The Clyde platform was created to meet the needs of eCommerce companies. To stay abreast of the latest trends and developments within the space, we’ve invested time and resources to remain well read on the subjects that matter most to our customers. Check in on this weekly “conversation” to read, watch and listen to stories that are shaping the eCommerce industry. 

The Rise Of Experiential Retail

The eCommerce industry has been turned on its head in the past 18 months. After COVID nearly brought the entire US economy to its knees, economic conditions have generated two simultaneous phenomena: the meteoric rise in entrepreneurship and the rapid consumer migration from in-person to eCommerce spending.  

As a result, eCommerce competition has never been more pronounced. So how can you compete when you’ve already optimized your operations to provide consumers with the lowest prices possible? According to Retail Dive’s Cara Salpini, the answer is with experiential retail services. 

“The rise of experiential retail has led to stores increasingly offering various services, classes and events within their walls instead of just commodities. Greg Portell, lead of the global consumer practice at Kearney, pointed to cooking classes at the likes of Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma, or gardening classes hosted by Home Depot and Lowe's, as examples of some of the more community-focused or educational events retailers have begun holding.”

In our recent series, “Growth Reimagined: eComm Strategies That Work, No Lease Required,” we provide eCommerce companies with suggestions for how they can create experiences for their customers out in the real world. Our two part series on Pop-Up Shops lays out eight examples of how an eRetailer can get into the in-person experience game. 

The Art of the Pop-Up breaks down the three reasons these experiential marketing tactics work: exclusivity, scarcity and hyper-personalization.

Salpini singled out how REI, an American retail and outdoor recreation services company, has really embraced this experiential angle. “Through REI, a given customer can: test out camping for the first time using the company's rental services, schedule a virtual outfitting appointment for their next camping trip to figure out what kind of tent and cooking gear they need, buy the tent from REI's used business to cut back on costs, buy the cooking gear new because they're feeling fancy, start planning a Yellowstone camping trip, attend a virtual session on backpacking in Yellowstone to pick up some tips and, finally, book their 6-day Yellowstone camping trip through REI.”

If you’re interested in learning how you can bridge the experiential gap, check out our interview with the Creative Director of The Pop Up Shop Agency, Hope Newman

Nextech AR and Kohls Expand Augmented Reality

One of the positive business trends to come out of the COVID era has been customers' increased willingness to purchase items without seeing them in person. Historically, sectors like furniture, kitchen appliances and exercise equipment have relied heavily on in-store sales. The tactile nature of these products made it difficult to fully port that purchasing experience online. But with the help of augmented reality, consumers now have the opportunity to view products within the context of their own homes. 


Nima Sarshar, Chief Technology Officer of Nextech and founder of Threedy.ai, recently spoke to the media about the impact AR is having on major retailers like Kohls. "When 3D eCommerce solutions are done right, the results can be incredibly rewarding. Not only financially, but also the joy of seeing your product used by millions of customers practically overnight. Our ability to use our AI pipeline to create 3D models at scale is a real value proposition for large retailers like Kohls" Sarshar commented.

Evan Gappelberg, CEO of Nextech, was also quick to point out AR’s potential to reduce returns, while increasing customer satisfaction. “Kohls is an example of a large retailer that quickly recognized the potential for WebAR to enhance its online business. Augmented reality in eCommerce cannot only drive sales, but reduce customer returns as the buyer feels a higher level of product familiarity before placing the order - the latter being a key point for many eCommerce customers. By combining Threedy’s disruptive AI technology and our leading AR platform, large retailers like Kohls can reach the necessary scale critical to support their ecommerce business.”