Consumers shop online because it’s convenient, fast, and offers seemingly endless selection. As if that isn’t enough to bring retailers online, new studies show that during this back-to-school season, shoppers actually spent 27% more when buying online
. Because of that, more retailers are turning to new digital platforms and mobile apps to help them forge dynamic e-commerce presences
that engender customer loyalty.
One of the biggest strikes against online retail is that it hurts mom-and-pop shops
that lack the knowledge and resources required to launch an e-commerce initiative. While it may not put an end to "showrooming," Shoptiques
is a cleverly marketed startup
that brings boutique businesses online. The platform vets potential retailers to ensure that each store’s offerings are distinctive and well-curated, and then designs personalized pages for them. The result is a digital mall of sorts, except that, instead of browsing aimlessly from store to store, users can narrow options down by trend, price, style, city, and even neighborhood.
Independent businesses aren’t the only retailers who need assistance in establishing splashy e-commerce solutions. Revel Touch
helps big brands—among them Anthropologie and Sephora—offer their mobile shoppers a new retail experience with custom-designed apps that mimic the look and feel of their brick-and-mortar stores. Extending the cloud computing
concept to retail, they use a company’s existing e-commerce system, assets, and social content. For brands that are making a concerted effort to capture shoppers where they spend most of their time—on their smartphones and tablets—this platform makes the touch-optimized shopping experience
seamless, both for partner brands and shoppers alike.
One of the few social startups that’s as focused on offline shopping as it is on e-commerce, Swirl
is a “personal shopping assistant” that aims to give users real-time purchasing advice. The app helps shoppers find deals closest to them from more than 30,000 stores, including both big-box retailers and independent boutiques. Swirl is not just an asset for consumers, however. The app also has a dashboard that provides retailers with valuable analytics
about how users react to unique products and promotions. A Pinterest-inspired website serves as a companion to the app, but the real crux of the product remains the ability to shop smarter on the go.