A lit­tle less than two years ago, Adobe rec­og­nized the mar­ket need to reimag­ine the shop­ping expe­ri­ence. In the begin­ning of the Web and online com­merce, mar­keters had visions of vir­tual real­ity worlds emu­lat­ing the phys­i­cal world shop­ping experience.

Many saw the poten­tial of sell­ing directly over the Inter­net and imag­ined immer­sive expe­ri­ences with video and other media that could tell a story of the brand and bring each prod­uct to life.

How­ever, we were con­nected to the Inter­net through a dial-up modem, with very lim­ited band­width. The fidelity of the Web browser was also sig­nif­i­cantly lim­ited, and graphic design­ers who were accus­tomed to print capa­bil­i­ties wanted pixel-perfect pre­ci­sion in their Web expe­ri­ences. What resulted was a database-driven shop­ping expe­ri­ence with a home, prod­uct cat­e­gory, prod­uct detail, cart, check­out, and account man­age­ment pages. Our brands and our amaz­ing prod­ucts were rel­e­gated to thumb­nail images.

Over time, as the band­width increased and the fidelity of the browser began to meet the expec­ta­tions of mar­keters and their graphic artist col­leagues, we made sub­tle yet still small improve­ments in this shop­ping expe­ri­ence. We added the abil­ity to zoom in on a prod­uct image to see it in more detail, and in some cases we have even taken advan­tage of video to show­case a prod­uct or set of products.

But all in all, our shop­ping expe­ri­ence is still typ­i­cally a page with rows and columns of thumb­nails that all link to a prod­uct detail page (PDP) that shows one prod­uct, often alone, on a white back­ground, with very lit­tle energy. At best, we have a mar­quee image above those rows and columns high­light­ing a prod­uct or two in their nat­ural setting.

Since the intro­duc­tion of the cat­a­log, mer­chan­dis­ers and mar­keters have all known that putting the prod­uct in con­text of its pur­pose best posi­tions it in the mind of the buyer and encour­age sales. A large home fur­nish­ing retailer doesn’t take pic­tures of din­ner plates and place them on each page in rows and columns. It has a photo shoot in a din­ing room, with a beau­ti­ful table, run­ner, glass­ware, table set­tings, a hutch in the back­ground, food on the table, and mod­els smil­ing and get­ting ready for a din­ner party.

The prod­ucts are in this image. They’re iden­ti­fied with small let­ters that are ref­er­enced some­where on the page list­ing the prod­uct name, descrip­tion, and price. This mer­chan­dis­ing helps to sell the din­ner plates. Yet, on the Web today, even with all the band­width and capa­bil­i­ties that we can deliver, through the mul­ti­tude of dig­i­tal devices we all use to con­nect to these expe­ri­ences, we almost always see rows and columns of prod­ucts, alone, against a white background.

Adobe believes the time has come. We have the band­width. We have the fidelity in every browser, and we have a mul­ti­tude of amaz­ing devices to engage with your brand and prod­ucts. The chal­lenge is to shift to experience-driven com­merce. Bring in the sto­ry­telling, amplify your brand, and, most impor­tantly, mer­chan­dise your prod­ucts. And in every set­ting, enable the prod­uct to be eas­ily added to the cart right from that point of inflec­tion when the cus­tomer is enam­ored with your offering.

Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, the foun­da­tion for reimag­in­ing the shop­ping expe­ri­ence, includes a com­merce inte­gra­tion frame­work to extend your exist­ing e-commerce invest­ment. With this open plat­form, we have also part­nered with lead­ing e-commerce soft­ware com­pa­nies to accel­er­ate this journey.

Today we’re excited to announce a new part­ner to this strat­egy: Elas­tic Path. Elas­tic Path has also rec­og­nized the need to enable com­pa­nies to shift the focus from price to brand loy­alty. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Adobe, the com­pany is now offer­ing the Elas­tic Path Edi­tion for Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, bring­ing this vision to life in a next-generation com­merce plat­form that enables com­pa­nies to lever­age the full Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud and the Elas­tic Path e-commerce solu­tion.

This post was pre­vi­ously posted on the Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing blog on March 11, 2014.