We are seeing exciting developments in the world of retail where digital and physical aspects are being brought together to create what we like to call ‘Phygital’ stores.
Whether it’s a digital-first brand moving into a brick and mortar setting, long-standing retailers integrating digital technologies into their stores, or the use of data to create a personalised shopping experience, it is undeniable that digital has become increasingly part of the retail experience. Here are some brands that we think are doing it right.
Digital first brands
Digital first brands are paving the way for the future of retail, where simply being a store is no longer enough. When it is so easy to sit at home and order everything you could possibly want from your smartphone, retailers need to reinvent the purpose of a physical store. Consumers want an experience, a reason to step outside and visit your shop. So, it is more important than ever to become a destination with something exceptional to offer.
The hugely successful makeup brand Glossier built their cult following online, starting with a blog. This led to the opening of the New York showroom, becoming THE destination to visit for the ultimate Instagram-able photo and to achieve that feeling of belonging within the growing Glossier community.
Beyond believes that the digital-first brands who have the most success when moving from a 2d online platform to a 4d in-person shopping experience, are those who clearly identifying the aspects of their online brand that holds most resonance with the customer and then establish how those attributes can successfully deliver ‘recognition’ within a physical environment.
Revamping with digital concept stores
High street cosmetics brand Lush, known for their cruelty-free products, wood panel walls and black chalkboards have reinvented themselves in this digital era with their Harajuku bath bomb concept store. Gone is the rustic market feel and, in its place, a bright clean aesthetic of wall-to-wall clear shelves holding individual colourful bath bombs.
With the product testing sinks removed, consumers are now encouraged to download the #LushLabs app. When the ‘Lush Lens’ is held up to a bath bomb you can watch it fizz away on your screen, along with seeing a list of ingredients and the products desired effects.
Lush’s app and the digital store is being used to create an online community where shoppers can leave feedback on store design and products – allowing Lush to trial new formulas and innovations before rolling them out to their other locations.
Use of data for a personalized experience
2018 saw the unveiling of 2 new Nike concept stores in Los Angeles and New York, both inspired and influenced by the influx of data that the brand collects from their local NikePlus members.
The Melrose Avenue store in West LA has been crafted through an in-depth understanding of the neighbourhood and clientele. By utilising the data collected on the NikePlus app they have opened their first Live Store, which has been inspired by and built specifically for the local Melrose members, working as an experimental ‘phygical’ hub.
The stock changes every 2 weeks to keep up with the local trends and there is the offering of personalisation to products. This kind of service is vital in local stores and niche neighbourhoods, where consumers want to be treated like individuals.
In New York City, we see the 68,000 sq ft flagship store utilise data to personalise the shopping experience in a totally different way. This Speed Store caters to the busy lives of New Yorkers. By using the app’s retail mode customers can select their desired product, size and colour before even entering the store. The items will then be ready for collection from a self-service locker or awaiting the customer’s arrival in the changing room, offering a fast-paced, no-faff shopping experience.
At Beyond we work with digital first brands, guiding the transition into a physical space, alongside well-established brands, to pull them into this new digital era of customer experience and expectation. Above everything, we believe the most impactful thing a brand can now offer is an outstanding and unforgettable experience to its customers.
Glossier showroom and products – Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
Nike by Melrose and Speed Store – Photo by Nike
Lush Harajuku store – Photo by Lush