At work, Our Growth & Optimisation team encourage us all to send through any cool websites or functionality that we find, whether they be eCommerce or not, so we can keep a finger on the trends in the market and validate them against the data we see from our clients and the eCommerce industry at large. That means that I am always on the lookout for interesting pieces of design and functionality whether they be in-store or blending with other channels.
One site that I love to keep an eye on is Zara, and in particular, ZARA Japan. Besides the fact that we don’t have a shoppable version in AU yet (hurry up guys!), I loved how engaging their online experience was. So while in Tokyo, I found myself naturally developing a small obsession with Zara and was really excited to visit the physical stores to put all the pieces together.
Lately, I have noticed the internet is moving away from a stringent and boxy structure to displaying data, we are finally breaking the grid! Instagram has integrated various sized content on their browse tab, which engages the user and stimulates them with a layout that is a bit out of the ordinary. Instagram have taken this approach a step further now where they display video’s at different sizes and alignments in the browsing grid and I have started to notice that this approach is popping up on quite a few eCommerce websites replacing the standard grid Product Listing Page (PLP) layouts.
With lazy load being increasingly used, your eyes tend to get tired looking at the same placement and photo style after 100 products. I always recommend shaking things up by changing the main product image to a campaign one – like what Pull & Bear have done. It’s a quick and easy way to change their PLP without any customisations.
The next part of my obsession with ZARA reached in store – they have an awesome omnichannel experience that seamlessly crosses channels.
It’s the age old eCommerce problem, you walk in store, fall in love with a product and they don’t have your size available. Not to worry, in Zara the team can help you order it from the online store while you’re in store and have it shipped to your house, free! Store staff are too busy? Download the app, scan the barcode and order it yourself! It really could not be easier. So we purchased a pair of gloves from the online store with the help of the store staff (the site was in Japanese after all) and had it delivered to our hotel. Two days later they arrived.
I tried them on and unfortunately they were too small, so back to the store we went. The returns process was just as seamless as the purchasing one and there were no hassles because I had them ordered in-store and delivered.
When I think about the experience that I had, I wonder why Australia seems to be so hesitant and dare I say, slow at adopting technology like endless aisle when it works so seamlessly overseas or in other stores like Apple where an assistant has an iPhone equipped with a scanner and eftpos machine. We frequently hear that clients are interested in integrating more technology into their physical stores, but hit a barrier when it comes to implementation whether it be budget, incompatible third party technology or generally a disinterest of Australian consumers to adapt to a new way of purchasing. I for one, cannot wait for this kind of technology and experience to hit the Australian market, having seen it work so well overseas.
Amblique is Australia’s industry leader in ecommerce and digital consulting, providing omni-channel strategies, retail practice and site optimisation services to help retailers and brand owners SELL MORE.
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