2022: The Year for Hybrid Retail

In 2021, we observed both brands and retailers continue to adapt to the realities of a global pandemic. We saw QR codes emerge and more and more brands and retailers piloting contact-free delivery options and curbside pickup methods—all of which gave customers faster, more efficient ways to shop. But how has this impacted the way we browse?  

In 2022, the idea of the “digital” vs. “in-store” experience is gone. Shoppers don’t see mobile, online, and in-store as separate fronts—instead they see one brand and expect their experience to be seamlessly connected from beginning to end. Developing a consistent, consumer-centric experience in 2022 will require new, more agile ways to connect brands with people—demanding us to step outside the traditional, expected sandbox.   

Today, a digitally intuitive consumer experience has become standard. But what impact will this have for the storefront or the store visit?  

Brands like Nike, Meta, and Vans have charged ahead into the virtual space creating VR experiences specifically designed to appeal to members of Gen Z. While others like Warby ParkerSephora, and L’Oreal have offered users opportunities to try on items such as hair dye colors before buying. Smart mirrors and mobile apps offer added accessibility and personalization to try before you buy.  

However, many still miss the familiarity of being able to see things up-close and in-person, especially with holiday shopping. According to the NPD Group, more than 36 percent of consumers said they miss browsing retail stores. While 30 percent said they look forward to returning to shopping in malls for major retail events like Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  

The race for relevance relies on agility. And the social component of the in-store experience is likely to boom in 2022, as post-pandemic solutions will offer easier ways for consumers to see, touch, and interact with products in-store—but with higher expectations for brands to deliver dynamic, disruptive experiences that are anything but static.   

Contributed By: Tommy Johnson, Senior Account Planner, Insight & Strategy Denver

Image Source: Unsplash