There is no doubt that new technology trends in the category pre-pandemic have been accelerated, as brands shifted to cater to an increasingly digital consumer. AR and AI have become the driving forces towards new category experiences that combine digital and physical.
Mixed reality retail
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically shifted our relationship with retail. Sector lockdowns restricted access and redirected category consumption online. Online experiences reset expectations for the category. Ongoing concerns around contagion continue to curb a return to physical retail for some.
To counter the trend towards ecommerce over in-store, category retailers are introducing ‘digitally enhanced’ stores to draw people back, transforming in-store beauty retail into an omnichannel brand experience. It’s about bringing together the best of the physical and digital experiences.
“We have always considered that the future was not online versus offline, but online plus offline,” says Lubomira Rochet, outgoing chief digital officer of L’Oréal.
These ‘phy-gital’ stores are the culmination of the ongoing trend towards enhanced IRL brand experiences and a cultural context with hygiene high on the agenda. Digitally enhanced store spaces are designed to elevate the consumer experience, making it both more seamless and more immersive,…