Digital Customer Experience Isn’t the Only Experience

Digital customer experience isn’t the only customer experience. Retail still matters, and your customers think so, too.

Ah, the age old tale of a startup looking to make its mark in the digital commerce space. It’s a story as old as time and has been tried countless times since the advent of the internet. Many attempt, few succeed and even more struggle with acquiring and retaining customers that actually purchase products entirely digitally.

Take for example Casper Mattresses, a mattress e-tailer that was founded in 2014 and aspired to disrupt the sleep space. Casper attained social media bliss through targeted marketing campaigns that featured celebrities with their mattresses. What a concept: take a mattress, show a celebrity unboxing it and sell said mattresses.

Social Media, Digital Not Always End Game

However, Casper overlooked two key areas within their business model that would prove challenging.

First, their product lifecycle was well, limited. How often do you buy a mattress? According to some statistics, maybe every eight years.

Second, you can’t try the mattress in a store. Casper was fully 100% digital at this point in their business history, which required consumers to “assume” the content they were reading on the Casper site was accurate and descriptive enough to inspire a purchase.

It’s these two factors that ultimately led to Casper doing the unthinkable in the digital commerce space. You guessed, moving into retail.

Wait, that can’t be right? A internet startup is abandoning the core nucleus of digital commerce to move into retail? WHAT!?

Related Article: Investment in Digital In-Store Experiences Gains Traction

Why Retail Is an Integral Part of Your Customer Experience

Yes, it’s true — and in fact, is the exact strategic move that saved their company. Casper struggled to keep up with the stiff competition it had in retail locations, not to mention the extremely long product lifecycle usage and cost to acquire customers. Casper ended up partnering with retail giant Target, as well as West Elm, and as of late 2020, Casper had 65 of its own retail store fronts throughout the United States.

So, what gives, right? Why did Casper move away from a channel they were so confident would yield incremental revenue and growth?

The answer is simple — as much buzz as ecommerce and digital sales get, retail will never die.

Here are three reasons why retail is an integral part of your customer experience strategy for 2023 and beyond:

1. Serenate the Senses

Sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. All five are just as important as the others in attaining visceral customer experience inside retail stores. Consumers, at the end of the day, are humans, and we humans thrive off our senses. We need to feel the mattress, touch it, see its size and how it might fit in our home.

As great as digital commerce experiences CAN be, they simply don’t get the job done in some product categories. By brands appealing to these senses in store, they can begin to generate deeper connections with customers that inspire purchases, but more importantly, confident purchases. You feel good when you purchase something in-store after it has tickled your senses.

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