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How Experiential Ecommerce is Digitally Reconceptualizing Human Connection

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nowadays, the dichotomy of commerce and ecommerce has become quite opaque regarding the level of human connection between company and consumer. You can argue that commerce leverages the advantage of in-person communication and connection over the ecommerce experience. However, in our modern-day reality with the overwhelming tilt toward online shopping as a consumer’s leading choice, establishing human connection has become a priority for many online retailers.

With companies grappling to firmly secure that connection, many have turned toward a new ecommerce approach that is reconceptualizing the online shopping space — experiential ecommerce. This rendition of shopping focuses on reinventive strategies for consumers because it prioritizes the experience and aligns itself with a consumer-centric ideology. This allows ecommerce to humanize virtual spaces and has taken ecommerce by storm. 

Related: Why You Should Bet on the Future of Ecommerce 

Experiences are ever-evolving 

In digital design, user experiences are, at its core, one of the most fundamental elements to achieve innovation. The same can be said for experiential ecommerce websites. This poses the underlining question: Why are experiences important to the consumer, and how can they elevate that missing spark of human connection? 

With experiential ecommerce, the user or consumer is the priority, and their needs are brought to the forefront of the shopping experience. This opens a myriad of pathways that can drive a brand’s conversion rates because through interaction and connection, a lasting impression is built. This allows companies the opportunity to stand out amongst the overly saturated market and grow as new-age retailers against their competitors.

Established modes of ecommerce are shifting practices to move the consumer at the front of the line in subtle — and significant — ways.

Related: 4 Content Strategies Every ‘Experiential’ Campaign Needs

Experiential is dimensional 

New modes of three-dimensional visual product try-ons have established their reputation in the experiential ecommerce playing field for quite some time now and have been incorporated into different ways digitally. Brands have developed custom element configurations that allow a new streamlined approach to an augmented shopping experience. 

It may appear as a stark juxtaposition that an online interactive experience can insist upon human connection, yet many ecommerce brands have made this possibility a reality.

Technological advancements that feel nostalgic can still be innovative because they have evolved with convenience as the advantage — eliminating the need to travel, and easily trying products from your home before purchasing, which in turn, prioritizes the consumer’s time, effort and money. 

Social media is experiential 

Social media platforms have all developed their own rendition to marketplaces — spaces like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shop — that are based on a user’s likes, followings and interactions. From catered ads to influencers’ sponsored recommendations, they have enabled many brands to utilize this to grow their reach. The underlining feel of human connection may be under the guise of targeted advertising, but remains highly interactive and experiential. 

Not only are these specific ads inherently leveraging data and analytics to further propel sales to a targeted audience, but clever marketing strategies that feel much more casual are also propelling experiential ecommerce with tactics such as live streaming a new product, brands interacting with users on social platforms or giveaways. 

Moreover, incentives and targeted product recommendations are interactive, which drive that experiential feel. Social media ecommerce delivers a much more casual form of sales by simply recommending what will catch their eye right away. Many brands have also included influencers to help pitch their product that encourages relatability. This also informs a casual approach because interactions to join a giveaway or use a promo code feel as though a user to simply listening to a friendly recommendation to purchase, rather than a traditional ad, making incentives interactive.

These subtle experiential approaches to ecommerce reconceptualize the human connection of being seen and valued by reinventing engagement between a brand and consumer. These are strategic tactics for experiential ecommerce because it builds on accessible and immediate human interaction while also focusing on new ways of reinventing engagement. Consumers easily engage with a brand based on their tailored interactions with incentives, which in turn can solidify conversion and brand loyalty. 

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing 

Tailor-made experiences

Discovering the best service or product that feels tailor-made for a consumer is the pinnacle outcome for any brand, and many brands have embraced this experiential endeavor to use personalization in products/services to solidify human connection once again. Personalized quizzes that embark consumers on pathways drive human connection because it leverages data to imitate an experience that feels specific to the sole user.

Whether it is an online shampoo subscription that prompts users with in-depth questions on their hair type, or personalized vitamins service that cater to the specific consumer’s health needs, each question that is answered curates a personalized user experience. 

This is a new limb to experiential ecommerce because it allows brands to make their consumers feel center-focus in the experience. Much like a brick-and-mortar store, in which an associate will take the time to recommend products, personalized shopping quizzes offer that same feel to build confidence that a product will work at the individualistic level. 

For all ecommerce projects, whether design or branding, the overall intent when thinking about including experiential ecommerce is to focus on a brand’s goals for their targeted audience. Experiential ecommerce navigates new ways of incorporating refreshing marketing strategies that place a user at the center. Human connection is what allows these immersive and interactive approaches to be successful in a nexus between a user and the experience.

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