The need for custom shopping experiences

2 min read
November 8, 2021
This first article in our three-part series on customization describes why merchants using Shopify Plus need new ways to customize their sites and overall shopping experiences.

Recent research from McKinsey & Company shows that 75% of U.S. consumers have tried a new shopping behavior in response to economic pressures, store closings, and changing priorities. 

This finding is alarming, since it shows just how difficult it is to attract and keep loyal customers. The same report found that 36% of consumers reported trying new brands and 73% of these shoppers intend to incorporate new brands into their routine.

In other words, if you lose customers, it may be very hard to get them back.

All of this demonstrates why digital shopping experiences are so important – especially on mobile devices. Site speed is a huge part of creating experiences consumers crave (and is a topic we’ll continue to write about). 

Yet equally important is the idea of moving beyond same-old, same-old cookie-cutter storefronts and delivering highly customized experiences that help brands differentiate and win. This is especially true for Shopify Plus eCommerce sites that are looking to perform better, create engaging new customer experiences, and drive new revenue. 

Why do we need customized shopping experiences? The simple fact is that today’s shoppers expect highly customized and personalized digital experiences. It’s more than table stakes since brands can attempt to create them, but if they get it wrong, customers may leave – and leave for good. 

One example of this is personalization, especially personalization at scale, where brands deliver personalized experiences for large segments of their customer base. If done well, personalization is an extremely effective way to differentiate, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately generate new sales. 

Other examples of customizations include user-generated content and reviews, customer stories and examples, influencer-driven product recommendations and launches, customer service, personalization tactics, and much more.

How to achieve customized shopping experiences

Yet how to achieve all of this can be a tricky question, especially for merchants using Shopify Plus as their eCommerce platform. Clearly, Shopify Plus is the leading solution, but at first, it may seem difficult to create the custom sites and storefronts in order to truly differentiate, since every merchant has access to the same portfolio of themes. 

While this approach was designed to streamline and simplify initial development efforts – in the same way WordPress themes eliminate the need for custom websites – it could seem hard to differentiate eCommerce websites or product pages without extensive development work. 

Today, headless commerce can help eCommerce teams optimize Shopify Plus themes and create highly customized, highly memorable digital shopping experiences to meet their most important goals. Headless commerce helps unlock the flexibility and agility for differentiated custom experiences in a way that is faster, easier, and safer than “from-scratch” development efforts. 

More, headless commerce can be implemented with existing teams – no need to add new developers or technical resources – or without breaking existing flows from backend systems. This means developers can be freed from troubleshooting issues and can focus on higher-value, more strategic technical projects. 

Differentiation is easier than you think

Clearly, today’s merchants need to differentiate with online shopping experiences that are custom-built with their customers in mind and can deliver the personalization, engagement, and loyalty they need to meet their goals.

While many eCommerce teams may think this effort requires extensive development work, especially to optimize existing Shopify themes, headless commerce can become an effective way to achieve their most critical objectives, without as much time and work as they may think. 

Stay tuned for the next article in this series on custom shopping experiences where we describe the many options available to today’s brands and introduce the “buy-and-build” concept to truly develop the custom experiences your brand needs to differentiate – and gain a powerful new competitive edge.

Continue reading the second part of this series here.

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