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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 03, 2013

How discovery commerce is empowering shoppers

There is a new kind of commerce out there, and it's happening before shoppers hit either the online or offline storefronts. It's called discovery commerce and houses things like showrooming and window shopping - and it offers new ways for retailers to engage as consumers are researching products.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Why is discovery commerce important to retailers?

Scott Cooper, Co-Founder and CEO, ShopAdvisor: Two new developments are driving [discovery commerce]: the emergence of the tablet - and particularly image-rich tablet edition magazines read in lean-back mode - and crowdsourced product discovery sites like Pinterest. Rather than shopping online with a purpose, consumers are discovering things they might like or find interesting. In this environment, the consumer "journey" from discovery to purchase can take place all at once, or play out over time as readers flag items for later consideration.

These "lean back" experiences in which a consumer luxuriates in rich, eye-opening images can do more than simply lead a reader to click thru to a landing page. This is leading to a new lean-back mode of rich media consumption, giving brands and retailers the ability to excite consumers about products they didn't even know they wanted. As such, it is important for retailers and brands to capitalize on this emerging opportunity with strategies designed to ensure their brand and their products are easily discovered.

Kristina: There have been a few studies recently about customer research, indicating that shoppers are researching products more than ever. What does this research trend mean for retailers?

Scott: There are three basic types of research consumers are engaging in: price comparison, expert opinion deep dives, and crowdsourced star-ratings. It's not that consumers are getting smarter about these venerable research tactics, but rather that mobile technologies have made it so easy and frictionless to do this anywhere, anytime.

But, it is important to remember that rational, research-driven shopping is only a slice of the consumer journey. With discovery commerce, the initial image of a product can go a long way to instill awareness and interest and desire.

The key is to be able to capture and track those interested consumers before they reach the research phase of the cycle.

Kristina: What can retailers do to engage a shopper before they hit a search engine to further their research?

Scott: Here are some best practices for retailers and brands that want to increase their presence during the research phase of the shopping cycle:

• Take advantage of non-invasive, contextually integrated ads on their own Web pages to encourage consumer engagement and aid in the shopping process.
• Leverage the interactive features of digital magazines - videos, image galleries, 360-degree views, and up-to-the-minute price and availability information - to provide those potential consumers with enough value that they are willing to remain engaged with the product or brand.

• Work with third parties who track the level of consumer interest in products online, such as magazine publishers and the crowdsourced product sites. These third-parties have the means of aggregating demand and serving as a broker between retailers and the consumers who have declared an interest in a product or product category, act as a valuable resource for learning what products and campaigns are resonating with consumers.

More from Scott and ShopAdvisor tomorrow, including how to improve branded content.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: content trends, ecommerce content, ecommerce trends, online shopping trends, ShopAdvisor

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