Practising Continuous Commerce™ means exercising a certain level of persistence. Customers are now able to make purchases at any point in their normal daily routine, from sitting at their computer to waiting in line at the coffee shop. They’re now accustomed to anytime, everywhere access to information, services and, yes, purchasing.
This dynamic form of eCommerce means more opportunities for brands, as well. In addition to increased potential for conversion, continuous commerce also offers more chances for branded moments—where companies can deepen their relationship with customers. This is something that brands like Patagonia understand and unleash across all consumer touchpoints. Here are a few examples of how we leveraged insights that are uniquely Patagonia and used them as filters for everything we did.
Job #1 for any brand is to distance yourself from your competitors by clearly communicating what makes you different. For Patagonia, this means authenticity — an all-in commitment to preserving the wild world, and to manufacturing gear designed to meet the most needs of the most demanding climbers, surfers and skiers.
Patagoniacs have a very personal relationship with the brand. They can smell phoniness, and are quick to call it out. On Patagonia.com, we display this authenticity from the moment our customers hit the homepage — with stunning photography of athletes experiencing the natural world using Patagonia gear. Since people who live these adventures capture the vast majority of these photos, they are always accompanied with credits—as are the wildly popular Notes from the Field essays within every print catalog. While this may seem a relatively insignificant addition, it clearly adds to the authenticity of the brand—and demonstrates an attention to detail and transparency that is woven into the entire experience.
These authentic moments are not limited to great photography or writing. The digital channel adds a dimension to brand storytelling that other types of content lack. The Tin Shed e-zine, for example, is a dynamic and interactive microsite inspired by the tiny outbuilding in which Yvon Chouinard started his piton company in the late 1960s. The shed’s interior is photographed as it looks today, out behind corporate headquarters in Ventura, California. The multimedia interface places visitors in the middle of the room, and 360-degree technology allows them to turn and face each wall. Interactive objects and preview panels hint at the dozens of videos, images and articles from the latest dispatches from Patagonia ambassadors around the globe. While the primary goal of the environment was to engage and inspire visitors without distraction, they also could find links to share and visit the product catalog at any point.
Patagonia has long been an industry leader when it comes to social and environmental responsibility. Corporate transparency is a significant part of that commitment, which leads to self-examination and improvement. In addition to supporting dozens of ongoing CSR initiatives, the company encourages employees to spend a month of every year volunteering for causes they believe in, and gives 1% of sales to support environmental organizations around the world. So when designing the user experience for Patagonia.com, we knew not to bury this content in some corner of the About Us page. It had to live front and center, in the primary navigation.
And when an important issue or piece of news needed to be broadcast, we were prepared to take over the landing page entirely. In the Footprint Chronicles, visitors are invited to take an unprecedented tour of the environmental and social impacts inevitably involved in the garment-manufacturing process. And as a brand that seeks to do “the least harm,” we launched the Common Threads Initiative with eBay, encouraging consumers to buy gear that’s already made or sell gear they no longer use—thus creating the best possible ending in a product’s life cycle.
By continuing to look to Patagonia’s core values, we were able to successfully connect the dots between retail, catalog and online. As emerging technologies present new and better ways to shop, they also offer chances to create eCommerce experiences that contribute to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the brand.