Table of Contents
- What is discovery ecommerce?
- Advantages of discovery ecommerce
- Types of discovery ecommerce
- Tips to boost your discovery commerce strategy
- Channels for driving product discovery
Ecommerce has come to fill a gap for a shopping option not available in physical stores: that is, finding just what you're looking for at any time, anywhere.
It’s no secret, however, that ecommerce has also ended up replicating many traditional sales secrets: such as, how to take advantage of the fact that consumers often don’t know exactly what they want, and that they’ll go shopping just to browse, to find surprises and be tempted to buy on impulse.
In the last few years, a wave of digital commerce has developed that is already very popular among users: shopping activity based on spontaneity, novelty and discovery.
What is discovery commerce?
Discovery commerce is an online sales method based on guiding the buyer towards a product.
Discovery shopping, on the other hand, is where a user visits websites or marketplaces without a defined purpose. This buyer isn’t looking for a specific product, but is open to being pleasantly surprised by exploring an online catalog or receiving suggestions.
Discovery commerce is the equivalent of 'I'm feeling lucky' in Google searches. While the main effort of an ecommerce strategy is aimed at efficiently meeting specific needs of the consumer, discovery commerce draws on the custom of strolling through a store, browsing shelves without intention to buy... until the perfect product catches your eye.
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Product discovery: the key to digital shopping
Discovery commerce opens the way for one of the most difficult goals of ecommerce: product discovery.
Guiding a potential buyer to find the product they are looking for in an online store or marketplace, is more difficult than it first appears. The reason why consumers don't succeed in this is often due to their confusion or impatience when browsing categories and subcategories on a website, or using its filters and internal search engine systems.
Discovery commerce is based on a system that’s more user friendly: making a wide range of filters available to define your search. To this end, it’s been necessary to extend and enrich the product information in catalogs, with the addition of more attributes than used to be published by brands and retailers until a few years ago.
Product information management (PIM) software has made it easy to edit, update and connect this increasingly complex and demanding product data, for the benefit of teams of manufacturers, retailers and distributors.
The color and size of a coat is no longer enough: the buyer needs to search and filter by fabric, print, length, even formal or sports style, before finding the perfect coat in your catalog. And this has to happen efficiently and accurately, which will then translate into increased digital sales.
→ Don’t miss out: Why PIM is the future of ecommerce
Advantages of discovery ecommerce
More potential customers
There is a much greater chance that a consumer will discover your brand or product if they browse a marketplace using filters and categories. This is the commonest and most successful way for new buyers to reach brands, especially those that are small or less well known.
Many users rely more on a marketplace than on business websites. According to a Walker study, in their shopping experience, by 2020 consumers will place more value on having a good selection of brands than on the price or the product itself.
Finding and trying out your products can lead users to taking an interest in your brand and learning about your company and the rest of your catalog, which will attract more traffic to your own sales channels and social networks. It will be an excellent opportunity to capture leads and apply your retargeting strategy.
Having your products in a marketplace or catalog with a good filter system will allow you to analyze which products are the most popular in terms of searches.
It’s not only your best sellers that buyers will discover: this is also a great opportunity for you to sell new products or items that would otherwise go unnoticed. This is where cross-selling strategies come in, that will enable your shoppers to discover products through categories of best-sellers, trending, related, frequently purchased by other consumers, and other such suggestions.
→ Read more: How to make the most of your inventory strategy
Types of discovery commerce
This is the fundamental basis of ecommerce: to provide a fast and efficient shopping experience so that the user finds just what they’re looking for. This style of shopping more often occurs where practical items or basic necessities are concerned, such as the weekly food shop or a particular size of screw.
In this bracket, the discovery of a product must be agile and straightforward, so that the buyer can easily compare variants at a glance.
New or non-essential products
On the other hand, there’s another style of shopping in which the most valued aspect is the shopping experience — finding new products and browsing non-essential categories. This type of discovery commerce is the one that comes closest to shopping for pleasure — wandering through stores until you come across a bargain to snap up or that ‘ideal’ article you might buy on the spur of the moment.
Bear in mind, that these two types are interchangeable. Depending on the brand’s purpose or the buyer's needs, a product can be classed as either essential or luxury, such as a table wine or an expensive bottle.
Tips to boost your discovery commerce
When it comes to making it easier for users to discover products as simply and accurately as possible, websites and marketplaces need to take a number of considerations into account:
- More attributes to be included: This allows shoppers to choose the filters they want and mix them as they wish. It’s essential for brands and retailers to ensure they’re providing consistent attributes across all channels, by keeping good control over their product data using a PIM. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t include too many attributes, so as to avoid overwhelming the user or making their search too complicated.
- Optimized internal searches: It’s important that keywords should be checked and the website optimized so that shoppers will find results even if they misspell their search terms.
- A clean search system: It should be easy to choose the desired filters, view the results, and prevent pages from being completely reloaded every time the user changes a filter.
- Category pages: These should be created as they can be very useful for the shopper to discover new releases, popular items, products recommended for special occasions, Christmas gift guides, etc., by section. Furthermore, a good system of categories will favor the visibility of a website in search engines.
- A combination of cross-sell and upsell: Discovery commerce can be applied to recommend related products as well as other, better variants of a given product. It encourages this type of search and purchase through pop-up windows, notifications or widgets in the online experience, but without overdoing it.
→ Also of interest: How to launch new products in your catalog
Channels for driving product discovery
As we’ve already mentioned, discovery commerce works on branded websites, online stores and marketplaces such as Amazon, ASOS, Zalando, AliExpress, Google Shopping...
But there are more channels where you can apply discovery strategy to your potential buyers:
- Social media: Publications using images, especially on platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest or TikTok, are great for arousing the curiosity of users. A photo showing several products, for example of a decorated living-room or a selection of cosmetics, or of an influencer showing a sponsorship range, make it easier for customers to discover products in line with their taste, as well as new brands.
- Video: Very similar to the above, as YouTube has made 'unboxing' videos popular, that is, of people showing different products within a given category as recommendations or as a buying guide.
- Visual search: This will be the star technology of the next few years. Having products recognized via an image will allow users to discover other similar items, for which it’s of key importance for the ecommerce company to monitor the quality of their product photos and their optimization of files in order to appear in search results.
- Voice search: Same as the above, but generated from searches performed by voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa or Google Echo.
- Conversational commerce: More and more users will trust the suggestions of bots in an online store’s chats, for which sophisticated software such as IBM's Watson or Microsoft's Luis must be used.
- Boxes: This is the system that made the term 'discovery commerce' fashionable. It involves thematic monthly subscriptions, in which the shopper pays a flat fee to receive, delivered to their home, a box with a selection of products that they have not chosen directly. The ecommerce platform is responsible for deciding on the contents, so it’s an excellent way to advertise brands and get new and loyal customers based on their having sampled a product.
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Discovery commerce increases sales possibilities and improves brand exposure.
Yet it also complicates the future.
Consumer attention is becoming increasingly variable, there is less loyalty, and retailers and marketplaces will rotate products and brands frequently, in search of the most successful.
Having good information available on both product and materials is the key to success, whether in attracting attention in this competitive landscape, meeting the customer’s search term requirements, or being well prepared for new technologies that will soon arrive on the scene, such as conversational commerce or visual search.
PIM software is the most versatile tool for advancing in discovery commerce, from the particular to the spectacular! It will allow you to expand and improve your product content (making your catalog richer and easier to consult), keep all of your sales channels synchronized, and of course improve your positioning on Google.
The Sales Layer PIM will achieve all this and more for you: try it for yourself in this free 30-day demo and discover your new, must-have asset.