To those who ignore statistics and continue to lament that physical retail is dead, I direct one question: “What feature do practically all ecommerce sites – from Tiffany & Co. to AutoZone to ThinkGeek – share?”
A “find a store” option.
These disparate retail brands – these purveyors of rocks, shocks and Dr. Spocks – acknowledge that shoppers still want to visit a store in person. They understand that consumers often want to experience a brand in real life rather than through a screen, and that retail-tainment is more effective in-person.
Don’t get me wrong; this is not about choosing physical retail over online selling. The future of retail doesn’t lie squarely in one or the other, but rather, in a mixture of the two. That’s why companies that were once operated exclusively online are making their presence known (and reaching more shoppers) by opening pop-up shops to complement their online efforts.
When executed properly, digital and pop-up executions are not distinct. They work in tandem to allow the shopper to personalize her experience, transforming ecommerce into “me” -commerce. (Though I still refuse to call the connection “phygital.”)
A pop-up is more effective than singular online selling in six important ways: