With the strange economic shock unleashed by Covid-19 now starting to materialise, the fortunes of some companies operating in Japan, show how e-commerce is adapting to fill a void left by physical retail.

This is according to the Nikkei Asian Review, which has looked into the acceleration of online shopping from a place for small simple purchases and toward more expensive, highly considered purchases.

Effectively, what some companies are doing well in Japan – a country with high levels of internet literacy, even among senior audiences – is replicating touchpoints that help to convey the quality of the experience, the Review states.

For instance, the British car marque, Jaguar, has seen the first signs of fruition from an extensive digital transformation project to consolidate its inventory across the country on its website. When customers find the model that suits them, they can then move to an online meeting with a sales representative on Zoom.

“As attracting customers at real shops has become increasingly difficult, we want to eliminate barriers between real shops and online,” said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, other firms are illustrating how digital media can be a route for the personal touch. To solve the problem of declining retail footfall at the beginning of the pandemic, Factelier, an apparel and accessory retailer, began to meet with customers on the messaging service, Line, to offer a free concierge service.

While it is costly to provide personalised experiences at scale, the effort has shifted conversion rates. From a 30% hit rate among customers that set foot in a shop, around 90% of customers who use the concierge service go on to buy.

Ultimately, most digitised versions of personal experiences are going to be strange at first, and difficult to do, but as people become more used to large parts of their lives taking place online, e-commerce is set to follow.

Sourced from Nikkei Asian Review