Leverage Experience Driven Commerce: 5 Customer Experience Examples

Have you ever watched a Marvel film?

Nikole Wintermeier | May 17, 2022

experience-driven-commerce

Have you ever watched a Marvel film?

I’m talking about any Avengers movie. Like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow or, big surprise, The Avengers? 

If we’re being honest with each other then if you’ve watched a superhero film in the last decade, it was most likely a Marvel film. Which is, by default, Disney. 

Over the past years, Disney has successfully crafted a world of superheroes that transcends the big screen. 

We now have Marvel-themed amusement parks. Comicon is saturated with fans playing dress-up to Marvel characters. 

We’ve got Marvel spin-off shows. Toys. Video games. Marvel VR shops. 

Disney has made a comic book into a universe through the power of storytelling and, of course, extensive marketing campaigns and commerce. 

For many brands, this kind of experience-driven commerce is the next frontier in retail. Retailers that are competing for customer-centricity are starting to create similar product discovery experiences that are as immersive and franchised. 

So what is experience-driven commerce? 

How are brands delivering superior experiences to their customers? 

And, more importantly, what trends govern experience-driven commerce? 

Time to stop marveling at how Marvel does it. It’s up to you to take the reins and stay on top of the market. This article will show you how.

 

What is experience-driven commerce?

 

Experience-driven commerce is a trend that focuses on brands recognizing the touchpoints their customers are shopping from and delivering the most seamless product and brand experience across all of these touchpoints. 

Which means it’s not necessarily about having an immersive experience (e.g., a dress-up-as-your-favorite-superhero-contest). It’s more about refining the customer experience throughout the funnel. 

Today, your shoppers want their expectations met wherever they’re buying from. For example, imagine you’re thinking of buying a pair of prescription sunglasses. 

So you enter a sunglasses shop. What scenario do you think fits the experience-driven commerce approach?


experience-driven-commerce

  1. You try on several pairs of frames, select one you like best, and the assistant puts the order to send to your house. Fin.
  2. You get your prescription taken in-store for free – in exchange for ice cream nonetheless! After your prescription is taken, an in-store assistant will help you find the right pair of sunglasses for you and show you how to style them. Post-purchase, you’re given a detailed account of who is building your glasses, and when they will arrive. Plus, you also have the option where you can choose several models, have them sent to your house, and you can select your favorite and send them back.  

 

  1. is actually the approach of Ace & Tate, a popular glasses brand, who’s really only selling one product! But they’ve made sure they’re selling more on experience and using the product to represent the brand throughout the whole customer journey. 


experience-driven-commerce ace & tate

Book an eye test with Ace & Tate

Experience-driven commerce is as much a move from commerce to content as it is selling product attributes as benefits

 

To sum it up, experience-driven commerce for retailers means:

  • Personalizing the customer experience across touchpoints 
  • Prioritizing a content-first approach when selling products
  • Educating the consumer and raising brand awareness 
  • Cultivating customer loyalty through communities and personalization 

 

HubSpot Video

 

5 top experience-driven commerce trends that you can apply right now

 

There are many top experience-driven commerce trends that you should know if you want to participate. Buzzwords like personalization and omnichannel take precedence. 

But to move away from buzzwords and see how you can apply experience-driven commerce in an actionable way, I’ve identified five of the most important trends for you.

Let’s take a look. 

 

1. Commerce to content 

 

Back before customer-centricity became a buzzword, brands were notoriously pushing products to their customers. The mission here was to sell, sell, sell. 

But today, this isn’t a goal that – 

  1. Resonates with customers
  2. Is entirely ethical 

Combining both a) and b) will inevitably lead to fewer product sales and revenue. So brands have changed their tactics. 

Instead of pushing products as the main KPI, content is now a priority that fuels sales. This is crucial to experience-driven commerce. 

If you can leverage content in the right way, at the right time, to the right person, content ranging from tutorials, social media, blog posts, email marketing, etc. can drive your brand experience by:

  • Encouraging customer loyalty and communities 
  • Educating the audience about your product offering
  • Raising brand awareness 

 

Example: Alo Yoga


experience-driven-commerce alo yoga

Alo Yoga is an athleisure yoga brand that started selling only for the yoga niche. Despite operating in a niche, they are now one of the most popular athleisure brands, endorsed by Kardashian- level celebrities.

experience-driven-commerce alo yoga 2

Kendal Jenner is Alo Yoga’s ambassador. 

That’s because Alo Yoga is great at leveraging content. Combined with their yoga shop they also have a section called Alo Moves – a yoga teaching platform. And Alo Gives – free content for yogis.

By combining these different aspects of practicing yoga (it’s not just about yoga clothing) Alo Yoga curates a whole community of both shoppers and practitioners. 

The activewear market is a great example of experience-driven commerce in action. Activewear brands are often selling products that need more explanation and guidance (for e.g., running shoes and hiking gear are very technical products).



experience-driven-commerce alo yoga

Creating relevant content is a great opportunity to foster the experience of the brand and the products. 

