The Future of Retail is Hybrid
Industries have gradually been moving online over the past 20 to 30 years. It started with music and video in 1995 and has progressed to everything from retail to education to banking. By 2025, every industry is expected to have some sort of digital disruption.
While online retail is growing, this does not mean the end of physical stores. Physical stores will still be alive and well in 20 years, they will just run side by side with online shopping. These have been coined hybrid retail stores, but what is a hybrid retail store and how can you establish one for yourself? Hybrid retail is a new term that has been coined in recent years to describe the collaboration of both e-commerce and bricks and mortar stores.
While a lot of traditionally bricks and mortar stores are going online, the same can be said for solely online retail sites. E-commerce retail stores are realising the importance of physical stores, where their customers can visit to touch, feel, and smell their products in person. This is happening with both permanent stores and pop up shops.
Building a hybrid retail business can give brands and retailers the best of both worlds. If retailers establish unique functional bridges between online and offline they will give their consumers a seamless shopping experience. Hybrid retail can only succeed when online and offline come together.
Ways to establish a functional hybrid retail system:
- Online content can be brought to life with in-person advice and workshops and vice versa.
- Chat boxes can be used to talk IRL with online customers as if they were in store.
- Click and collect services work well for impatient and busy customers who research online but go in store to pick up the item. Similarly, items bought online should be allowed to be returned in store and vice versa.
- Word of mouth and online word of mouth are morphing into one, sync your offline and online reviews.
- Online and offline rewards shouldn’t be specific to their own platforms, let your customers mix and match.
Looking for more retail insights and business tips? Visit Autumn Fair, our September show, and take part in our free workshops and seminars.