It’s the little things in life. Would you rather get a $38 tube of lipstick in a utilitarian brown cardboard box … or in a beautiful white Chanel-branded mini shopping bag filled with samples wrapped in a silky pouch, all packed in a white Chanel-branded shipping box – delivered by FedEx for no additional fee? And Amazon thinks it has a prayer in delivering luxury?
And while we’re at it, what other companies take the time and make the investment in the high touches that transform an online purchase into a brand relationship? Apple, for one. Receiving a purchase from Apple is akin to making an investment in the future, but not an investment in myself.
So, what about the non-tech world? Everyone is always talking about the desire for convenience and speed as the online value differentiator. And it’s been the store that everyone says delivers the ultimate customer experience. But I say take a page from Chanel. Their online purchase experience actually transcends the tradeoff of getting to the store and being served by those chic black-T-shirt uniformed Chanel reps, as nice as they are, but nonetheless it requires making the effort to walk into the store masked up and social distanced.
[callout]For the moment there are so many real-world opportunities for online to up its game and make the digital customer experience an experience worth having. [/callout]
Granted, you can’t get a makeover or facial online, or being upsold by talented estheticians and salespeople with hundreds of dollars in beauty products you didn’t realize you needed. But you could be blessed with an expert online personal shopper/salesperson to upsell you an outfit, not just a single piece of apparel. And think of the possibilities when all of this is in virtual reality with your avatar connects with your own virtual personal shopper avatar who selects the wardrobe that actually fits your body shape, and you buy the entire package with a click.
But for the moment, there are so many real-world opportunities for online to up its game and make the digital customer experience an experience worth having. Sure it costs more money, but presenting a cashmere sweater in tissue wrapped with a fabric ribbon, tucked into a beautiful box (one that you could save for gifting) with a sample of cashmere soap, will make a loyalist of your online customer, even if the cashmere is from a value brand like Pure not luxury Loro Piana. Or like Johnny Was that always includes a seductive catalog of just released new styles in its nicely wrapped online packages in really beautiful boxes (one you do save for gifting). How you receive a purchase can make or break the brand. And it’s such a simple touch.
When we’re stuck at home and either unwilling or disinterested in returning to the store, optics take over and can reinvigorate a brand. If one thing the pandemic has revealed, we all want to feel pampered and spoiled. This has been a long slog of sensory deprivation. And if all we choose to do is hit a complete purchase button, making that delivery experience a delight is a simple pleasure we’ll take any day.
If retailers only put themselves in our shelter-at-home slippers/flip flops/bare feet, the whole online sales proposition would be overhauled. It’s the same concept for B&B innkeepers to sleep in their own guestrooms and they’d realize that bedside lighting isn’t just nice, but a necessity. But I digress — back to boxes, if you were sending yourself a package as a gift to yourself, no matter how small or large the investment, wouldn’t you naturally make it special? Perception has become everything in our mixed-up lockdown culture. Optics, if done well, can lift the spirit and spark optimism and self-worth.
It’s just so simple. God is in the details, and online transactions can become heavenly through implicit respect for the customer through a refined aesthetic. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If online wants to best an in-store experience, make every delivery an unexpected gift. And as the Buddha said, “Never refuse a gift.” It’s the perfect promise for a relationship worth having.