4th June, 2010
In the past this has always been the question. Over the last few years however, ecommerce has been exploding in popularity and technology. It is just as easy, if not easier to hop on your computer and do your shopping rather than visiting an actual store. In the past, shopping online has not always been the easiest, especially if the store you are looking for doesn't have a website! But today, its safe to say, that any mainstream store, especially retail, will have the majority if not all of their products online for your shopping enjoyment.
The topic of this blog however is not what stores do or don't have online stores. Our focus is what stores have made the transition from retail to online, and have kept the overall shopping experience fabulous! Our top fives stores are Express, Boarders, Metropark, Victoria's Secret and WetSeal. These stores have all stayed unique to their own styles and have crossed over from awesome brick and mortar locations to easy and fun to use online shops.
Express is number one on our list because they are a leader in both social media and in store service. Shopping on their website is almost more fun than shopping in the store, but I can say as an avid express shopper, either way you go you will have a good experience. We can also thank Express's online social media presence @ExpressLisaG for daily fashion inspirations on Twitter as well as tons of online coupons, discount codes and fun contests throughout their site and Facebook page!
Boarders is next on our list for best in store and online shopping experience. Unfortunately when shopping online you can't enjoy a wonderful beverage from their cafe, but you can interact with them on Facebook, Twitter, read their Blog, and shop through thousands of products very easily. Boarders provides a very easy to use site navigation system as well as weekly deals, rewards and other interactive media.
Metropark takes the number three spot on our list, because they are one of the fastest growing and most interactive ecommerce companies. When you walk into a MP store, it's almost identical as entering their site. Great music, huge TV monitors with live Twitter feed, Facebook posts, magazine ads, stylish window displays, you name it and they have it. Their online store is definitely top of the list, it offers cool shopping tools such as wishlists, lookbooks, a built in radio, contest and giveaways, tons of artwork and info on each brand they carry. Whether you visit the site or an actual retail store, you will be ready for the clubs in no time!
VS is another example of a wonderful in store and online experience. They are known for impeccable service in their stores as well as their risque/can't peel your eyes away window displays. Being an avid shopper and Angel cardholder, I can honestly say this is one of my favorite stores to shop at. VS utilizes their online following to spread sale information as well as promote their fashion events and conduct polls. Their Facebook page is a model page in that it highlights all the important website and store information, as well as makes it super easy for fans to interact and see all the new products! In addition to a great site and Facebook page, VS has another great go to site called VSAllCccess.com where you can go to see behind the scenes videos, interviews with the angels, and other photo shoots and fashion shows. And don't worry men, unlike the real stores you are allowed to go anywhere you want!
Wetseal is our number five spot on the list. This is a company that has nailed their target demographic and has utilized social technology to the max. From their bright and colorful stores to their jam packed Myspace and Facebook pages, everywhere you look you see celebrities and regular teens rocking their hot styles. WS has gone a step further and has created a virtual runway program that allows teens across the country to create outfits and share them with the entire iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad community. The application is called iRunway and is totally free. You can create and watch the videos on your mobile device as well as on the Virtual Runway tab on the WS Facebook page. This technology has definitely been an inspiration in the world of social commerce and makes interacting with these guys just as fun online as going to one of their stores!
What are your favorite online stores, and do they have retail locations as well? What makes a great online store... and what makes a great brick and mortar store? We would love to know! Leave us a comment here on the blog, or @strandsrecs !