Customers can see the products in action, go to the shop to buy them, and then use the brand to educate themselves further about the sport or activity. 

While any retailer can sell their products better through content, Alo Yoga is actively promoting a healthier lifestyle for their shoppers. 

 

2. Guided selling 



experience-driven-commerce product finder

Experience-driven commerce serves shoppers an optimized experience no matter when or where they’re shopping from. 

But how do you guide the sale for your shoppers if you can’t physically interact with them? 

In-store, guided selling are your shop assistants or sales clerks. But you can bring the in-store experience online with guided selling tools such as:

  • Product finders
  • Chatbots
  • Virtual assistants
  • Product recommenders
  • Product comparisons

 

On a behavioral level, some of these tools work better than others. If you want to know more about the UX and psychology behind these guided selling tools, check out our webinar. 

Guided selling is a trend that brings the human element to the online experience while leveraging data to drive personalization. 

 

Example: Love Stories 

 

HubSpot Video

 

According to the Head of eCommerce at Love Stories Claudia Moron, 

“Besides the haptics of the products (touch and feel), I personally believe online shopping is way less recreational than the physical in-store shopping.” 

 

In order to keep this experience the same from in-store to online, Love Stories uses a Fit Finder to match customers to the perfect bralettes for them. 

This cultivates the intimacy of online shopping, which many customers won’t be able to get in-stores (some may even feel uncomfortable trying on lingerie in a brick-and-mortar location). 



experience-driven-commerce email

 

By leveraging a Fit Finder, Love Stories can interact with the customer and feed them a product discovery experience that’s in line with their shopping goals – while keeping this experience intimate, empathetic, and human. 

To recreate the ‘haptics’ of in-store shopping, content here is Queen. Love Stories’ product descriptions emulate the touch and feel of their products. But they also send relevant emails that almost personify their products to give the shopper more intimacy online. 

To psychologically replicate ‘touch-and-feel’, you can also leverage the Endowment Effect. In fact, there are many psychological principles that will facilitate your experience-driven commerce approach. 

 

HubSpot Video

To watch the full guided selling webinar on-demand, go to this page. 

 

3. Contextual commerce 

 

Contextual commerce is when your customers can make purchases while doing other things, like cooking, commuting, or hanging out on social media. In simple terms, it’s buyingin context. 

Our guest post on the topic couldn’t have put it better:

Contextual commerce allows merchants to think beyond the boundaries of traditional storefronts so they can seamlessly implement buying opportunities into the everyday activities of their target market. 

 

Example: Wayfair 


experience-driven-commerce wayfair

Wayfair

 

Wayfair’s augmented reality (AR) app lets users see products in the context of their homes. Shoppers don’t have to go in-stores to pick up a product. Nor do they have to even go on the Wayfair website. 

Experiences that cut out these ‘middle-men’ so to speak, and go directly to the consumer, are ruling the experience-driven commerce market (we’ll take a look at the DTC trend a bit later). 

Which is why so many other furniture retailers leverage a similar AR experience. IKEA’s Place App does the same. Home Depot. Target. Anthropologie – all these homeware brands are also using AR to drive the experience of their products without the customer having to visit one of their stores. 

 

experience-driven-commerce AR


Home Depot

Allowing your customers to shop anywhere at any time, and then optimizing how they discover your products will:

  • Lower the barriers to purchase
  • Integrate buying opportunities into your customer’s everyday life
  • Delight your shoppers (I mean, how cool is AR!)
  • Make it easier for you to get leads and sales at the moment when customers discover your products 

 

4. Direct-to-consumer (DTC)

 

retail-trends-unboxed

 

If you’re an eCommerce manager, you’re probably trying to prioritize your own channels so that you can sell products within your own ecosystem. 

Which will give you more control over your customer and product data, right? I know, I know, this is easier said than done. 

But don’t worry – you’re not alone. According to Retail Dive;

  • Adidas plans to reach a 50% DTC business by 2025. 
  • Under Armour is currently trying to exit 3,000 of their wholesalers. 
  • Nike (whose DTC) revenue in 2010 was 15% plans to make $50 billion in 2022. 

Selling DTC will allow you to be in charge of the product experience from content to commerce. 

 

Example: Glossier



experience-driven-commerce glossier

 

As a digitally native brand, Glossier has their online content strategy down to a T. Their tagline, ‘Beauty products inspired by real-life’ gives a peek into their product-driven strategy. 

For example, they use social channels to engage with their customers using polls, surveys, and questions (thereby getting a better understanding of their audience in the process). 

In short, they actually engage customers further up the sales funnel so their shoppers’ voices are part of the product development. Which means Glossier doesn’t only sell DTC but reverses the funnel so their customers are informing product growth and business direction. 

