The pandemic has dramatically expanded the connections between physical and online channels in retail. Consumers are using their phones for more than just browsing. Now, they are tapping their devices to virtually try-on products and interact with their favorite retailers on a more personalized level.
With these advancements in technology through mobile devices, consumers expect a seamless in-store experience that mirrors their digital e-commerce interactions. And likewise, they also expect e-commerce to create the same feeling as brick and mortar – offering aisle-browsing and product-sampling features that they find valuable through physical experiences.
This may be a challenge for retailers to offer the best of both worlds with e-commerce and brick and mortar, however, it can be done. Beauty retailers Sephora and Ulta Beauty are now providing in-store virtual try-on. By having this customized experience, they can offer their same services, but in a different, more safe way.
Smartphones have become one of the key parts of today’s retail infrastructure, and they can easily bridge the gap between digital and brick and mortar. Solutions such as in-store pickup, curbside, and contactless payment have seen a recent spike in adoption among retailers.
Large-scale retailer Target has been among retailers who have seen skyrocketing figures for curbside pickup, with 730% year-over-year increase in sales. Usage of Target’s Shipt mobile delivery app has also seen significant demand, witnessing 350% growth in the last quarter.
The traditional separation between brick-and-mortar stores and online retail is thinning. With retail’s evolution to bring safer experiences, a seamless omnichannel approach has become more necessary now than ever before. Retailers today must keep up with this evolution to ensure they can meet these expectations among consumers.