As much as consumers love the convenience of digital commerce, there is no purchasing certainty when they shop online for products they haven’t experienced in person. Is this cashmere sweater well made? Does this sofa fit in the living room? Is this lipstick shade flattering? It’s all guesswork and crossed fingers until the product shows up on the doorstep, and people can actually see for themselves.
Brands have tried to solve for this missing link. But product videos, influencer partnerships and generous return policies are not enough. The perceptual divide between physical and digital could cost sales growth opportunities in product categories that consumers buy online today. Brands are also missing out on expanding sales in categories like automotive and luxury that don’t sell well online because people are wary to buy these products from a distance. Yet with consumers more open to buying more categories online in the wake of COVID-19, the pressure is on brands to bridge this divide now.