E-commerce: Experiential Marketing

A common traditional definition of marketing is the managerial and social process aimed at satisfying needs through processes of creation and exchange of products and services. The traditional approach consider the consumer as a rational being that purchases a product or a service because of a particular need and exchanges a certain amount of money according to the attributes and benefits of this product or service.

A new definition of marketing could be the creation of needs in the mind of consumers based on their emotions and desires. The value given to the product or service purchased is not anymore dictated by its quality, but by the overall experience.

Consumption in post-modern society:

We transitioned from a primary consumption to a superfluous consumption. Nowadays, we purchase products or services for our pleasure or for their symbolic value and this is why we purchasing certain things according to the brand that provides them. We attach emotional and symbolic value to brands.

Consumption is not only a commercial but mainly a cultural phenomenon. In postmodern society, interrelations between meanings, messages, perceptions around products are being studied. We communicate by consuming, as any language consumption has its own stable features that allow us to understand it but it also changes over time. By our consumption we communicate something to other people, like who we are, our lifestyle, etc.

As a result of competitive pressure, products became so “mature” and similar to each other that the market cannot distinguish between different brands any more, the price battle is not anymore an option, and new entrants have to battle using the experience dimension.

Online experience economy

When you sell an experience, you are in the most differentiate position compared to competition. Great experiences have the competitive advantages to recruits new customers, make them loyal, increases their willingness to pay more, make them speak about your brand around them. It creates a positive brand’s image and differentiate it from competitors.

Many of our experiences happen online, technologies design our experiences and our entire customer journey is a mix of online and offline experiences. Technologies, both online and offline, can make the experience smoother, engaging, social, convenient, fast, and immersive. Gartner predicts 81% of all purchases in 2020 will be based on customer experience and this is largely due to the boom of e-commerce.

Now you are certainly wondering “But how to create an online experience?”. Here are some concrete examples that can inspire you:

  • Using virtual or augmented reality. These technologies can offer innovative and creative experiences that can be both useful and exciting for consumers. An example of surprising use is Amazon, which created an experience in virtual reality that takes customers on virtual hot air balloon rides. An example of a useful and entertaining way of using the virtual reality has been given by IKEA that uses it to help customers create a kitchen exactly how they imagine it before purchasing the different products.


  • Using Chatbots. They allow a 24/7 service for customers, helping with any of their request instantly. For example, one customer does not know how to change his mobile phone plans on the website? He can simply ask to the chatbot and receive an efficient and polite answer directly without having to go to any shop or to wait at the phone to try to reach an assistant.


  • Using Customer Relationship Management. With this tool businesses can stock and keep updating customer profiles, which they have to use to build personalized experiences. To adapt the communication and the products’ suggestions according to one’s particular previous purchasing behaviour and life style. Customers will feel unique and considered by the company, an emotional connection will be more easily established.


  • Engaging the 5 senses. The more sensory is an experience, the more memorable it will be –a single sensory cue can evoke an experience after years. Using one or more of the five senses can be a powerful tool to create a strong desire of something and an impulsive purchase. For example if you sell coffee you should try to use a picture in which we can see smoke coming out of a cup of coffee, so it can suggest in the subconscious of the customer the feeling of drinking a hot coffee and the smell of it around them.

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