Which Online Shopping Experience Should I Try Today?

Here’s how several companies opened new shopping avenues for their customers with better and more engaging experiences.

Retail
Akamai

Do you remember the first time you made an online purchase? Me neither. I’ve made so many online purchases over the years, and I’ve probably made more in the past 18 months than in the past 5 years combined. I love the convenience of it all, particularly having my mascara from Sephora and my dog’s food and treats from Chewy delivered to my door every month, without fail.

But I would have never considered purchasing some things online before the pandemic, including groceries and furniture. I like to choose my fruits and vegetables in person, and I like to test couches before I buy. The pandemic forced consumers to rethink how they shop and, in turn, forced retailers to reinvent the digital commerce industry.

Consumers shifted their shopping habits and retailers rose to the occasion and delivered, both figuratively and literally. The digital experience changed and improved in so many ways during the past year, shining a light on several retail rock stars that implemented innovative ways to make online shopping more secure and more engaging.

Customer Loyalty Programs Deliver Creative Digital Commerce Innovation

Never before have loyalty programs been more important for digital commerce than in the recent past. One thing that 2020 gave most of us was more time to enjoy life online and more variety in terms of “where” to shop.

Why do I go back to Sephora over and over again? Well, their service and products are great; plus, I’m a member of their loyalty program, which means I get free samples with every order. Who doesn’t love free samples?

The same can be said for my relationship with Chewy. They provide fantastic all-around service, and I get discounts because I’m a loyalty member. They also send handwritten notes and holiday cards to their customers, which is a nice touch.

And as a part-time yoga instructor, PrAna is my go-to site for sustainable, comfortable clothing. Also, because I’m part of their influencer program, I get discounts on clothing, as well as sneak peeks at upcoming new products.

How “Buy Once and Done” Retailers Create a Sense of Loyalty with Customers

When I visited a David’s Bridal store before my wedding, I went in, chose a dress, purchased it, and left the store, never to return again. Why would I? So, what do wedding gown stores, furniture stores, and car dealerships all have in common? These are the kinds of retailers many customers buy from only once, right? How can a retailer launch a loyalty program that keeps one-time purchasers coming back?

David’s Bridal is a great example of a one-time purchase store that found a unique way to drive customer loyalty. In the midst of the pandemic, the team at David’s Bridal, including their Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Cook, began brainstorming about how to launch a loyalty program. From their brainstorming, a genius idea was born — the Diamond Loyalty Program, a crowdfunding mechanism that can lead to a free honeymoon. Here’s how it works: If the bride’s mom buys her mother-of-the-bride dress at David's, the bride earns points; if the bridesmaids buy their dresses at David’s, the bride earns more points; and so

  1. It comes as no surprise that the bridal store’s first winner had 26 bridesmaids — that’s a lot of loyalty points and a great way to support the bride and groom.

Online Clothing Retailer Delivers a Secure, Perfect Fit

In lieu of actually trying on clothes in a store, consumers who shop online need to see the clothes from every angle and in every color, worn by different models of every size. And online shoppers want to have all of these same viewing options no matter what device they’re using to shop.

Meeting consumers’ demands for a dynamic and engaging online shopping experience isn’t easy on the back end and can be incredibly labor intensive. But it does often lead to higher conversions. Canada-based clothing manufacturer and retailer Frank And Oak solved this

challenge by implementing Akamai Image & Video Manager to deliver optimal images and automate image transformation. This automated and scalable solution enabled Frank And Oak to deliver an easy and enjoyable customer experience that helped increase conversions and improve the bottom line.

Retailers want customer loyalty and immersive experiences, but what about protecting shoppers’ personally identifiable information and credit card details? I still get a little scared when I input my credit card number and click “purchase.” A safe online shopping experience and the knowledge that my information has not been compromised keep me coming back to shop at my trusted digital commerce sites over and over again.

Managing bots is another huge concern for many of Akamai’s online retail customers, and Tokopedia is no exception. Tokopedia, Indonesia’s largest online marketplace, hosts thousands of smaller retailers on its platform and has 90 million monthly users. Tokopedia was prepared for the pandemic and already had the Akamai Bot Manager solution in place.

As Herman Widjaja, Tokopedia’s senior vice president, says, “the most important thing for us is our customer, and protecting our customer data and our customer experience.”

There are so many amazing ways in which retailers transformed their businesses to serve their customers over the last year and a half, it’s impossible to name them all. It’s also really nice that we as consumers transformed a bit, too; I know I certainly thank grocery store workers a bit more than I did in the past. I also try to shop at and support local businesses as much as I can. I hope you do, too.

Read more about protecting your online customers in our Loyalty for Sale: Retail and Hospitality Fraud report, and learn what Akamai makes possible for innovative retailers around the world.

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