The holiday season is the absolute best time and the busiest time of the year for e-commerce businesses and customers alike. With growing customer expectations in digital shopping platforms, stores must strategize around fulfillment and happiness before quick profits.
We unwrap the future of the digital shopping experience with top-to-bottom makeovers and shine some light on 7-holiday design strategies for e-commerce that are relevant for 2022 and beyond, including the emergence of phygitial stores, metaverse malls, and placing human connections and communities at the heart of digital commerce. These holiday-centric design strategies ensure that the experiences are culturally relevant and engaging in the increasingly crowded digital space.
Digital stores could use these different design strategies to tap right into community-driven festive experiences with bold changes that meet the growing awareness within the users to drive conversion.
1. Conversational tech
Brands that are ready to go a step ahead to connecting with their customers with conversations that sit outside of the store’s framework are likely to create festive digital experiences. Even if it's just for a minute, warm and fuzzy personalized messages have the ability to alter widespread moods ensuring that the shoppers get a little bit more inclined to make those purchases.
60% of customers read texts within one to five minutes of receiving them, and unlike emails, they have a 98% rate of being opened. Data from Shopify suggests that 50.3% of store traffic is attained via mobile Therefore, SMS chatbots such as Postscript, Blueprint, and Attentive are not only a powerful tool for engagement but can also perform as complete e-commerce platforms in their own right while feeling casual, fun and personalized, as if the customer is speaking with a human and for the holidays there is nothing more important than the (almost) real human experience.
2. Mood-driven experiences
Mood-driven experiences are the experiences designed around how people feel and impact the path to purchase. As customers get more in touch with their emotions, new strategies, stores, and experiences are being designed around how digital stores make us feel. Thoughtful navigation that delights and adds emotional peaks or removes friction points is also key for mood-altering experience design.
Designing for emotional responses is a key strategy to respond to holiday needs. Emotive navigation cues and thematic wayfinding based around moods and senses create a more memorable experience that can translate to repeat visits and increased word-of-mouth sharing.
Engaging with customers must be about more than just fun – digital stores need to understand how they want to feel. Forming more personalized and emotional connections with consumers via data-driven intimacy, color therapy, or nostalgia taps into an increasing desire for real-life experiences, which bolster mood and happiness in a disconnected world.
3. Micro experiences
Don't ask them to shop, make them stop and do that for the shopper's benefit. Digital shopping experiences can be more than just about making sales. With rising questions around consumerism, offer fun alternatives to holiday shopping and create new traditions focused around simplicity and togetherness rather than excess.
Micro digital experiences are small or temporary digital programs online that aim to add unexpected value to the lives of customers. Well-crafted micro digital experiences can recreate the discovery, community, and connective tissue that has disappeared with the rise of online algorithms, digital transactional buying, and of course the pandemic lockdown. These experiences do not have to be robust programs. Often, what consumers want are experiences that cost them the least cognitive effort bring atmosphere and good cheer.
Use the power of good storytelling to keep the customer intrigued, engaged, and happy. Craft stories that generate enjoyment to get attention and emotional affinity to positively position your digital store.
By Malina's runway Livestream through bambuser
4. Phygital shopping
AR (augmented reality) has become a part of our lives as the metaverse matures, in the digital future it is likely to become even more central to our consumption habits. As social distancing remains, we expect AR storytelling to become a key investment area going forward. Brands are leaning on AR to delight customers in new creative ways to offer a safe, informative, and entertaining phygital experience and holidays are the best time to blur the line between virtual and physical experience.
Etsy made its virtual store debut with the launch of The Etsy House. The hyper-realistic and 3D virtual home with walls of a house decorated with items from Etsy sellers. Shoppers could navigate through the home and click for more information, photos, a link to purchase, and a 3D modeling tool to see an item from all angles.
Use the power of 3D, AR, and VR for the holiday season as these digital experiences are more accessible, affordable, and becoming more common than ever before as these immersive and entertaining experiences add value beyond the transaction. Phygital experiences are also seeing a rise of D2A commerce (Direct-to-avatar) as a retail model that unlocks new opportunities for brands in the powerful virtual world. Holiday-centric phygital experiences should be memorable and seamlessly meet the customer’s needs without the intention to attract attention, publicity, or business only.
Holiday-centric phygital experience by The Etsy House
5. Metaverse moments
The term 'metaverse' is not new, having first been coined in a 1992 sci-fi novel ”Snow Crash”. It now yields nearly 6m results in Google Search, as it still matures while creating new channels of growth and revenue for e-commerce stores.
Metaverse is a whole interconnected ecosystem where individuals jump from one world to the next, it's like living online which is why we star metaverse as the perfect holiday-centric design strategy, opportunity, and engagement channel as its likely to unlock experiences like never before, new product possibilities, commerce capabilities, and distribution channels.
Metaverse offers more freedom, creativity, accessibility, power engagement, and assist in brand scalability. Holidays in 2022 and beyond are the best time to bring in immersive virtual stores. Digital stores that looking to expand into the metaverse should consider an entire store design, overall customer experience, and an omnichannel strategy around communications and service to ensure the best outcomes for both customers and businesses alike.
While the pandemic may have normalized life online for the masses, the full potential of the metaverse will not be realized for decades down the road, though over time, it will gradually transform the consumer's entire life and shopping journey.
6. Holiday perks
The easy return and buy-now-pay-later features can help customers stretch paycheques in the holiday season. It can help customers stay organized and spread the cost of holidays across several weeks. It will be more important than ever for value brands and e-commerce stores to ensure they are serving customers facing a lack of funds.
the rising prices can make us and many others feel that crunch, brands that highlight easy return and buy-now-pay-later features, will calm some anxiety and help to recreate the magic for a new audience.
7. Filterless digital
The future is transparent and mostly "filterless". We have long entered an era where digital spaces are appreciated for being honest, flawed, and raw. As e-commerce stores move towards keeping an authentic representation online we are sure to see a shift in holiday digital experiences.
Holiday filterless digital strategies are about being recognized for values, honesty, and optimism. It's about clear and conscious messaging that is grounded in reality. This is how the digital stores help customers address their true human aspirations as they deepen their relationships with the brands through real filterless connections.
Filterless digital strategies are for brands that don’t just want to sell but touch lives, it's for brands that choose experience over materialism. This increasingly allows consumerism to fall by the wayside so that people come to brands based on their values, interests, and commonalities For this holiday and beyond link customers to your behind the product stories and people behind the company’s vision and allow them to become part of the community rather than just privy to your product and there is nothing more festive than that.
All holiday-centric design strategies must be balanced with accessibility and desirability. Brands must ensure that in-house teams get sufficient training to get to grips with the tech, the new technologies are for sure complex, most confusing, and evolve fast. Digital stores that want to incorporate phygital shopping experiences and take a step ahead with metaverse need digital agencies that ensure training programs for company-wide education down to the customer level.
According to a Deloitte digital report, 60% of long-term customers use emotional language to describe their connection to favored brands. Brands who are seeking ways to create that connection can achieve that with micro and mood-driven experience. Conversational tech, holiday perks, and filterless digital design strategies are designed to maximize communication effectively while building an authentic, valuable, and influential e-commerce store while also helping companies to build on more equitable, diverse, and inclusive businesses.
The aim in the holiday season should become less about selling and more about experiences that add value to customers and businesses alike. In addition to the above strategies e-commerce stores should also focus on being more culturally relevant, create more personalized experiences, be bold in experimenting with new formats to match the growing awareness and drive conversion.
Talk to us about elevating your space beyond the traditional store environment to a perfect festive vibe.