How 2 Companies Incorporate a Physical and Online Marketplace

There’s more to the mall than the food court. It’s a haven for companies embracing hybrid customer experiences.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — There seems to be two types of shoppers nowadays: the online consumer, and the physical walk-in consumer. 

With online shopping being a new norm due to safety precautions from COVID-19, fewer shoppers plan to go into physical stores. Statista reported that about 57% of US consumers intended to shop online during the 2022 holiday season. In contrast, 43% of shoppers planned to go to stores.

There still are a great deal of consumers going into the physical marketplace while the online marketplace is starting to see increased growth: we call this the hybrid marketplace. The question being, what are hybrid companies doing to manage the consumer experience both in the new digital age of online experience, and with the rise of hybrid options for consumers?

The Physical Consumer Experience

In search of hybrid companies we traveled to our local mall in search for stores that also sold products online. While shopping through a local mall you’ll see tons of brick-and-mortar retail companies. We’re sure you’ll notice that you’ve seen some of these brands online. These brands are called hybrid retail stores, “a combination of online and offline shopping opportunities,” explained Erin Amaster, a manager at Bed Bath & Beyond at the Nittany Mall in State College, Pa. 

Amaster told CMSWire, “The number one reason why consumers come to our store is because they can physically see our products.” That’s one luxury in-person has over online that will never change. 

However, Amaster claimed that some of her consumers are actually regulars who come in to see her and her staff. Building a relationship with her clientele is effective for store success, she added. 

Jessica Swain, public relations representative with AT&T, said that to pull off a hybrid marketplace, “Customers can choose between fast and convenient same day pick-up at an AT&T store near you, or our white glove delivery and expert setup service — AT&T Right To You.” This quote describes the service they would provide to uniquely meet the hybrid customer’s needs. 

Related Article: The Future of Digital and Physical Sales in a Post-COVID World

The Digital-Physical Consumer Experience

The physical consumer experience is only half the battle for these hybrid companies. Jason DeLillian, a store operations manager with AT&T in the Nittany Mall, said his team definitely engages in store-based sales, but some of their orders are purchased online. In a now-routine process, the consumer will then come and pick up the purchased product. 

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