Waiting in line to pay at checkout with cash or a card for a product that you don’t know if it’s the latest, best, and greatest? These are not good conditions for a modern customer experience. Unfortunately, customer-unfriendly experiences in stationary retail are still a reality. No wonder that consumers prefer to use the simple and fast version of e-commerce in many areas. There is no queue, no cash. Product suggestions are personalised and although the service is usually not personal, at least a chatbot has mastered manners. It’s about time that the offline retail to pull itself together and focus on its former core competence: Service!
The fashion branch is especially innovative when it comes to new developments in e-commerce. Curated shopping had been received well by customers. Shops like Zalando have now taken on this trend. In this case, the customer gets suggestions for a complete outfit on the basis of preferences they provide. The fashion branch is trying to declare war on high return rates with other features, such as interactive fitting rooms. Handelkraft regularly reports on current developments and interesting projects in the area of fashion.
The past few months have brought new developments from Facebook and others. Younger platforms and other large companies have been trying to gain their share of the marketplace as well. Even though these products from these companies are new, they take into account what went well for others, and what’s flopped.
If you believe a survey by Greenpeace, you’ll believe over one billion unused garments are stored in German closets. Not just moths, even savvy economists recognise a certain potential here. Environmentally conscious people are fighting against the wasteful use of our outer layers anyway. The key phrase: second hand!
Digitisation is catching on in more and more industries, not excluding unusual areas such as agriculture, professional football, and exclusive boutiques. Even luxury goods can be marketed on the Internet without losing their essence. What’s more, it’s about being able to and not can do, because the millennials are definitely here.
One question is rattling around in my head: Why are products mutating into services? One symptom is the exponential growth of subscription box services in the US: the number of visits on these websites has increased by almost 3,000 per cent over the past three years (from 722,000 in 2013 to 21.4 million in 2016).
The fact is that consumers increasingly appreciate the value of their free time and, consequently, look for formulas that let them use their time effectively. As a result, the shoppers’ main demands are directly related to their time management: personalisation and instant gratification in the form of faster and more convenient deliveries.
It is therefore not surprising that curated services based on subscription models are lately succeeding in sectors in which online stores are struggling to pave the way for the digital market, such as beauty and cosmetics (with pioneers Birchbox), lingerie (with Adore Me) and fresh food (like HelloFresh).
It is summertime and the long-awaited holidays are around the corner. The new season hits the thermometers and shakes not only consumers’ bodies but also brands’ foundations. Every year the sales actions start earlier in order to catch unaware shoppers. However, that’s not enough for current demanding customers. A flexible but lasting price strategy, a clear positioning online and offline as well as the optimization of key processes such as accessibility, delivery and returns make the difference among the fierce competition during the hottest and most festive time of sales of the year.
Too tight. Too loose. Too small. Too big. Uncomfortable. Longer straps, ugly marks. No pain, no gain. This is the perfect illustration to describe the big frustration during the customer journey of many women pursuing the dream bra. Spending hours in a fitting room fitted and measured by a stranger to end up empty-handed. However, this annoying reality can be a matter of the past.
Many voices anticipate the burial of brick and mortar stores however, it seems they will have the chance to retrain into something else taking advantage of their strengths to survive, coordinating together with digital solutions to offer experiences instead of only products and services.
The world is already digital, e-commerce and online shops are breaking their current horizons, transforming business models, changing drastically the role of every agent involved in the business process and creating new concepts.
For example, shoppers are changing their behaviour because of the free use of smartphones and similar devices. Today people, especially millennials, check their phone at the store, comparing prices and features in the competition. Others prefer to go to the store, try and touch the products they are interested in and afterwards order online.
What makes Zalando so exciting? That they keep finding and inspiring investors without ever showing any profit? No. It is exciting to see how they have developed a feel for the internet which you rarely find outside of the usual US digital giants.
The Power of the Platform
Zalando has understood that in the future, having a platform will be decisive. Infrastructure, not traders will be a big topic. In the face of the digital changeover, who wants to lay all their eggs in one basket?
E-Commerce is is moving the fashion world to news ways of thinking – and vice versa. You feel this in the way fashion topics often outweigh everything else at innovation oriented conferences.
E-Commce has long been more than just a sales channel; it offers fashion retailers and brands new opportunities to present themselves. From a customer perspective, online shops have transformed from a more comfortable catelogue order and way to cover your needs to source of inspiration.
Recently, development has been taking the next steps: fashion traders are increasingly bringing everyone involved in the fashion world together on their platforms. Brands, trendsetters and customers make a fashion lifestyle a shared, tangible experience.
Nothing works without fashion bloggers, photos from the crowd, and social media platforms like Instagram and Interest anymore.
And while shoe veteran Deichmann has already brought the third blogger collection to the market, Zalano is waking up and opening up to the crowd: with Style In Real Life, they’re giving the “model” next door an immediate platform. The buy button is hot on its heels.