This year was one for the ecommerce history books. While the pandemic swept the world, nearly everything was unpredictable. The economy, the supply chain, the innovation, the daily lives of consumers, and how long it was all going to last were the topics burning in many of the minds across the industry. But perhaps one of the most unexpected plots of 2021 is how ferociously the ecommerce industry continues to grow.
A boom at the beginning of 2020 seemed typical. An uptick in online shopping was surely going to go hand in hand with at-home orders, a raging pandemic, and a survivor-type urge to stockpile goods for a little peace of mind. The real shock and awe comes, though, as this trend toward shopping online has only kept chugging along.
This unanticipated boon of ecommerce has forced nearly every part of the industry to evolve sooner than forecasted. (We’ve all heard the phrase “a decade of growth condensed into one!” already, yeah?) From shipping infrastructure to on-site user experience to flexible payment processing, getting goods online is unrecognizable from just a couple years ago.
Advancement hasn’t just been an unspoken mandate for the shopping experience, though. It’s also been a long overdue desire for the post-purchase experience. Brands have been scrambling for ways to enhance experiences, prolong engagement, and stand out in crowding competition. Consumers have been crying out for more personalization, more support, and more authentic care and empathy from the brands they buy.
So while the pandemic pushed shopping into the future, it also put a spotlight on an outdated and forgotten post-purchase experience—and how literally everyone wants it to evolve.
People want a post-purchase revolution, and Route Connect Proved it
Route has been building the post-purchase platform of the future. For the past few years, we’ve known something needed to be done about everything that happens after the checkout in order to bring it into the 21st century. And while we had a hunch that a platform focused on the post-purchase experience was just the ticket, we are continuously shocked by how much desire actually exists.
In 2021, we hosted our inaugural Route Connect event: a hybrid of recorded digital panels and in-person speakers wrapped into a one-day event. Folks could log in and watch pre-recorded and live sessions while ecommerce VIPs were specially invited to attend the live portion in-person. (In a dream world, this could’ve been a much larger live event, but we’re still playing things relatively safe with the pandemic.)
Route Connect was an event envisioned to be all about, you guessed it, connection. Connection between brands forging a new path for ecommerce. Connection between shoppers and sellers. Connection between the post-purchase experience and everything that takes place before it.
The post-purchase experience, in essence, is all about connection. It’s not an instant conversion. Or, in other words, there typically isn’t a big, fast payoff for investing in the PPX since there’s no “buy” button in a tracking email. So, if it’s not about a fast purchase, what is it?
The post-purchase experience should be about earning trust and building relationships with customers. It’s about making the wait between purchase and delivery easier, calmer, and more delightful. But for so long, it’s been overlooked and disregarded by brands as they pump budgets into finding new customers and enhancing their website. But enough is enough. It’s time to use the post-purchase journey to actually bring joy to customers. And we aren’t the only ones who think so.
More than 20 brands contributed their thoughts and strategies about ecommerce connection with us over the course of nine sessions. Connect attendees could log onto the event early in the day to watch seven pre-recorded sessions that rolled seamlessly into the live-streaming of the final two sessions. In-person attendees came to see these brands up close, rub elbows with forward-thinkers in the flesh, and enjoy some food and bevvies to boot.
How did Route Connect come together?
The entire campaign to round up registrants happened through a multi-week campaign of email sequences, social posts, ads, sponsorships, and a slick landing page. By targeting ecommerce brands and connections through social media and email sequences sent to unique segments, we were able to tug on the hearts of like-minded brands.
The in-person event took place at the cozy and artful Creator House in New York City, which set the perfect branded backdrop for intimate connection. Route-branded cocktails were served, and two on-site shopping screens were set alongside the bar where guests could shop (for free) from the brands that made Route Connect possible.
We teamed with thriving brand founders who are leading the way when it comes to the ecommerce experience and creating a customer relationship that aligns with modern desires.
They formed panels targeting the most popular topics around brand building and what it takes to foster authentic relationships today. Some of the best insights and tactics were gleaned throughout all 5 hours of the event, and everyone walked away with a broader network or new ideas to take back to their brand.
Route Connect Strikes a Chord with Ecommerce Brands
The idea behind Route Connect clearly struck a chord with ecommerce brands, marketers, strategists, and innovators. There’s a craving for connection that’s gone unquenched in the post-purchase journey, and this event was just the tip of the iceberg in realizing the full need.
For our first-ever hybrid event, we were able to set a foundation for what the ecommerce community likes, wants, and looks forward to for future events. The proof that this was an important conversation for so many brands is in the pudding. Er, the numbers.
Digital registrants: 2,237
In-Person attendees: 414
Landing Page Conversion Rate: 10.4%
Total emails sent by Route: >170K
Influenced pipeline to date: $2.8M
People are hungry for better connection with customers. Ecommerce brands are well aware that earning a customer (and their loyalty) is no longer just a game of gimmicks, offers, or low prices.
People are making buying decisions and devoting their loyalty to brands that give them the best experience, including all the stuff that happens after they hand over their money.
The pandemic has made it clear that, especially in uncertain times or universal tragedy, brands with a heart and soul will be the ones to prosper even in trying times. Innovating the entire ecommerce experience to show more care and support to every customer is what’s next for online shopping.
And if anyone was wondering whether or not what was a scratch that needed to be itched, Route Connect was a real-life display that it truly is.