Much of what is charming about visiting a brick-and-mortar store has been lost in the translation to the web. When we started looking at it with design eyes, we found online shopping was unsatisfying for a host of reasons.
We were curious about what would happen if we tried applying the principles of an in-real-life store to one on the web. With our two webstore experiments, Owd Bob and Atioki, we tested a few of these principles.
In a floor store, when you go through looking for your sizes, you mess things up a bit. Your presence creates a change in the environment.
We like experimenting with creating presence on the web. For Atioki we sought to digitally mimic this “mess,” but in a way that was integrated with the function and purpose of the shopping experience.
So we developed a method of looking at the product from different angles with a kind of hover-triggered slide effect:
The images don’t return to their initial state, but rather stay as you left them. This provides the feeling and visual effect of ruffling the products and creating a ripple in the webstore.
Buy it, it’s gone
When you take a unique item off the shelf, it’s gone. It’s yours. The next person can’t have it.
This kind of transaction can be invigorating. We wanted to take it one step further in Atioki by leaving a trace. When you revisit the store, the item you purchased will be overlaid with grey. It’s your conquest. Others can see it, but they will never have it.
Anyone wandering the Internet abyss at 3:30am can wander to a webstore and make purchases. But it can feel as eerie and stale as wandering a department store at the same hour.
Where is the fun of the doors opening?
We wanted to test what would happen if a webstore had opening hours. So we created Sweden’s most elusive print store (Owd Bob), which is only open for 48-hour periods at a time.
Our hypothesis was that the limited time frame would put an upward pressure on sales. This turned out to be accurate. The artists we collaborated with reported they had sold more prints in 2 days than on any other webstore over a period of years.
Owd Bob and Atioki taught us a great deal, and confirmed our hunches that people are craving different modes of online shopping. There’s so much reimagining that could be done in this realm, and we have a lot more open-ended ideas we’d like to test. Alas, these will have to wait for a future Fully lab or, even more ideally, a groovy client will come along with the desire to do e-commerce in a new way. In that case, let the wild rumpus start.
When Owd Bob opens, a single print is posted for sale. Just one.
This one print might not be to everyone’s liking, but that is the essence of opinionated design. We wanted to see how such an opinionated choice would play out, in an era where Quantity ostensibly reigns supreme.