A lot of people have talked about how ecommerce is killing the world of physical retail. While the rise of online shopping has certainly triggered bankruptcies for certain companies, the true picture isn’t that simple. Ecommerce isn’t perfect in its current iteration. There are aspects to brick-and-mortar retail that are preferable to many consumers. Here how you can go about bringing offline experience online to sell more furniture.
Personalization Is Key to Building an Ecommerce Brand
In the past, online sales channels have been sterile by necessity. The world of ecommerce is still in its infancy. Technology has only recently started allowing for more fluid and intuitive user experience design. Not many people feel a particularly strong connection to a webpage—even if it’s branded to perfection. This is why it’s crucial for ecommerce store owners to give consumers a personalized experience.
Customers lose their sense of human interaction when sales happen online. Sometimes this can be a good thing. Most people would rather have a straightforward transaction than one that’s made worse due to poor customer service. Having someone right there to answer your specific questions is one reason why many individuals still prefer in-store to online shopping.
Furthermore, over 50 percent of consumers find it important to develop a rapport with in-store employees. But personalization goes beyond interaction. For online-first retailers, there are many ways to incorporate this philosophy into routine interactions.
Make Retargeting Meaningful
Most ecommerce entrepreneurs agree that cart abandonment is one of the most important metrics to consider when running an e-store. With an overall cart abandonment rate of about 75 percent, it makes sense why this is such a crucial number for online store owners. There are several factors that play into cart abandonment—some more straightforward than others. Successful brands overcome this phenomenon by implementing a retargeting strategy.
Retargeting is essentially marketing to people who are already somewhere in your sales funnel. Marketing expert Neil Patel notes that retargeting is far more effective when it’s done with specificity. Don’t just serve the same ads to everyone who visits your site. That’s a waste of money, and won’t generate a meaningful level of conversions. Give people ads directly related to products they’ve already spent time looking at on your site.
The same theory should be applied when trying to attract new customers. If you want to open a furniture store via Shopify, don’t just broadly market to people who have looked for couches online. Greater specificity yields greater results.
Offer AR and VR Compatibility
There has been a lot of talk about how augmented reality and virtual reality are going to increasingly become a part of daily life. But most people are still only using these things for niche purposes. However, there are huge applications for AR and VR in the ecommerce world.
One of the biggest potential benefits is allowing people to “try on” items before they buy them. This is currently one of the major advantages of offline shopping: You actually get to hold things or put them on before making a purchase. Virtual reality can allow consumers to have this sensation without leaving their homes. People who want to purchase furniture can particularly benefit from AR and VR, as it can show exactly how an item will fit within a space.
Implementing VR for your ecommerce store isn’t just a cool gimmick. It can potentially increase your margins by a significant amount. Return rates are much higher for ecommerce vendors than brick-and-mortar stores due to the fact that people can’t try things before they buy them. Bringing this offline experience to your ecommerce store can do a lot to reducing your returns.
Using Artificial Intelligence
How can artificial intelligence make ecommerce more like an offline experience? By providing consumers with unprecedented levels of personalization. People want personal shopping advisors, and curated selections that actually coincide with desires. AI can help ecommerce retailers deliver on both of these fronts. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, AI is actually giving a more personal feel to online shopping experiences.
There’s currently no perfect way to sell things to people. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to change soon, even with so many advances in technology and marketing practices. Bringing offline experiences to the online world will help people selling physical goods like furniture make more conversions.