ECommerce has taken on a life of its own, but that doesn’t mean it is wholly disconnected from the physical retail world. In cases where applicable, the two should be connected. It’s really important to meet your customers wherever they are in the physical or digital world. Whether they’re shopping in your retail store, browsing items on a laptop, shopping in your mobile app, or reading your latest email newsletter, you want to make sure you have a message and a user experience that makes it easy, and even fun to buy your products. Having a mobile optimized checkout page is a great start. Let’s take a look at some companies who have taken it to the next level truly bridging the gap between eCom and retail shopping experiences.
Nordstrom’s Mobile Strategy
Recently, Business Insider posted an interesting look at the success of Nordstrom’s eCommerce sales as a result of heavy investment in mobile. Although total sales saw 1.2% decline YoY, Nordstrom.com saw a 9.4% YoY increase. Nordstrom is attributing this boom in eCommerce performance to its strong efforts to engage consumers on mobile. They also reported that sales were significantly higher on mobile, than desktop. These efforts to engage users on mobile are strong evidence of the need to close the gap between eCommerce and retail. Nordstrom has added a search feature to allow mobile users to search individual retail stores from their devices. This fall, they will be a rolling out a new feature to enable shoppers to reserve merchandise at a physical Nordstrom location and try clothes on in store before completing the purchase.
These innovations are a prime example of meeting customers where they are, and providing the best possible experience. In addition to these try before you buy features, Nordstrom plans to continue innovating its rewards program to further improve mobile engagement. Offering mobile exclusive promotions would drive app downloads, and improve in-app engagement. Furthermore, as we know, people love to save money, and they love to feel exclusive. A rewards programs targets both of these desires in a way that will ultimately improve the sales of the business.
What Nordstrom is doing here is incredibly smart. They’re driving foot traffic, sure, but they’re also making it really easy, and really rewarding for people to use the mobile app. Brand loyalty is about more than a relationship with a product or the general image of the brand. By providing this easy to use and highly engaging experience, Nordstrom is securing its place in the hearts and (mobile) wallets of its shoppers.
IKEA Experiments with Augmented Reality
Everyone has a groan inducing story about putting together IKEA furniture. Despite the popularity of the brand, IKEA saw a huge lull in sales a few years back when it was not adequately competing in the emerging eCommerce industry. Once they began to follow industry trends and offered 70% of their products online, they saw a 35% jump in eCommerce sales from 2014 to 2015. IKEA has gone above and beyond a typical mobile eCommerce experimented with Augmented Reality. In 2013, shoppers could place furniture in their home with and IKEA catalog and a mobile device. Their mobile app is equipped with special offers, product catalogs, shopping list, and store search to help consumers find the products they need, when they need them and where they need them.
The opportunity that mobile brings in bridging the gap between eCommerce and retail shopping experiences is enormous. From rewards programs and special offers to streamlined shopping experiences and in-app checkout, mobile is evolving to provide a more interactive experience than ever before. What IKEA has done with augmented reality is just the beginning of the innovation that is taking the mobile world by storm.
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Have another example of brands that are innovators in bridging the eCom/retail gap? Let us know in the comments.