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    October 13, 2020
    6 minute read

    How to Bring In-Store Holiday Shopping Experiences Online

    by: Annie Shum

    With holiday shopping around the corner, consumers will continue to shop online due to COVID-19 and social distancing orders. The shift to online shopping is becoming a necessity, and brands will need to continually adapt to prepare for ever-evolving customer experience requirements. 

    Even before the start of the pandemic, 88% of shoppers started every in-store shopping journey with an online search — and this will only continue to expand. Here are three ways brands can bring in-store experiences online to win this holiday season.

    Create an Omnichannel Holiday Shopping Experience

    Increased safety concerns that come with in-store shopping mean that holiday shopping will start sooner this year. To guide purchasing decisions, consumers will increasingly demand more product information online.

    Our 2020 consumer research report found that problems with product content, such as poor quality images and a lack of product details, result in 79% of shoppers abandoning their shopping cart. 

    To better connect with shoppers, increase conversion, and tell a more vibrant brand story, think from the perspective of your customers. Consider the elements of your product that stand out, know the questions that customers frequently ask, and highlight them with enhanced content. Also known as A+ content and rich media, enhanced content features a range of multimedia elements like image galleries, 360-degree image spins, graphics, and videos.

    Enhanced Content Page Lego on Walmart Site

    Source: Lego Walmart 

    With A+ and below-the-fold content that stands out from competing products, your brand can create a seamless and engaging omnichannel shopping experience. 

    Follow these best practices for enhanced brand content: 

    • Emphasize key product features and benefits through clear and transparent content, from providing comparison charts to short product descriptions. 
    • Use less text and add more appealing visuals that go beyond a static product photo — including 360-degree image spins and enhanced zoom capabilities. 
    • Keep content precise and concise, demonstrating thoughtfulness of your customer’s time.
    • Create a consistent brand story by designing product pages with your entire product catalog in mind.

    Continually Test and Learn With Contactless Options

    To keep up with the shifts in consumer needs and expectations, consider implementing and getting creative with “contactless” digital shopping options. Many popular retailers like Walmart and Target have already taken advantage of the curbside, or buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) model — even before the pandemic.

    But smaller players like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Hudson’s Bay have also recently leaned into the service. Though it may seem like a temporary solution, according to a McKinsey report, “consumers report high intention to continue using buy online, pickup in-store models (56%) and grocery delivery (45%) after the pandemic.” 

    In the new era of pandemic-inspired store experiences, retailers have come up with creative ways to bring fun and excitement. For lifestyle accessory company Stoney Clover Lane LLC, customers can purchase their products online and then come in-store to pick up their items. At the store, employees would come out in aprons with their pre-ordered merchandise in unique to-go boxes labeled “Stoney Clover Lane Takeout and Delivery.”

    Woman Handing Takeout Bag To Customer

    Source: Stoney Clover Lane Instagram (@stoneyclover) 

    Fashion brand Everlane adopted “sidewalk shopping,” revamping their window displays to show off their newest items for sale, so that customers can see merchandise in person without going into the store, then making their purchases online. 

    By providing more convenience and a level of safety that customers expect, they are likely to feel more comfortable with their holiday shopping experience.

    Experiment With New Ecommerce Tools

    Curbside pickup is quickly becoming a popular option, but customers miss out on the discovery aspect of a physical store. The ability to touch or try on an item before a purchase is the number one reason U.S consumers shop at brick-and-mortar stores.

    For some items like clothing and shoes, many chose to go in-store to try on and see the products in person. Brands have to bring the try-on experience online, and more shoppers are increasingly using and demanding augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences.

    Last summer, sportswear giant Nike introduced a new feature “Nike Fit,” an AR experience that allows customers to scan their feet with their smartphone device to find the right shoe size. The process is simple, you open the Nike app, pick a shoe, and then stand next to a wall while pointing your smartphone camera at your feet.

    The entire process takes less than a minute, and the app makes it easier for consumers to get measurements in the comfort of their homes.Screenshots Of Nike App Showing Foot Measuring Tool

    Source: Nike

    Meet your customer at every point in their path to purchase and exceed shifting consumer expectations. The pandemic has emphasized the need to innovate and be more digitally native. Stay ahead this holiday shopping season by having the tools in place to win on the digital shelf.

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