Digital natives get physical

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On Sunday, NRF 2019 kicked off with dynamic panels, workshops and discussions pertaining to all different areas of retail. A panel on the process and results of digital native companies turning to physical locations included Drew Green, CEO of Indochino, Jen Braunschweiger, vice president of brand marketing at MM.LaFleur, and Eleanor Morgan, chief experience officer at Casper.

The so-called “retail apocalypse” is a myth of the past — today retail is growing as brands attempt to attain consumer loyalty via multiple touchpoints throughout the consumer journey. A company that does not have a physical store is not serving the customer to the best of its ability: Morgan said retail consumers spend $100 more than online consumers on their first purchase. In a world that presents so many options for any item a consumer might want to purchase, retailers must meet them wherever and whenever they want it.

In a consumer-centric industry, a physical space is a place to be immersed in a brand and clearly understand where it fits into consumers’ own personal brands. This makes the whole retail experience less transactional and more of an emotional experience.

When panelists were asked by the moderator about the toughest parts of their company’s transition from online to in-store, Green said that as a digital brand, not having retail experience was a challenge but also an opportunity. Like many other companies, Indochino used data collected from its online consumer to build a strategy behind where to place its 37 physical locations and what these locations look like. The store experience is a retailer’s differentiating point, and the conversation between brand and consumer is continuous and personalized.

From booking a nap on a Casper’s mattresses to scheduling a styling appointment at MM.LaFleur, online digital brands are proving that making the leap to physical retail can have significant benefits to both the merchant and the consumer. It is time for both the online and physical world to meet for retailers that want to create a loyal relationship with their consumer.

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