Rich content helps retailers better tell their stories in a post-COVID eCommerce world

Arc XP’s VP of Product, Matt Monahan, recently sat down with Digital Commerce 360 to discuss how new technologies are helping retailers better tell their brand and product stories in the absence of in-store shopping.

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This article originally appeared in the Digital Commerce 360 Retail: Tech Innovations That Stick report.

COVID-19 drastically shifted the way consumers shopped in 2020. People who never shopped online before flocked to the internet to procure everything from necessities like groceries to expensive home entertainment devices like electronics. And in the past year, consumers became more comfortable shopping online, leading many experts to believe this sea change in consumer behavior is likely here to stay. To discuss how new technologies are helping retailers better tell their brand and product stories in the absence of in-store shopping, Digital Commerce 360 spoke with Matt Monahan, vice president of product at Arc XP.

DC360: What should retailers prioritize in this post-COVID eCommerce environment?

MM: With fewer people shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, retailers and brands should be focusing on what they need to do to get their consumers engaged online - in both traditional and nontraditional ways. Maybe they’re already using traditional methods of engagement like social media and blogs. Those are great ways to engage. But now is the time to start adopting new techniques, such as augmented reality or live and 360-video technologies.

Now more than ever, retailers and brands need to have more rich content deeply integrated into their storefronts and the experiences they’re creating for consumers to make an impact and rise above the competition.

DC360: Why are these new technologies so important in today’s eCommerce landscape?

MM: Consumers are more comfortable than ever making their purchases completely online without ever experiencing the product through in-store channels. That requires retailers to make more information available online about products—such as better photography, integrated galleries, videos that provide a 360-degree product view or product usage, and augmented reality.

Digital channels are obviously competitive today. The big eCommerce retailers like Amazon and Walmart are still major players, but consumers are increasingly buying directly from the brands they love. The top of that funnel might be social media, search and the brands’ sites directly. But now, a lot of brands are considering selling direct-to-consumer. That means they need to flex some different marketing muscles than they’re accustomed to.

DC360: Would you explain how some of these features will help drive customer engagement?

MM: Live video events, for example, allow brands and retailers to interact with their audiences directly. A presenter might do a demo of a product or discuss a new service. And the technology allows audience members to engage with the seller through comments or drop-in reactions. And it all happens live—where the interaction is not only direct but in real time.

360-video allows retailers and brands to show viewers the full view of products at all angles and their details—as if they were holding it and inspecting it in their own hands. And augmented reality will take that a step further, allowing consumers to interact with brands’ products seemingly in real life, bridging the gap between the in-store experience and at-home convenience. Retailers and brands that succeed at eCommerce are the ones that are armed with the tools to tell their stories through rich content.

DC360: How can retailers go about implementing these new technologies quickly?

MM: They can partner with a technology provider, such as Arc XP, that can implement the tools they need to provide these content-rich customer experiences through store front and storytelling. Arc XP integrates easily with retailers’ existing systems as a headless commerce platform or as an end-to-end solution out of the box to help retailers and brands provide consumers with more engaging commerce experiences. And being configurable and customizable, Arc XP can be tailored to meet the brand’s individual needs.

Want to learn more about the eCommerce technologies that have gained traction with retailers and proven to have staying power with merchants? Download Digital Commerce 360′s Tech Innovations That Stick report.