Amazon’s recent April fool’s day prank was to change its home page to what it looked like in 1999. Interestingly, there isn’t much that has changed for an online shopper in the past 15+ years. Not just on Amazon – the way you navigate, find and buy products on shopping sites in general has not really evolved with the way our digital lifestyles have changed.
Given that we now use a mobile phone as our primary gateway for all things online, we invariably discover products we love on a variety of apps that are not necessarily e-commerce apps. It could be a pair of killer heels on Vogue or a nice lamp shade on Houzz, or even an interesting recipe on Epicurious. The following observations are of particular importance while discussion the modern shopping experience:
A large number of lifestyle purchases today do not originate in a planned shopping mission on a shopping app, but in an inspired moment on some other app.
There is room for only a handful of shopping apps on a mobile phone, while the digital consumer has unlimited choice of products.
From a shopper’s point of view, one should be able to instantly purchase these products right from the apps that inspired a shopping moment, and be able to do so with minimal friction. There should be no need to tap away to different apps/sites and fill multiple billing and shipping forms. This kind of purchasing must elegantly extend the current app experience, rather than take one away from it as today’s dysfunctional banner ads do.
From a retailers’ point of view, a ‘buy-now’ button should enable them to set up a personalized storefront and deliver their unique sales and service experience right on these apps that inspired a purchase. Essentially, own the customer relationship in a pop up shop on any app. Delivery of such distributed storefronts requires:
organising product information for better discovery by shoppers on any app
a purchase interface that remotely mirrors the retailer’s checkout on any app
Not an easy task given the sheer number of apps out there, and the diversity of catalogues across shopping sites. Retailers and App developers clearly cannot scale this model by building point-to-point interfaces.
The Shortlyst platform (from Shopalyst Inc) elegantly addresses this challenge – for shoppers as well as retailers. A simple SDK integration can now set up instant storefronts on any app, and users can complete purchases from all retailers using a universal shopping cart. The platform integrates with e-tailer platforms with zero effort or cost to them, and extends their reach beyond the installed user base of their own apps.
In beta now, Shortlyst is integrated with top online shopping sites in India and makes more than 10 million SKUs instantly shoppable on any app. Apps across categories – lifestyle, news, entertainment, chat and social commerce are integrating native commerce leveraging the platform.
This model truly democratises digital commerce – now a developer, a blogger, a fashionista, a wine aficionado, a technophile can all curate, inspire and sell products to their audiences. This is the kind of shopping that today’s digital consumers want.
Coming soon to an app on your mobile phone.