Retailers are experiencing a mind-blowing transition from a world once dominated by bricks-and-mortar behemoths to one that is now dominated by retailers that, in many cases, have never owned a physical store and likely didn’t even exist five years ago.
A remarkable $120B in sales were generated from e-commerce last year, couple this with the realisation that today nearly 70% of the worldwide population now owns a smartphone and the opportunity for digital sales becomes genuinely staggering.
Online retail giant Amazon has undoubtedly taken this world by storm, but on closer inspection of what makes it so successful, it isn’t just price. It’s not always the cheapest, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The fact it is hands down the easiest way to buy online does. It’s a frictionless experience, with just a few clicks your package is on the way to your doorstep. Then the AI kicks in powering recommendations and turns you into a repeating customer at an astonishingly fast rate. Amazon famously rebuilt its entire platform around AI, and nowadays it’s clear to see why others want to do the same to drive success. Macy's and other department stores, such as JCPenney, are facing off against Amazon, and coming up short. In the UK, retail institutes like John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams have seen their businesses fall to their knees in comparison to their digital-first counterparts.
Amazon’s experience is a far stretch from other retailer experiences where you seemingly need to fill in pages of details to get the very same outcome. Sure, you could argue that it’s too late, and Amazon has won, but there are thousands of viable business out there who need to learn and leverage from Amazon’s success to drive their own. This problem is currently being tackled by AI in the form of advanced shoppable video. This low friction experience now exists for any brands’ video strategy.
Yes, brands have already identified the power of online video over recent years, but many are still using tired techniques of promoting their products, encouraging users to sit through a video and then prompting them at the end to take action.
In a fast-paced, distracting digital world, the savviest brands know they only have a matter of seconds to engage someone before they’ve moved on, therefore, brands that allow viewers to experience and buy their products while they watch with shoppable video have seen unparalleled success as the path to purchase and associated friction is significantly reduced, much like Amazon’s. Rather than fear Amazon, brands should take the opportunity to learn from them and fast. Whilst this can’t just happen overnight, this development of shoppable video provides a vibrant lifeline for those in the digital dark.
Gartner predicts that 85% of interactions between customers and retailers will happen “without interacting with a human” by 2020. Therefore, brands leveraging AI-powered shoppable video now will have a clear advantage.
It’s now down to all brands, not just the savvy ones to adapt to this new way of selling. Users have already signed up; it’s now time for the brands to catch up.