There are four key ways for ecommerce retailers to future proof their brand, according to Mark Bergen, head of revenue at ecommerce company, Shopify.

These include, creating a consistent experience, letting technology and humans do what they are supposed to do, removing friction from an experience, and using the correct channels.

Bergen explained the strategy during the first Sydney-based Shopify Commerce+ event.

Experience

The first point, Bergen said is for brands to deliver a consistent experience.

He said, “Front to back from the moment they experience the brand to the moment they checkout. How are we being consistent in delivering the experience they want?”

Bergen used the example of New Zealand shoe brand Allbirds which he said focuses on building a high quality customer experience.

“It bleeds in everything they do. As they’ve built their brand, customer experience has been embedded in their brand in everything they do. Also being digitally native brand, their entire world and ecosystem has been coming out of the online experience.

“Even before they launched they did a really great job of building a following through content and talking about the industry they were looking to disrupt and how they were going to do it.

“When they launched, they ensured they had a great product and great experience for their consumers to go along with it,” he added.

Let technology do what its supposed to do

Bergen said retailers need to allow technology do what technology should do and let the humans focus on what they should do. This means retailers need to focus on building their brand and building community.

“You should be spending your time thinking about your brand, product, how do you create the experience that your consumers should have,” he said.

Mark Bergen, head of revenue, Shopify Plus

Retailers need to think about why they are doing this and what is the goal, Bergen explained.

“The one thing i heard consistent is why are merchants paying for technology when they should be taking, that money, that time and effort and focusing on brand development, on building an actual experience the consumers should be having and not on just maintaining legacy tech platforms.”

Removing friction

There are ways retailers can remove friction, according to Bergen. One of them could be the removal of the checkout.

He said 65 per cent of people dropout once they hit the online checkout. “At Shopify we talk internally about the need to kill the checkout.

“The entire experience you create for your consumer is completely focused on them, checkout is completely focused on us.

“Suddenly we need information, enter credit card information, we need these details, and it now becomes about us and it’s not really congruent with the brand we are trying to create.”

Bergen said, “Anywhere we see friction in the buying process, kill it. Friction hurts, let’s get rid of it.”

Using channels

It is crucial to be where the consumer is and where the consumer is going to be, Bergen claims.  

Some of these channels include Facebook, Instagram and eBay.

“We need to start using technology to see what the new channels look like,’” he said.

He used the example of a retailer in North America using virtual reality to show products in a customer’s home.  

“By using virtual reality, [consumers] get a sense of what it’s going to look like and how does it fit the space, does it fit the colour coordination, how much space is it going to take up.

“We are seeing more merchants starting to test virtual reality and augmented reality. Is it ready fully? No probably not but we know its going to be a significant channel.

“Its a chance for those brands to demonstrate their innovation, they care about where their customers are,”

Bergen said if retailers are not experimenting with channels, do it now, do it fast and experiment broadly.

He said find out where your customers are today, how you can access them and if they’re not coming to your store, how to be where they are.

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