Perhaps one of the biggest influences of the COVID pandemic was accelerating the move into digital spaces, whether for commerce or followers. Many have been eager to hop into trends in social, crypto and virtual spaces, but as the world moves back to interacting within physical walls, the future of retail will look more like a hybrid model.
Carey Collins Krug, senior VP of marketing at Abercrombie & Fitch, explained that the key is how one thinks about “the connective tissue and having one view of the customer across all the different channels and network,” explaining that a single customer might interact with Abercrombie & Fitch on social channels while browsing products on its website and then buy the item in a physical store. She later described the consumer as “the mediator and the driver of that tension between the two worlds.”
Similarly, Alyssa Raine, group VP of customer marketing platforms at Walgreens, said she sees the future of shopping as a hybrid model. She envisions a marriage of physical and digital shopping where “you go into a store and there’s options for your needs, but you have access to a digital shelf that will have more niche products that may meet your personalized needs.”
Lauren Weinberg, chief marketing and communications officer at Square, described a developing hybrid approach to payments as well – where purchases are made online and picked up in-store or vice versa.
“People are really enjoying all the preferences that were introduced during COVID, including QR codes,” she said. “There are so many things that were always on people’s radars that really started to accelerate…it’s a one-way door and I don’t think people will ever go back because it’s really about making it easy.”
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