Experiential E-Commerce: The Future for Companies and Consumers

A person using their credit card to make an online purchase.

It is no secret that a majority, if not all, companies and brands have made their presence known in the digital marketplace. Yet, with the influx of online shopping options, the push to stay relevant and innovative in such a competitive market has become the new center focus for many businesses. The new goal is creating engaging and immersive e-commerce experiences, rather than merely a website to browse and shop.

With experiential e-commerce tactics and by reconceptualizing the web, brands are able to drive conversions and sales to new levels by utilizing familiarity that a user would feel shopping in a brick-and-mortar store without setting foot in one, by emphasizing stories and engagement and creating deeper connections with users.


Incentives are Interactive 

The rise of social media influencers has become the fundamental backbone for the success and growth of most social media platforms. However, many companies are now using those influencers to expand their brand’s reach. As a result, brands have developed a new form of exchange in three parts: pay an influencer to advertise their service or product, the social media influencer pitches the product to their audience, and thus, followers will interact with the sponsorship, which will not only drive conversions but also introduce their brand to new consumers from a targeted audience.

The interactive approaches are sometimes quite subtle. For example, an influencer may include a giveaway incentive to their audience for a chance to win the brand’s product. They may instruct their followers to follow the company’s social media platforms, like a post or video, or leave a comment in order to be raffled into the giveaway. Users have these interactions on a daily basis, so engaging in a giveaway by liking or commenting on social media is easy to do.

However, this is a new interactive approach to e-commerce because these incentives are under the guise of advertising. The pitch that comes from an influencer can feel much more like a friendly recommendation to their audience rather than a straightforward, traditional ad. This is a strategic tactic for experiential e-commerce because it builds on the feel of human interaction while also focusing on new ways of reinventing consumer engagement. Companies can target particular users that they believe will be most interested or explore with new audiences. Say, for example, a cosmetic company may ask a beauty influencer to support their new makeup line. This approach drives conversions because it is much more specific than targeting a broader, general audience who may not be interested in what is being sponsored. Moreover, this form is unique because it showcases how one’s follower count could be used to drive conversions. 

This new-age marketing is allowing experiential e-commerce to take shape in a subtle yet potent method. The way users are interacting with a brand’s social media platform, or website allows a company to uncover data about how their consumers interact. Not only is this essential to uncover how the data on an e-commerce website can create conversions, but it also opens up a new way to understand how a much more optimized website can curate a positive user experience to promote brand loyalty.

Thus, the underlining exchange encourages a positive e-commerce experience for a win-win-win outcome. A company has its brand advertised, an influence is compensated, and the consumer learns about a new brand to enjoy. 

A positive e-commerce experience

Experiential E-Commerce Transforms Familiarity

The accessibility of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is yet another way for retailers to be revolutionizing the digital market. AR can take on a plethora of shapes and forms, but a highly common one includes the use of mobile apps that allow users to visualize their purchases using a mobile camera. Many brands have implemented the ability for users to virtually try-on products much like they would in a physical brick-and-mortar space.

The replication of a physical shopping experience is also brought to life in the digital realm with three-dimensional rendering and modeling of products. Furniture and interior design companies replicate their products for users to place into their living space in real-time by simply opening their cameras. This approach offers an advantage that physical shopping cannot compete with: visualizing how an item will appear in one’s home without actually needing to bring that purchase into that space. Experiential e-commerce thus allows a forgiving and open approach to shopping without the commitment.

Experiencial E-Commerce

More recently, companies have taken yet another step further with a fully immersive VR shopping experience. Brands are beginning to implement the use of VR headsets and software to fully immerse a shopper in a virtual store to purchase their goods. Removing the need to commute and saving time traveling to another city is another layer to the productive and experimental ways of shopping folded into an experience. VR simulation creates multi-sensory stimuli that replicates the familiarity of traditional in-person shopping which in turn builds engagement with a product.

It may seem as though the digital shopping experience has shed the social interaction aspect that one would receive in brick-and-mortar stores. However, companies have filled that gap with artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots. Most recently coined as conversation commerce. These AI assistants allow brands to be a bit more in the loop when users shop and promote conversions by guiding them to particular products, offering suggestions on other items they may like based on the data of their shopping carts. Answering customer service-related issues for a satisfying shopping experience is another fold. Some businesses will also incorporate live human representatives to guide shoppers with customer service requests in addition to algorithmically driven experiences.

What is significant is how AI assistants can curate one’s shopping experience based solely on data, prompts, and browsing history, which allows users to specifically be catered to. The use of natural language processing (NLP) algorithms for these AI assistants also highlights the way software can understand human language combined with predictable analytics.

Reinventing Consumer Connection

User Interface Design for Experiential E-Commerce

Experiential e-commerce is beginning to take shape much more commonly while significantly transforming the online market. It establishes a connection between a consumer and the product/service, which strengthens the relationship between consumer and brand. Companies are able to reinforce and refresh their relevancy by incorporating new interactive user experiences against their competitors. As these upcoming approaches solidify, new innovative tactics will always continue to be on the rise.

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