fully fuelling the see it, click it, buy it mentality.
Mammut create beautiful brand stories around their technical mountaineering clothing. Showing first-hand that their product claims are real and engaging consumers to dream big, like them.
The story of Dani Arnold’s expedition to Lake Baikal invites users to discover his adventure but never losing sight of the importance of the shopping experience.
Ponderosa’s recent redesign of The Cast Iron Bath Company introduced some of these shop-able features. Helping the brand move into the more valued consumer role of offering advice and inspiration and helping drive sales through deeper engagement and support.
In the constant race to give consumers more valuable online experiences 3D and AR are helping bring real-world decision making online.
Both aim to provide real world representations of products that can be manipulated and considered directly onscreen. It also allows a greater degree of personalisation over static photography.
Size adjustments, colour changes, and additional features can all be dynamically generated in real-time by the user.Importantly, reducing the potential ROPO effect (research offline purchase online), and shortening the time to purchase.
AR is perfect for larger scale items that are possibly harder to understand and consider from just still image.
The Van Moof bike brand uses this to great effect. Triggered from a simple QR code customers can explore in 360 degrees all aspects of the bike.
Not only seeing how it can fit into their environment as well as fully interacting with the finer details of the build, therefore giving the customer a more immersive shopping experience.
Ponderosa’s redesign of the ABI Holiday Home website integrated a Matterport 3D viewing experience across all of ABI’s flagship holiday homes.
This helps ABI customers explore and realise the full potential of the living space within a holiday home. Showing the customer how the space will look in real life.
One technology I’ll be keeping an eye on (pun intended) will be Visual Search.
According to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), 90 per cent of information being transmitted to our brains is visual and it only takes 13 milliseconds for us to identify an image. You’d have to be a very quick reader to match that.
Powered by artificial intelligence, consumers search using photography or online images rather than text. It is far more efficient to tap an image or point your camera at something than type in a string of key words.
This has a natural home for the fashion and interior design industries where the shoppers are looking for inspiration around specific themes and styles.
From a simple image input, customers quickly scan multiple returns at a glance, making quick visual links to find their new look. Real world shopping is driven by visual discovery and this technology is really supporting that behaviour.
The more technology can reflect real world shopping behaviours, the more natural e-commerce experiences will become. These brands will be the most influential and popular with online shoppers. It looks like the eyes have it in the move to shop better.