Open for Commerce?
My 5 year old daughter loves this app on her iPad - it's called Endless Closet, and essentially lets her outfit her virtual Barbie doll. She often surprises me with her creative ensembles, and her vivid explanations about her choice of colors and accessories. Her birthday's coming up, and her ask this time is simple - she wants everything from the latest look she's created on the app so that she can look just like Barbie!
How cool it'd be if the same app would tell me that the red dress she's chosen is from the Lime Soda collection at Pumpkin Patch, and those octopus hairclips are from Gymboree and the peep toes are from Gap Kids! And, what if I could shop for all of these right there within the app, and pay for it with one click? Sadly, none of this is possible today despite the fact that there is really no technological limitation to create an experience like this.
The problem, I think, lies in the way e-commerce businesses are modeled today - it is largely a virtual replication of their successful brick-n-mortal counterparts. And that's a shame. Every day digital experiences today provide enough opportunity to discover (not search) and indulge (not shop) in a natural way. And that is the power of the digital world. Barely harnessed.
The Endless Closet app could very well have sourced product catalogs from various brands. By enabling a personalized visual merchandising experience, the app stands a better chance of creating a commerce opportunity. And by making it easy to checkout without having to visit three sites, the path from browse-to-buy is shortened.
It is this kind of commerce that today's digital consumers are ready for. Are online retailers Open for Commerce yet?