Innovation On The Cheap

Many retailers look at their online channel as just another mode to complete a sale.  But that’s a low yield strategy.  Smart retailers use their online channels to do things that are either extremely expensive or impossible offline.  And the smartest ones execute ideas that are brilliant AND inexpensive.

Ever since discovering eyebuydirect.com through getelastic.com I’ve considered their Wall of Frame a brilliant example of how an online store can be used to do something entirely new.  The best way to convince a customer to buy from you online is to demonstrate how it benefits THEM.  Everyone talks about price advantages and better service blah blah but Wall of Frame is something tangible, something the customer can compare with how they shop offline and see a clear benefit.

What impresses even more is discovering a competitor who sees Wall of Frame, realizes they cannot compete on execution but manages to find a cost effective workaround that seems to work just as well.

That retailer would be Debby Burk Optical.  They’ve created something new with the help of Skype.  If a customer has a Skype account they can make a frame selection and have a Debby Burk associate wear and demo it through Skype video conferencing.  The idea is not fool proof: everyone does not have Skype and just because a frame looks good on a model does not mean it will work for the customer.  Someone who has seen Wall of Frame will remain unimpressed but Debby Burk is making an intelligent bet most of their customers have no idea what Wall of Frame is.  For them seeing Skype is a quantum leap.  Best of all, adding Skype did not require additional development costs.

A year from now if Debby Burk sees Skype interactions increase conversions 10% they can take supplemental income and reinvest it to build their own Wall of Frame.

Related article: SeeCommerce

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