Online retail – innocent and Ocado changing the game?
The news that an entire Italian hilltop village is up for sale on eBay is just another quirky signpost of the way online retail is developing apace. Closer to home, the innocent wing of the Ocado site is interesting. Basically, when you type in ‘innocent’ to the ‘find a product’ search bar, it brings up the shop which contains all the innocent products, explaining a bit about each, along with advertising for the brand. If you click on a particular product, you are then taken to the main Ocado shopping page to buy the product. You also keep the innocent navigation bar when you start shopping so you can switch from smoothies to juices to veg pots etc.
For a while we have been making the point that if your pack is going to be represented a few pixels high on the scroll through an online shopping site, it should be part of the way the design is considered and judged. And that the jpeg sent to the online shop might want to be a simplified version of the on-shelf equivalent. But the ‘innocent shop’ shows another way where the packs and branding are given room to breathe – a kind of virtual gondola end if you will.
Ocado is pretty impressive in leading the way with this kind of thing. We proposed a discreet use of animation for brands to them a few months back and developed this for Birds Eye. Clearly if all the packs were coming to life it would be a horrid experience for the shopper, but lightly peppered through the site it seemed like an interesting way of helping the brand standout that nobody else had done. Time will tell…
I think the interesting point of this is that for packaging designers, the edges of our remit are blurring. The context in which the pack sits (static, on a shelf we cannot control) is changing. We can now bring both movement and background into the mix. That’s a really interesting creative playground to consider, so long as the end results help improve rather than camouflage and confuse the shopping experience.