Blurring the Lines Between Bricks and Mortar Retail and Digital

Despite a rise in e-commerce sales in 2018, bricks and mortar stores still have a robust purpose.


But with companies increasingly investing in omni-channel retail strategies, we look at how brands are blurring the lines between bricks and mortar and digital in store.



John Cameron on Unsplash

Incorporating Digital


Bricks and mortar stores are still unrivalled as a way to fully immerse oneself in the brand experience. However, in order to achieve this, consumers now expect more from their retail store. They want to digitally interact with the brand, as well as sample physical products. They want to be empowered and engage in new ways.


Digital experiences can be brought in store using:


  1. Augmented reality – A recent example is Alibaba Cloud’s partnership with Lancôme, allowing consumers to interact on their smartphones anywhere throughout the city, and move their phones around to capture photos of the Genifiques beauty product.

  2. Employee engagement – When consumers feel they are in some way owning or enriching the brand through tech innovations such as being able to make store playlist recommendations, then they’re more likely to engage with the brand. Retailers such as Mango have launched in store music apps to this effect.

  3. Instagrammable moments – This is all about making loyal fans feel like influencers within a broader brand community. Most recently Atelier Beauté Chanel created a “beauty playground”, with the inclusion of a ‘content creation’ room, which gives consumers the ideal location to create flat lay imagery for social media using Instagram-approved lighting.

  4. Interactive screens and tablets – To alleviate overcrowding issues at its flagship store during a refurb, Zara opened its first ever pop-up dedicated exclusively to online orders. The pop-up also featured smart mirrors which offer clothing and accessories suggestions when customers scan an item.

  5. Personalisation platforms – A personalisation platform takes data from in-store transactions and connects this with online customer behaviour. This allows you to gain a real-time understanding of exactly where your customer is at in their journey. By connecting both datasets, you can personalise the customer experience so they’re presented with personalised, contextually relevant offers both online and in-store.

  6. Wayfinding – Wayfinding effortlessly and subtly guides customers around the store in a way that creates an environment that is “fashionably lost” in the moment (a state of wonderment where they can stumble upon new and exciting things). Ultimately of course they must also be able to easily navigate to the item they initially wanted to find otherwise this can lead to frustration.

  7. WebroomingWebrooming is the physical confirmation of quality, experienced digitally. This is where an in-store experience must match expectations in order to result in that all important sale.


How are you enhancing your stores with digital? How are you using in-store data to personalised your digital platforms? We’d love to hear from you.


Email us your thoughts.