Pervasive Commerce: Close the Disconnect Between Online Marketing and Shopping
Consumers are increasingly drawn to rich Web content — information that’s engaging, visual and intuitive. And online retailers and brand marketers are responding by building dramatic, fun and innovative marketing micro-sites, as well as interactive product displays to meet this desire.
According to Forrester Research, the largest interactive marketing firms are growing at annual rates between 20 and 40 percent.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that even the leaders often fail to make commerce a seamless part of these interactive marketing experiences. Instead, customers usually are faced with a disjointed experience where they browse and interact with the brand in one place. But when it actually comes time to view and select the items they’d like to buy, they’re abruptly redirected to another site altogether — one that doesn’t look or feel anything like the rich experience they previously were enjoying.
The dislocation between online marketing and shopping results in added frustrations, such as incomplete inventory information, broken navigation and just plain confusion. Take, for instance, the large brand company that recently told us about its customers phoning its call center to ask which products were being shown in the online video because, although they wanted to purchase them, they were having difficulty finding them online. It’s for this reason that pervasive commerce is needed.
Pervasive commerce is putting commerce where your customers are; not forcing them to come to your commerce path. It means providing a seamless connection between marketing — including content, media assets and interactive product displays — and commerce, the selection and purchase of products. If you’re attracting customers to an engaging blog or Web video, make sure commerce happens there, too. (And don’t force them to leave the context that attracted them in the first place.) If customers are attracted to some richer merchandising displays on your site, let them buy straight from that display and don’t make them guess what the products are.