E-commerce experts: Delight your customers and they will delight you with sales

On the web, the kings of commerce are all about driving a sale. Amazon can find and sell you the exact product you are looking for in under a minute, creating an experience that is convenient, fast and affordable.

A panel of e-commerce experts said at the Gigaom Roadmap conference today that there is room for more types of shopping experiences. Jess Lee, CEO of shopping site Polyvore, said a shift from searching to browsing has occurred. People have become more accustomed to shopping online, spending time looking at goods they don’t necessarily need but have fun looking at.

As a result, a new generation of websites has cropped up to provide them with a shopping experience more personal than what Amazon provides.

“Now, commerce companies are really able to create experiences for their consumers,” Forerunner Ventures founding partner Kirsten Green said. “There is a path to closing a transaction that has become a dynamic and engaging experience.”

Ilana Stern, CEO of wedding party group shopping site Weddington Way, said the company is careful to connect with customers physically, too, by sending them fabric swatches early on in their wedding planning process. Helping people discover products that interest them and personalization are also important to the shopping experience.

Weddington Way and Polyvore are both designed to be highly social, allowing people to connect with their friends over goods. Lee said that Polyvore is so based on user-created content that without the social networks that grew out of word of mouth advertising, the site would have nothing.

“You really have to delight the user. You have to build something they want to tell their friends about,” Lee said.

Check out the rest of our Roadmap 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page