The past few years have seen a handful of major high street retailers crumble. Pressure from the online space has forced store after store closure, and the inability to throw-off pre-internet attitudes in a digital world have left them unable to compete.
The brands that survive realized the importance of providing a tight connection between their online and offline world to keep customers interested and sustain success through all channels early on.
Brand commerce is not about the purism of “all sales are online” but in reality, it’s far from it. It’s about connecting all customer and sales touch points to enhance a customer’s experience between bricks and mortar stores, to point of sale kiosks through to the online, offering the opportunity to shop in as many ways as possible.
Shopping is no longer restricted to certain times, days and places. Shoppable content, social commerce, one-click ordering and one-hour deliveries have resulted in shopping being a 24/7 activity.
It is crazy that some of our most luxurious fashion brands have been reluctant to progress online until very recently, but the rise in mobile and eCommerce has forced their hand in a change for the better.
It’s all about the content
‘Content is king’ - you hear those words a lot these days. Many brands without up to date and relevant content are starting to fail. Shoppers are likely to seek out user-generated content before making any purchase decisions. Instagram, fashion blogs, and social purchasing apps are now included in a customer’s journey when buying products.
Research shows that young customers switch between media platforms at an average of 27 times per hour and spend 89% of their time on media through mobile apps, proving that brands need to support this service with content across all channels as customers will not wait around if retailers don’t provide a seamless service.
Where relevant content is portrayed, the empowerment to transact increases and so brands are looking for a way to let people actually purchase from every single place they promote themselves. The importance of delivering a consistent brand story across every touchpoint is becoming more and more relevant. Brands have to think about ways of integrating everything, something that a lot of eCommerce platforms can’t provide in a tidy way.
Long live bricks and mortar
The digital era is not about getting rid of physical shopping experiences, it’s all about enhancing the purchasing journey, about blurring the online v offline boundary.
Stores are becoming more and more advanced, offering things like virtual aisles and catwalk experiences, based on what’s available in their bricks and mortar stores. It’s about offering a multi-channel journey to all consumers, everywhere, closing the gap between the different touch points. There’s almost no separation between places to go for inspiration and places to transact.
Having said that, no matter how fast the digital era is changing things, it’s important to remember that the concept of selling is still the same. Goods, particularly in the fashion and luxury world, still have to be desirable to the consumer and it’s all about putting these products in the hands of the customer in as many ways as possible, bringing the products to life before their very eyes.
Reports suggest that many major fashion brands are lagging behind when it comes to being on top of technology and are trapped in a world of archaic architecture and a maze of different systems, all of which run separately.
The internet now allows fashion to be commercialized across an ever-increasing number of formats and because of this, brands should be looking to consider one overarching, future-proofed platform to control all touchpoints. A goal which until now has been incredibly hard to realize.
Elastic Path’s eCommerce API allows you to do just that. Using any language, device and design you can create those seamless customer experiences brands have been looking for. Whether it’s just a standard eCommerce store, a Smartwatch or even an internet connected fridge, we can power it. A unified set of APIs for carts, the checkout flow, orders and more means that no matter how complex your use case, you can track your customer’s journeys from start to finish.
In summary, in order to survive today’s digital evolution across all customer journeys, you have to make sure that commerce, content, and communities are entwined into one perfect marriage.