What are Edge Storefronts?

February 16, 2023

We recently published a blog introducing shopping at the edge and discussing the opportunities and challenges that come along with this new form of eCommerce.

With this article, we will dive deeper into the challenges of edge shopping and how brands can use edge storefronts to help overcome these pain points.

The problem

As we covered in our previous post, the biggest challenge facing brands when it comes to customers shopping at the edge is when customers click through to the brand site. According to our research, 86% of online shoppers have experienced difficulties when clicking through to the brand site from social media. 

Brands need to urgently address this so-called “hard landing” that consumers are experiencing when shopping with social in order to reduce bounce rates, ensure repeat customers, and boost revenue. Traffic landing on the Product Detail Page from the edge suffers a 72% higher bounce rate and a 50% lower conversion rate than any other page on the website. 

Many of the pain points experienced by customers in the migration are due to technical problems, such as broken links, stock issues, or slow loading times. However, there is another, less obvious problem that brands should be aware of — intent. Every touchpoint is different. Every campaign is different. And every campaign attracts customer with a wide variety of intents. No wonder directing all these different traffic types to the same page doesn't get great results. 

Brand storefront image

Product Detail Pages (PDPs) are most often built with a very specific intent in mind: to facilitate a purchase for customers navigating down the funnel from the homepage. PDPs tend to have some brief information about the product, a few images, and a link to the checkout. On the surface, this seems like a perfectly reasonable way to design a PDP. And under the right circumstances, it is. The problem comes when we introduce edge shopping.

Customers who begin their shopping journey at the edge are more often than not coming from social media. Our State of Social Commerce report revealed that 61% of shoppers think that social media is a great place for product discovery. In other words, their intent is not necessarily to make a purchase but instead to browse and see if anything takes their fancy.

In practice, this means that shoppers are looking for engaging, creative, and relevant content on social that promotes discovery. There is then a disconnect when a customer finds a product they are interested in and clicks through to a sparse PDP on the brand site, designed only to push them toward the checkout as quickly as possible.

Brands need to find a way to close this experience gap between social discovery and brand site checkout in order to make the migration as seamless as possible and reduce bounce rates. This is where edge storefronts come in.

What are edge storefronts?

Edge storefronts are shopping experiences that blend content from the edge with the checkout process. They provide a frictionless shopping experience by extending the social content across the storefront and linking in to backend eCommerce services to make posts fully shoppable.

The integration between the aspirational, social content that caught the customer’s attention initially and the more functional, information-heavy PDPs on the brand site mitigates the experience gap felt when moving from socials to brand sites.

To note here, edge storefronts are not the same as landing pages. Instead, as the name implies, they are full storefronts designed to take the customer from the initial point of interest all the way through to purchase.

How does a typical edge storefront function?

On the whole, edge storefronts will have a home page, plus category and product pages. All of these pages will be tied into the eCommerce backend services and the page’s content. This creates a familiar environment for those coming from social but one that is fully shoppable.

Edge storefronts differ from traditional eCommerce pages in two main ways. They are:

  • Tailored to the needs of the channel
  • Continuously optimized — updating in real-time alongside promotions, new posts, and optimized by Artificial Intelligence to minimize bounce rates and maximize conversions. 

This allows edge storefronts to deal with differing levels of intent and soften the landing on PDPs. Once a customer is ready to make a purchase, the checkout is powered by the eCommerce platform, rather than the social platform.

What are the benefits of edge storefronts?

Now we’ve looked at exactly what edge storefronts are and how they function, let’s explore some of the benefits for brands that come with these types of storefronts.

1. Drive new revenue streams from the edge 

As already mentioned, edge storefronts are designed to handle different levels of intent. This means that those customers who are coming from social media are not funneled straight toward the checkout, whilst those who just want to make a purchase can do so quickly and easily.

This in turn helps to convert initial interest into concrete revenue by streamlining the purchase process and removing the hard landing of being taken to a PDP not designed for discovery. 

2. Provide customers with highly engaging experiences at the edge

The blend of creative social content and eCommerce backend systems also enhances the user experience for shoppers at every stage of the customer journey. Edge storefronts are an all-in-one solution that makes social content fully shoppable.

In our previous post, we mentioned how the vast majority of customers prefer to checkout on the brand site and not on the social platform where they discovered the product. The problem lies in the migration to the brand site. But with edge storefronts, brands are able to mitigate this problem, while enhancing user experience.

Edge storefronts provide the ease and transparency of checking out on the brand site, while still retaining the more social nature of the content that hooked the customer in the first place. This improves customer experience and reduces bounce rates, in turn leading to more sales.

3. Reduce customer acquisition cost

One of the main problems for brands with shoppers completing purchases on social platforms is that they are unable to capture customer data. This then makes it very difficult to retarget customers and drive repeat purchases.

Using an edge storefront allows customers to check out at the edge but, since the storefront is tied to the eCommerce platform backend, it also allows brands to capture customer data. This fact alone can reduce the customer acquisition cost by 20%.

Additionally, given that customers are purchasing directly from the brand rather than from the social platform, there is far more transparency regarding returns and refund policies, once again improving the user experience.

Are you looking to build an edge storefront and optimize your social commerce strategy? Get in touch with SimplicityDX today to find out how we can help!

Read more about our insights on social commerce:

What is shopping at the edge?

What is Social Commerce? The Top 8 Reasons Brands Need It

eCommerce Profitability is Driven by Digital Customer Experience

Shopping at The Edge – The New eCommerce Reality

Promotions at The Edge: How Promotions Cause eCommerce Shopping Experiences to Break

SimplicityDX Publishes 2022 State of Social Commerce Impact Study

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