Creating Multisensory Sales Environments in E-Commerce
The press likes to say it all the time: in-person shopping is dead. However, the press is dead wrong. While e-commerce sales continue to increase, people still prefer real-world shopping because they enjoy the overall experience. They want to touch the clothing, sit on the furniture, and pick out their own produce. In fact, the experience of shopping in person is so important to stores and the shoppers who frequent them that experience is said to be the new loyalty. Creating unique, memorable and impactful experiences brings shoppers back, and one of the best ways to do that is by creating a multisensory environment. What stores didn’t realize is that two can play at that game.
E-commerce retailers are increasingly implementing multisensory experiences, despite the supposed two-dimensional nature of their operation, and this goes a long way in engaging shoppers. Whether it’s a simple animation, well-produced video, or evocative copy, it really is possible to bring the online shopping experience to life.
Play in the Spatial Web
Augmented reality (AR) has come to countless brick-and-mortar stores, but AR is hard to implement online. That being said, it’s still possible to give shoppers an immersive experience. Using a new approach known as the spatial web, brands can personalize online shoppers’ experiences, allowing them to model clothes, walk through wedding locations, or even place shoppers right into advertisements. Everyone can be famous on their own screen, or at the very least, provide an experience closer to what they would get in-store.
Conjure Up Sights and Smells
Great web copy has always provided shoppers with a deeper experience of the products they’re perusing, however, too many websites stop at the visual or tactile. That’s because it’s easy to describe how something looks or feels, especially when there’s an obvious point of reference. Unless you’re shopping for scented candles, though, few sites bother to delve into other sensory elements, like scent or sound.
For an immersive experience, focus on copy that goes beyond the basics. For example, Portland Leather uses copy that walks buyers through a process that includes shopping, saving, and then — as the third “S” in the sequence — smelling the leather products they sell. This text-driven approach is likely only a precursor to the broader adoption of virtual reality, including systems that offer “smell-a-vision” style content.
Extending Content Services
As stores build more experiential elements into their in-person shopping, they’ve also come to focus on how those experiences translate to online sales. One retailer that does this especially well is Lush. This beauty store prides itself on its service-centered, hands-on shops, where team members demonstrate scrubs and drop bath bombs into tubs of water. You can’t do that online and simple video flattens the experience. By opting for a multichannel approach to media, with everything from sourcing information to art-house content, Lush has figured out how to bring online shopping alive. Lush is able to maintain a constant stream of information — and therefore contact — with its customers.
Consumers want to experience every element of the shopping process, even if they can only access an app or website. Stores are learning how to bring those multisensory elements to life. If e-commerce is going to be the fierce competitor to brick-and-mortar that the press keeps insisting it is, though, more stores need to adopt these strategies. Experience doesn’t stop with the screen.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer with a special passion for entrepreneurial and marketing-related topics.