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Physical merchants rise to the challenge of digital reality

More US consumers are shopping in stores this year than last, according to the National Retail Federation – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Brandon Bell

The increased adoption of the metaverse and other digital trends such as crypto, BNPL, and social selling does not necessarily mean physical stores are dead. Physical stores refer to businesses that have a physical building to sell their products, rather than relying solely on the internet.

The the metaverse is a relatively new concept, a complement to the Internet. It is a type of virtual environment that integrates different functions and services. These include socializing, games, and business opportunities. Each of these activities takes place in an immersive virtual reality universe.

Those who interact in such a space do so through their virtual “avatars”. But is this digital reality a major threat to physical points of sale?

By examining this dynamic for Digital diary is Kelly Goetsch, chief strategy officer, commercetools. Goetsch examines what brick-and-mortar retail’s resilience means for hybrid shopping, and whether it’s as integrated as we once thought.

According to Goetsch: “No matter how much e-commerce grows, brick-and-mortar stores will always have a place in the retail landscape.”

This is due to real-world experiences, as Goetsch points out: “No matter how superior and convenient digital experiences become, people will still enjoy the act of shopping, it’s an experience that can’t be completely virtually reproduced.

That doesn’t mean retailers can ignore the need for diversity and create a good customer experience, though.

Goetsch says, “As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, convenience shopping offers are undeniable. The two types of shopping go hand in hand, which is why it’s so important for fashion brands to unify their in-store and online experiences by preparing their e-commerce platforms to deliver the cutting-edge experiences their customers are looking for.

Activities that brick-and-mortar stores can consider to attract customers include accepting all possible forms of payment, making the reality experience enjoyable, and having a large inventory of merchandise.

In terms of an example, Goetsch argues, “Retailers can simulate the social elements shoppers experience through digital offerings such as live selling and personalization.”