Andrew Dunbar, General Manager EMEA, explains in AW360 why brands should draw on a hybrid commerce model to thrive in the post-Covid age.
Much has been made of the Covid-fuelled digital transformation over the past year, with brands deftly fitting an average of seven years of progress in online presence and products in a matter of just months (McKinsey). But, as we look ahead to a new wave of winners and losers – yet to be decided in the post-Covid flux – businesses that walk the line between digital and real worlds may well come off the best.
To understand this logic, you only have to look at the market uncertainty that has accompanied global lockdown easing efforts. With Netflix shares tumbling in the latest quarter, investors are weighing in behind a new wave of post-sofa hopefuls; including restaurants, high street retail, travel firms and even cinemas.
These businesses are buoyed by forecasts of pent-up consumer demand, accrued through months of at-home living (indeed, many UK pubs have run dry from the sheer volume of punters since reopening on April 12). But the situation is far from clearcut. Even as Netflix subscribers fall short, other “victors” of the pandemic – including the booming cycling sector – continue to gain pace.
With volatile headwinds swirling, brands urgently need agility on their side: a quality that increasingly depends on their ability to fuse on- and offline delivery. It’s only with a hybrid, non-siloed approach to commerce that retailers can outstrip consumer expectations, and remain flexible in the face of increasingly fluid demand.