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Welcome to the New Era of 'Emotional Commerce'

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The rapidly expanding online design shop Fab has just secured another $150 million from investors—which means, of course, more expansion. The e-tailer has announced ambitious plans to become one the top five e-commerce businesses in the world. "There are currently only four e-commerce companies in the world that are valued at more than $10 billion: Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, and Rakuten," Fab Founder and CEO Jason Goldberg wrote on his blog. "We believe that Fab has a legitimate chance to be the fifth."

His strategy is to tap into shoppers desire to be inspired, rather than their desire for convenience—which is an especially tough job in the online fashion and design worlds, where shoppers like to touch and feel and try things on. But Goldberg thinks "emotional commerce" is the next frontier of online shopping and he plans to claim the territory.

For anyone even marginally interested in the business of retail and e-commerce, his blog post breaking down the principles of emotional commerce is a fascinating read. Some highlights after the jump.

Goldberg identifies what he sees as the three phases of e-commerce. First up, Commodity Commerce:

"The first wave of e-commerce — which was dominated by Amazon — was all about bringing commodity products online. We call that wave: Commodity Commerce. The fundamental principles of Commodity Commerce are selection, price and speed: the biggest product catalogue, at the best prices, delivered as quickly as possible. It's Walmart online. It's Target online. It's Best Buy online. It's your drugstore online. It's the Amazonification of commodity retail. It's convenience shopping for the products people already know they need," he writes.

Next came the media players: Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and others. Websites that were able to digitize and monetize media like books, music, movies, TV, video. He calls that Digital Commerce.

And now, Goldberg says, we're entering the era of Emotional Commerce, which, of course, Fab claims to be pioneering:

"Differing from the 'commodity commerce' players, Fab is the pioneer in Emotional Commerce, helping people discover and buy the meaningful stuff in their lives, like the chairs they sit on, the table they dine at, the plates they eat from, the glasses they drink out of, the pen they write with, the notepad they write in, the art on their walls, the bracelet on their arm—the emotional products in their lives..."

There's more:

Emotional Commerce is all about taking the best offline shopping experiences—of being lured in by storefronts, of browsing through assortments and colors; it is the joy of the hunt and finding something fabulous—having fun while shopping—and making that entire experience even more amazing online," he explains.

We've been saying for a while now that the brightest future of e-commerce is going to be about combining the experience of brick-and-mortar shopping with the convenience of online shopping. Goldberg's vision—realistic or not—sounds like an innovative attempt to do just that. We look forward to seeing more, and in the meantime, head here to read his manifesto in its entirety.
· The Big News [BetaShop]
· What the Team Behind Fab Wears to Work [Racked]