Many years ago in a land far, far away, long before Covid and most definitely before Facebook and others I introduced the concept of 'online Bingo' to a few burgeoning eCommerce companies.
I was looking to take the early days of the browse, look, and 'add to bag' functional process of eCommerce to another more experiential level.
So as online 'Bingo' was at its embryonic stages it seemed to me that alongside generating additional revenues it could create a more frequent and fun interaction between the brand and consumers.
Today we are seeing all manner of innovations to take the utility of eCommerce to a whole other level. This includes for some 'innovative' companies the inclusion of 'live streaming' to a level of success unheard of before.
Sure, TV Shopping has been around for sometime but the model never really caught on with the socially savvy digital consumer today.
In the same way that a hit on radio doesn't necessarily convert to a great TV show, or a great TV show doesn't always work for a movie the same can be said for iterative multi-channel retail.
The experience and expectations of today's consumer is far more demanding.
Browsing e-commerce is a model where users come with the intent of having fun, much like going to a shopping mall, browse for products and end up buying things if they like. What Amazon is to buying, browsing e-commerce is to shopping.
So when we start to look at 'browsing eCommerce' what does it actually mean and how can we deliver this more meaningful experience:
- Discovery: Current search-based models work for electronics and books, but not so much for apparel or home décor where users seek an element of inspiration and discovery. Users express their desire for discovery on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram Explore instead.
- Fun: Shopping malls offer various entertainment options such as movies, gaming, eating, social gathering etc. which are missing in current models.
- Social: Most of our purchase decisions are driven by recommendations from our friends and family but current e-commerce models do not offer ways to integrate those recommendations.
- Personalisation: Though our Google search results and Facebook newsfeed are highly personalised, our Amazon homepage is still generic.
The above is the perceived nirvana for today's consumer, as such is now the time for every multi-channel retailer to brainstorm how they might look to deliver on the above.
However, the one model that I am the most excited about is browsing e-commerce. Current leaders, Amazon, Alibaba or JD, are mostly search based — users know what they want, they search for it on the app, and find the product within the first scroll. Browsing e-commerce is a model where users come with the intent of having fun, much like going to a shopping mall, browse for products and end up buying things if they like. What Amazon is to buying, browsing e-commerce is to shopping.