08/01/2021
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Let's Get Phygital — How to Cash In on the New Hybrid Shopper Norm

Meet Your New Best Friend: The Hybrid Consumer

We knew it was coming but didn’t realize it would happen this quickly. Today’s shoppers have gone hybrid — blending physical and digital shopping seamlessly — and are now asserting dominance over every channel. As retailers, marketers and brands scramble to respond to this rapid metamorphosis, they’re quickly adapting their marketing to match — using a laser-focused “phygital” strategy that hits all channels, platforms and social technologies simultaneously.

While this new strategy involves a bit more work, and a willingness to change, it also creates fresh opportunities to meet consumers’ needs and interact with personalized, omnichannel marketing. So it’s time to grab your share of the hybrid shopper’s wallet. 

A journey of a thousand buys begins with a single click

The majority of today’s consumers begin their product discovery and research online. Even those who prefer to shop in-store still search online before making the trip, with 74 percent indicating that they research everything from locations to wait times. Plus, nearly half of shoppers confirm inventory before heading to a store.

The result? As far as consumers are concerned, the physical store is now completely inseparable from its online counterpart. Virtual pre-shop is now the way of the world, even while shopping in-store. 83 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices while strolling the aisles — often comparing prices or looking for information about potential purchases.

Online pre-shopping is creating new opportunities to connect with consumers

Shoppers who research online in advance of a shopping excursion can be reached more often — with personalized, in-depth communications about product benefits and usage occasions. This frequent contact is an absolute dream come true for marketers.

Many brands and retailers have begun talking 1:1 to consumers via comments and direct messages — a social commerce strategy that builds relationships with individual shoppers. Personalized product recommendations and custom messages have been shown to reduce acquisition costs, lift revenue, and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10 to 30 percent. With additional tools like virtual try-ons, 3D implementations, and AR — conversion rates can increase up to 40 percent, while also reducing return rates.

Exponential growth — a social commerce standard

Social commerce continues to outperform expectations, with growth patterns that illustrate success in the present and domination in the future. The industry has grown exponentially year-over-year, with 2021 alone accounting for a 34.8 percent increase — to $36.09 billion.

Much of the format’s growth can be attributed to marketers’ creative use of diverse features and capabilities. Influencer content, for example, offers the ability to showcase products in genuine, useful ways — while building trust in both the creator and the brand. This kind of content has shown consistent results, with 50 percent of Gen Z shoppers clicking “add to cart” and completing purchases after seeing an influencer endorsement.

Purchases made through social commerce are highly incremental, thanks to the connection of inspirational content with seamless shopping experiences. Users don’t even have to be in “buying mode” for this to work. By integrating shoppability into existing, familiar social channels, personalized purchasing opportunities live alongside standard user-posted content. This is all made possible through platform buying integrations, shoppable hotspots, and swipe-to-cart features that turn social media or influencer posts into performance media — often driving clicks and carts at over eight times the rates of standard ads.

Omnipresence is the future for marketers

The hybrid shopper is always on the move. For example, 86 percent of shoppers regularly “hop” across at least two channels when browsing, and around 67 percent specifically use multiple channels when completing a single transaction.

The shopping journey no longer follows a straight, predictable path. Instead, consumers are exposed to messaging on all channels, nearly all of the time — with each touchpoint compounding to influence purchase decisions. This constant exposure to shopping opportunities has naturally improved marketers’ ability to predict, measure, and affect sales along the way. Apparel industry research, for example, has revealed that omnichannel shoppers purchase 70 percent more often than offline-only shoppers, and tend to spend more than $2,000 on the category each year — which is 34 percent more than an offline-only shopper. And, 49 percent of consumers buy from their favorite multichannel brands at least twice per week.

With more opportunity comes more responsibility to create seamless experiences

As shoppers dive headlong into this omnipresent world, brands and retailers are increasingly responsible for providing excellent experiences. 90 percent of shoppers expect consistent interactions across all channels, and 72 percent say they would rather connect with a brand through multiple marketing channels.

It’s no longer about perfecting one element of the shopping experience. Instead, it’s about being everywhere for your customers, all of the time. This means developing an effective social commerce strategy that seamlessly speaks to users wherever they are, even when they’re not in shopping mode. Thankfully, it’s possible today — through integrated shopping features that blend the line between content and commerce.

Learn more about Inmar Intelligence's influencer solutions here.

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