Home Retail EDITORIAL How hybrid retail is coming into its own this Christmas

EDITORIAL How hybrid retail is coming into its own this Christmas

by Ozva Admin

One of the unforeseen consequences of the economic crisis hitting the UK has been the way in which buying habits have changed. Again. Naturally, cash-strapped consumers are looking for bargains, deals, and deals, and with Prime Day Lite just over and Black Friday right around the corner, you’d be forgiven for thinking that online is where they’re headed to do this.

However, that is not entirely true. A growing number of shoppers are heading to brick-and-mortar stores to browse the shelves for deals, browse reduced-to-sheer items, and see if they can save in other ways.

This is particularly beneficial for discount stores and bargainswhich are now predicted to be the winners this Christmas, attracting a record number of shoppers to their stores to do their holiday shopping on a tight budget.

Still, that’s only part of the story. According to the research, 86% of discount retailers expect strong growth this quarter, followed by 85% of value brands, largely driven by store visits from consumers who told the same researchers looking to spend 25-30% less. this Christmas. However, retailers, even at the discount and bargain end of the market, that offer click-and-collect and other hybrid retailing will see the most growth. In fact, value stores that offer click-and-collect are also poised to see 42% more sales than their competitors that don’t.

This is part of a broader movement in retail driven by the need for physical stores to offer a much more digital and hybrid experience to customers. This extends far beyond click and collect. A study of over 12,000 shoppers in the UK, US, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and China this week shows that 71% will prioritize in-store shopping if they get a pleasant experience, a third of shoppers now expect stores to invest in self-service and digital checkout technology, 41%, as well as interactive displays, 37%, that allow them to explore ranges and personalize services or products 39%.

The metaverse intrigues UK shoppers, with 33% expecting retailers to provide information on how to visit the retailer’s store in the metaverse or other virtual space.

Phygital, the fusion of physical and digital environments, is equally important, with 38% of shoppers expecting interactive digital displays or tablets that provide in-store access to the same search and discovery tools that are available online.

Combining this with having to reach consumers based on their cultural beliefs and social trends such as sustainability and ethics, rather than advertising based on price, is also key. Bringing this fused world of online and in-store together with the right message can be very powerful.

Unless you’re targeting Gen-Zers, who seem to be very committed to digital retail. According to a separate studyNearly half (49%) of Gen Z shoppers say shopping in the store makes them feel anxious.

The message, then, is clear: shoppers like it in the store, they look for deals there, but they also want to do it online. The challenge then is how to offer all things to all men (Gen?) without breaking the bank. For many retailers, the technology is already there, it’s really about how to implement it correctly to meet these challenges. But with consumer confidence at an all-time low, and interest rates and inflation at record levels, investing now is all you can do.

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