A DTC approach will be crucial for experience-driven commerce because:

  1. It keeps all data within a single ecosystem to promote data privacy and transparency,
  2. It will force brands to know their individual customers on a deeper level and provide better 1:1 experiences. 

experience-driven-commerce glossier campaign

Glossier’s campaign focuses on capturing real people. 

 

5. Product-led experiences 

 

Glossier’s business model (where customers inform product innovation) is a trend unto itself. When retailers can shift the focus from customer data to product data, this aligns with data privacy clauses. 

But this doesn’t always have to mean focusing entirely on eCommerce (since that’s where collecting data often starts). 

Mont Blanc, for instance, takes a product-led experience to innovate the in-store customer journey. 

 

Example: Mont Blanc 

experience-driven-commerce mont blanc

Source

Luxury brands know that they’re not just selling products but experiences. That’s because luxury consumer psychology is hedonic, with purchases accompanied by a wealth of cognitive biases. 

So much, in fact, that we’ve written a whole report on luxury consumer psychology. Check it out here:

 

state of luxury cta

 

Montblanc is one of those luxury brands. Just like the niche sellers we’ve seen throughout this article, Montblanc is primarily known for selling luxury fountain pens. 

At their flagship store in New York City, Montblanc customers can test ink on paper, try on smart headphones, and even discover augmented paper. 

‘Elevating ink sections to the level of a wine bar – yes, something akin to tastings and even scent is involved – is among the experiences that luxury retailers are packing into stores as they attempt to draw people in again’. – Vogue Business on Montblanc Flagship Store NYC

It’s this kind of experiential boutique that is bringing the phygital into the brick-and-mortar experience. And by leveraging technology in-stores, Montblanc can not only drive the commerce experience for their shoppers but also collect first-party data in-stores. 

The data question is as big as the brick-and-mortar question. And experiential commerce can provide the answer to both. 

This makes it a sure-fire way to deliver your customer the experience they want. In short, by letting your products lead the way.

 

What are the main ways to deliver experience-driven commerce? 

 

With these examples underway, where do you start? How do you do it?

Delivering seamless and frictionless product discovery journeys is the first step. Online, this means making sure there’s an easy journey from query to product to checkout. 

Offline, this means making the whole experience cohesive and personalized so that there’s less of a gap between bricks-and-clicks and customers can find the products they want wherever, whenever. 

Here are a few more ways you can deliver on experience-driven commerce today.  

 

1. Personalize the CX omnichannel 


experience-driven-commerce omnichannel retail

Source

Today, consumers don’t just shop on their mobile phones. They shop on apps within apps within their mobile phones! Retailers are dealing with total app-ception when it comes to omnichannel marketing. 

Making cross-channel personalization just as important as it’s ever been. The only thing is that the channels consumers shop from have increased tenfold. 

To properly scale your personalization, you’ll need to prioritize the right channels with the messages that resonate with the right customer. 

Any of the trends we’ve explored above will facilitate this approach, from guided selling to DTC. 



2. Leverage content in more interesting ways 


experience-driven-commerce ELF cosmetics

​​Elf Cosmetics is using TikTok to host a challenge #eyeslipsface (ELF), which took off with consumers racking up 7 billion views and 5 million user-generated videos. 

As we’ve seen, experience-driven to commerce will only really take off with the right CONTENT.

But you gotta be innovating!

Consumers are becoming savvier to things like retargeting, email marketing, and notifications like pop-ups. 

Experiment with things that work, and keep collecting data to optimize your content. User-generated content may work for a GenZ audience, whereas an older generation of luxury shoppers crave more customization (e.g., tailoring). 

 

3. Keep your product data up to date 

 

Where content will lead product sales, products now will lead the personalization game. To intersect data, insights, and content, product data should be kept up to date and contextualized with every interaction your shoppers’ have. 

At Crobox, we visualize your product data in one place with product profiles. Brands can gain a 360-view of their products from what kinds of messages generate clicks, to their impact on overall brand revenue. 


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Keeping this information up to date and centralized will allow you to drive product-led experiences by:

  • Personalizing product messages at every touchpoint
  • Keeping product descriptions relevant 
  • Optimizing your taxonomies and categories to facilitate discovery experiences 

We also use this product data to optimize the customer experience by leveraging product badges, dynamic messages, and, of course, product finders. 

All with the goal of:

  1. Keeping the customer’s data safe (our finders, for instance, collect first-party data)
  2. Making the discovery experience more intuitive and delightful 

Want to learn more? 

 

HubSpot Video

  

Conclusion

 

Experience-driven commerce is as much about cementing the great experiences you’re already creating for your customers as it is about leveraging technology and data to innovate that experience. 

However, the experience-driven commerce trends we mentioned in this article aren’t necessarily at the frontier of retailing. Technology won’t be your silver bullet. 

Instead, what experience-driven commerce has taught us today is that the most successful are:

  • Optimizing their product discovery experiences
  • Crafting 1:1 conversations with their customers in a data-safe way
  • Creating product-driven customer experiences
  • Guiding and advising their shoppers about the products made for them 

Good luck!

 

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