How to Build an Iconic Online Flagship Store
It turns out that brands are the big winners of the digital age. And iconic flagship stores are a big part of their success. This new type of online eCommerce website drives digital innovation and future growth for brands. And the good news is you don’t have to replace your eCommerce platform to do this.
Why is That?
Brands with foresight have already taken advantage of digital platforms to transform their shopping experience. They moved their products online, closer to their customers, built better, more exclusive online retail experiences, and created deeper relationships. As a result, those brands generate more attention and reach more customers through digital channels globally than ever before. They also invented beautiful mobile-optimized buying experiences that help convert more business.
There is an underlying trend behind the rising power of brands. The more connected our multi-channel world becomes through digital platforms, the more powerful brands will become. Powerful symbols - and brands are exactly that - spread faster and further than ever before. Successful, well-known brands capture the imagination of people all around the world at a speed that we haven’t seen before.
Store Design: Creativity vs. Standardization
To take advantage of this mega trend, leading brands implemented a new type of retail store: the online flagship store. This premium online store captures a brand's essence by seamlessly weaving together inspiring brand experiences with a user-friendly ability to interact and order at the touch of a finger. The new flagship store is iconic, experiential, and almost always the biggest “store” in the company's portfolio of shops.
The flagship model is a real challenge for established eCommerce platforms from IBM, SAP Hybris, or Salesforce. Their eCommerce features have been designed to standardize processes, improve efficiencies, and scale operations. In other words, they are very good at the transactional parts of the process, but not very good at the experiential parts that make iconic brand experiences, inspiration, and discovery possible.
Brands need to design unique and innovative online experiences that haven’t been seen before to excite shoppers. This is the opposite of standardization. Creating these state-of-the-art eCommerce sites is - and always will be - core to a brand’s success. Or put another way: the experience is the brand.
While established eCommerce platforms are outstanding at standardizing backend processes and driving efficiencies, the resulting online stores often fail to meet expectations. Rarely do they provide immersive, beautiful, and iconic experiences. The result is often a middle-of-the-road online store that functions but fails to inspire customers. Therefore, the site fails to differentiate the brand.
The time for having one brand site to inspire customers and another to sell products is running out. This fragmented approach has significant drawbacks that brands can't accept any more:
A brand site that doesn’t convert
An online shop that doesn’t inspire
Losing visitors between the two sites
Lower overall conversion
Inconsistencies and poor SEO
Slow to update and costly to maintain
Customer experience is less engaging
Moving to a Best-of-Breed Approach
Online flagship stores are built to overcome and avoid the huge waste of money these limitations create. They integrate the brand site and online store into one seamless experience. They bring your potential customers to the right product pages and the right merchandise, making the eCommerce store experience more engaging than in-person shopping.
While all this sounds good, here comes the best part: Brands don’t need to replace their eCommerce platform to do this. Replacing an eCommerce platform is often cost-prohibitive and can take years.