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As retailers transition to post-COVID business in the United States, the new normal of digital meets physical is set to evolve the shopping experience — all while the country is on the cusp of kicking off a summer like no other. This season is a huge opportunity for retailers to capitalize on the return to socialization and office work, making up for lost time and the havoc wreaked on retail operations last year.
Has brick-and-mortar retail changed forever? Yes. Is brick-and-mortar retail finished? Not by a long shot.
Rather, the role of the physical store is changing. There are new opportunities for brands and retailers with physical spaces, inspired by digital commerce. And on the flip side, some of the enhancements made to digital shopping over the past year — virtual styling and appointments, live help, events, and more — bridge the physical-digital divide and likely are here to stay.
Digital shopping has transformed brick and mortar. There’s a new expectation that a brand’s store has appropriate consistency with its digital experience, from pricing and associate knowledge to product experiences. The physical experience can’t become lesser in any of these ways.
Juxtapose these expectations with massive consumer enthusiasm to return to in-store shopping. There’s a newfound novelty to shopping in-person, and brands must over deliver on an in-store experience not only on par with digital, but better. And the measurement of stores and the incentives for the people who work in them need to reflect digitally completed transactions.