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.