Missing the high-street? Here’s 4 ways to make shopping online better

Shopping in-store, so 2019! Ah what we’d give to step into a store, see and touch products, think about buying that thing we definitely don’t need but want nonetheless. Online shopping is great, it’s convenient, you get to skip the queues, you have endless options, but no matter how hard we try there are still some big things we miss about shopping in-store. 

The first obvious one is seeing products in real life. Understanding how a product will look in context, like in a roomset or on a mannequin is powerful because it gives us real inspiration. It’s very hard to know how a sofa or any home accessory will look in our homes while shopping online because we’re not given any context – we’re required to use our imaginations a little too much. 

Secondly, shopping in-store helps us understand how big (or small) products really are – how many times have you bought something online only to realise it’s half the size you expected when it arrived? Most e-commerce sites display their catalogue in the same format Amazon invented decades ago. Rectangle boxes fit for books, not furniture. 

Thirdly, there’s impulse buying. We all miss finding those hidden gems in-store, there’s nothing quite like it. Although retailers try to entice us to add other ‘similar products’ to our basket at the checkout, it’s not quite the same. 

Lastly, we can’t forget the brand experience. Your favourite store’s ambience didn’t happen by accident, brands spend huge budgets curating the perfect experience for their shoppers, from store layout to music to the shop window; everything has a purpose. The joy of shopping and discovery is one of the hardest things to replicate online. 

Online shopping definitely has its low points, but rather than dwell on the things that we miss, we’ve been thinking about how you can use technology to make your e-commerce experience better.

1. Contextualise

If you really want to inspire your shoppers, you need to give them context. If they’re able to understand how a product will work in their homes, they’re more likely to purchase it. Our Shop the Look technology helps achieve this by providing shoppers with a gallery of aesthetic-led room designs to choose from. The gallery can be completely customised and updated regularly. After choosing their favourite design, shoppers can click on any part of the image to reveal products from your catalogue that are similar. Here it is live with GAIA Design.

2. Scale your products

There’s nothing more annoying than misunderstanding the size of a product. When we first started Hullabalook, this was one of the main problems we wanted to solve. Instead of assuming your shoppers can guess the size of a specific chair or table from your catalogue, give them more confidence by scaling them accurately.

Our Stickers technology is a great solution for this. Not only does it increase product discovery by visualising how things look together, it also scales everything. So now your customers will know exactly how big that side table compared to that sofa. Check out how Cox & Cox are using it. Scrolling and sticking products to a canvas is a much funner way of exploring a catalogue, which is why clients using Stickers see an increase in engagement rates and cross-category purchases.

3. Reinvent impulse buying

Since shoppers can’t impulse purchase at your tills, give them a way to do it online. Our Mix and Match technology prompts shoppers to add more products to their basket by giving them the option to play around with new combinations at the checkout. Once your shopper has added a sofa to their basket, they will see a popup with the option to try out some cushion combinations and can then  add their favourites straight to their basket. 

4. Revive the brand experience

Every retailer is unique. It’s one of the reasons we love working in this industry, the feeling you get when you walk into Selfridges is completely different from any other store. We would love to see this sense of individualism replicated on all retailers’ websites, because they all have something different to offer. 

But the joy of shopping hasn’t been lost, just misplaced. To bring it back, you have to give your shoppers a digital experience they remember. 

Our Sticker technology, which is live with COAT Paints, lets shoppers play around with different paint colours for their wall, and swap and change furniture for the space. By implementing this element of playfulness, we’re able to replicate the experience of shoppers trying out different swatches but in a completely digital way. Becoming your own interior designer has never been easier. 

So you see, there’s no need to give up hope. We can still find the joy and fun of shopping online, you just need an open mind, a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, trust in technology and of course, a great partner to help you along the way. Coincidentally we can help you with all of the above.

What do YOU miss about shopping in-store? Let us know, our technology may be able to help.