Looking at the evolving market dynamics, consumers are swiftly moving away from the brick-and-mortar shopping experiences to seamless online shopping feel. And, the traditional retailers are struggling to cope up with this transition. The biggest point to remember in this case is that consumers don’t want to limit themselves to shopping from a brand, they want to actually experience it. This is where store ambience plays a pivotal role for all retail brands.
In fact, in many cases the shoppers value store ambience over other factors like location, customer service, and friendliness of staff.
This factor has forced retailers to quickly experiment with different tactics to engage consumers in an enchanting online shopping experience, allowing the shoppers to fully immerse themselves with the brands.
Below are a few ways e-commerce retailers can translate that legacy in-store experience into the digital realm:
Not all the typical atmospheric elements of a brick-and-mortar store — like music, lighting, scents can be replicated online. However, some tips associated with utilizing the sensory elements to create the desired atmosphere can help:
• Images evoke the perfect emotions that companies expect from their customers while they associate with the brand.
• Colours that the brand usually highlight in their theme, logo, etc., need to be hugely displayed online as well. Colours remains another key driver of emotion, reminding the customers of the in-store experience to enhance the comfort level online.
• Videos are also a great source to engage the senses during online shoppers, transporting shoppers into the desired dimension of brand recognition and association.
Admittingly, this is challenging, creating a multi-sensory, on-brand customer experience online is not easy. But, these are the basics which can’t be missed out on!
Let’s face it, online stores can never match the sensory experiences that are delivered by the physical stores. So, to make up for it, retailers need to rely on their story-telling abilities to create the desired online ambience. Storytelling in this case of transition, is the ultimate customer engagement and retention tool that could work.
The brand story should be self-explanatory and should establish the base of what it stands for. These stories hit the sweet spots to create emotional connections with the customers. Effective brand stories create the differentiation, giving the customer a reason to choose a brand over its competitors.
While they tell their story online, retailers need to extensively use descriptive words that activate all of the senses, allowing the customers to immerse themselves with the brand and build the desired connection with the story.
The priority should be to keep the online shopping experience as simple and seamless as possible. The e-commerce sites which have cleaner designs always perform better. User-friendliness is the key to success here, as it provides the customers with a sense of comfort and confidence to do business with you online. Websites need to be easy to navigate, so that the users don’t bounce out or get frustrated. It is important to think from the perspective of the visitor and guide them to the desired products in the most easy way possible. Sites which are cluttered with too much information or over-designing multiplies the bounce rate and customer dissatisfaction.
While designing the online shop, the focus should be on usability and readability to assure maximum user-friendliness. Below pointers could help with the same:
• Always place the most visually-intriguing products and information on the high- ranking web pages. remember that the store’s front window display is what either entices or discourages the customers from entering the store. The same theory holds true for all e-commerce websites landing and product pages. Like the traditional shops, these too should be decorated in the best possible way.
• Eliminate excess text or information as it overwhelms the page. The focus should be to use maximum slideshows, images, and videos to demonstrate the product details seamlessly.
• Help the online shoppers to reach their desired destination quickly and seamlessly. Easy navigation is a must to foster a pleasant shopping experience.
By bridging the gap between the offline and online efforts and experiences, brands can blur the line of distinction between both the channels. A consistent ambience across online and traditional stores caters to the shoppers’ expectations of delivering an enriching experience. And the two main points to remember in this case is:
• Understand and know different buyer personas and create content accordingly
• Make sure that all the information is consistent across the channels as consistency and reliability are the dual pillars of customer trust.
If offline and online channels are well-aligned and integrated, and customers aren’t confused – the transition from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping will be a smooth and simple one!