Success of e-commerce in any region is still affected by a number of factors and exclusively online merchants have a lot of ground to cover before being a real threat to brick-and-mortar shops.
As things are still just shaping up, opportunities exist for both new and established players to offer the next game changing retail experience.
Among the appeals of e-commerce is the convenience it brings to consumers. You just have to click away on your computer and the product arrives at your workplace or home.
However, the ultimate challenge for those doing so is differentiating the experience for both online and physical so that these channels reinforce brand strategies and do not end up competing with each other.
It is with the brick-and-mortar stores that may need redefinition. Rather than simply having a browse-and-buy customer experience, physical stores can provide more immersive experiences.
Optimising the experience
Optimising retail practices for omnichannel experiences could be the difference maker for such businesses. This basically involves ensuring a frictionless user experience, wherein they can shop and pay with ease whether at the physical store, an e-commerce website or a mobile app.
Skincare company Aesop seeks to achieve such a balance. Physically, they have created signature stores where customers are immersed in beautifully designed spaces and get a consultation experience.
Online, customers can access rich media content and also order products to replenish their supply. By doing this, Aesop lets their channels complement each other rather than compete.
Businesses should seek the balance and maximise the ways that they could interact and engage with customers. Technologies are now available for them to do so.