Window Shopping In A Digital Storefront

Window shopping is a pastime enjoyed by many, shopping without the “intention” of making a purchase. And yet, it’s hard to walk by a store window, see something that catches your eye and not want to buy it, reports Amir Shub for AdWeek

The purpose of physically dressed store windows is much like that of digital advertisements, says the report: To drive consumers to purchase. However, digital ads, especially in the early days of banner ads, generally haven’t emulated what’s made brick-and-mortar shopping successful: the experience of browsing and discovering products, or “window shopping,” until now. Social networks are slowly becoming targeted storefronts.

This storefront concept blends the best of digital and physical. It gives consumers a “shoppable” experience and provides them with a level of personalization they’ve never experienced in the brick-and-mortar world. There are a few elements at play that drive this trend forward, says the report.  

  • Consumers want the opportunity to browse. If a brand serves a static ad to a consumer that is an image of one pair of shoes, the odds that the consumer will like those specific shoes, enough to click on the ad and go to the brand’s website to complete a purchase for those shoes, are slim. The “storefront” format gives consumers more browse-friendly options without needing to navigate through a brand’s website or online product catalog
  • The ads themselves need to capture the same type of visual that a storefront does. Modern ad formats like Facebook Canvas or Collections enable marketers to create that storefront feel for consumers,which includes showcasing multiple products from a retailer’s product catalog, a peak at a variety of merchandise, all at once.
  • These formats might even start with a video or image that then leads to four product images, which gives consumers an opportunity to click directly on a product of their choosing to make a purchase
  • That product variety increases the likelihood of successful conversions because it provides consumers with more options. This is not dissimilar from a retail storefront managing and dressing windows with brand posters and the latest merchandise. Automation simply takes away all the manual work and results in better return on investment, concludes the report

These digital storefronts also expose consumers to far more creative assets than a brick-and-mortar shop window could, because they incorporate both product ads and branding imagery. In Facebook Collections, for example, you often see a mix of product ads (resulting from retargeting) and branding-style ads that elicit a bit more emotion, imagination and lifestyle.

The consumer experience is key, says the report. Ads that make their way to consumers’ mobile devices and social networks should be as targeted as possible, or else they will only annoy consumers, feeling more like brand “intrusions” than welcomed browsing experiences.

  • Personalized and targeted ads are important, as a key differentiator between a digital storefront and a physical one. Physical storefronts can only do one version, whereas ads can do many and have the ability to personalize which consumers see which versions.
  • Additionally, says the report, digital storefronts, are far more actionable than physical ones. Increasingly, the sale can be completed within the interface, not requiring the consumer to navigate into another application, or the brand website, and wait for it to load.

Targeted storefronts are the next wave of advertising for brands, concludes the report. They yield better results because they showcase more options to consumers, which also allows for more room to personalize.

For additional information from Adweek, please visit here.


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