In the past year, online pure players and DTC brands have seen unparalleled growth and opportunity to provide tailored experiences and convenient amenities to appease rapidly evolving shopper expectations. “During the pandemic, direct-to-consumer brands with thriving eCommerce experiences were able to very quickly and easily pivot their marketing and messaging, their energy,” says Hana Abaza, Shopify Plus’ global director of marketing. “They didn’t have to fundamentally rethink their business model. They could focus on very different things because they were at a significant advantage.” During a time where brick and mortar retailers were forced to shut their doors, DTC brands continued to collect first-party data and apply it to improve operations and reach their shoppers with targeted messaging.

However, in the months that followed, clear benefits to in-store shopping quickly took center stage in shoppers’ and retailers’ minds. No matter how quick and convenient e-commerce became, a gap remained in the shopper journey- one that only brick and mortar could fill. E-commerce brands would never be able to replicate the emotional connection that shoppers make with new products by touching and testing them in-store (especially in cosmetics and FMCG). Shoppers still craved an experience that was focused on more than just a transaction.

In reality, though, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar are not in competition, and some of the most successful brands have realized that the best retail strategy is one where the two channels feed each other. So how can digitally native brands without storefronts compete? And how can brick and mortar retailers retarget their shoppers after they leave the store? The answer is simple: by implementing one of the oldest and most powerful product marketing tools (product sampling) to devise a unified commerce strategy.

Outform delivers an unrivaled opportunity to brands, retailers, and consumers with its latest product solution. PodDrop is a product discovery experience that allows shoppers to sample new products and connect with brands. Through the simple scan of a QR code, shoppers share their contact information, and PodDrop dispenses single product samples, introducing shoppers to new products and connecting them to new brands who can retarget them in the future via email, text message, or online ads.

With PodDrop, e-commerce brands can offer new shoppers the same surprise and delight that they are excited about receiving in-store without a brick-and-mortar location. A truly unified commerce experience, shoppers are introduced to new brands, sample new products at no risk, and buy online in the future. PodDrop takes the best parts of brick and mortar and merges it with the convenience and data power of online shopping to deliver the future of retail and product sampling.

Essentially, brands who are focused on doing more than just selling products will rise amongst their competitors to meet their shoppers at any channel, anywhere, anytime. By combining the power of data collected online with the invaluable in-store experience, brands will be able to provide their shoppers with the ultimate unified commerce experience.


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