Online Retailers Making Holiday Shopping Experiential

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Nov 6, 2018

It’s happening–twinkle lights are appearing in trees, holiday music is playing in coffee shops, and you’re already getting those emails about stocking stuffers and tree trimmings. As consumers, the holiday season is upon us, but for retailers, it’s been a long time coming. While there’s a lot of pressure on brick-and-mortar stores to create experiences around the holiday shopping experience, online brands are finding that customers are expecting the same experiential retail from them. Here are a few online retailers that are taking the holiday shopping experience into their own hands and creating some pretty incredible digital strategies around the holidays. Bringing Online Brands to Life With the rise of eCommerce, there are a number of brands that do business solely online. But these online brands are recognizing the importance of traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, and they’re creating pop-up shops to give customers the chance to interact with their products. Online furniture retailer Wayfair just launched two pop-up shops in East Coast malls that allow customers to see some of Wayfair’s pieces in person, chat with home design experts and visit “How-to” stations to design custom furniture, and learn how to use Wayfair’s e-design platform. And Wayfair isn’t the only one–online mattress brand Casper created pop-up “nap showroom” that allows weary shoppers to take a quick nap on a Casper mattress. The brand is taking a totally experiential approach to selling in this case–the selling of the product itself is actually secondary to the selling of the experience. As more brands latch onto this approach of secondarily selling their product to an experience, a unique pop-up experience might be they key to winning over your customers online and offline. Virtual Try-ons with AR With consumers doing over 70 percent of last year’s holiday shopping on mobile, it’s super important for brands to create mobile commerce experiences that compel shoppers to buy. One way that a lot of brands are doing this is by leveraging augmented reality (AR) in their mobile strategy to allow shoppers to virtually “try on” products. Online eyewear retailer Warby Parker uses the iPhone X’s face mapping technology to recommend frames that will work with the customer’s face shape, and Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market allows shoppers to virtually put items from their home collections into their own homes to see how they’ll look. With so many shoppers turning to mobile to check items off of their holiday gift lists, it’s a no-brainer to leverage some really cool mobile-first tech like AR to help them visualize your products and compel them to purchase. And your holiday mobile strategy doesn’t have to stop there! You could even leverage mobile in your pop-up shop experiences with fun scavenger hunts to drive foot traffic, or coupons just for your pop-up shop visitors. No matter how you’re leveraging mobile this holiday season, it’s the perfect way to wrap up your experiential retail strategy.

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