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Selling into Disruption | Digital Tactics for Physical Retail

June 5, 2020

LiveArea’s Chris Hogue, Vice President of Strategy & Products and Elliott Jacobs, Director of Agency & Commerce Consulting discuss the issues facing retail businesses as physical stores open once again, and how digital technologies can smooth the experience. To watch the full webcast with Adobe | Magento Commerce, click here.

It’s clear that we are approaching a new normal for retail. Recent studies have suggested social distancing measures will be required until 2022. As physical stores reopen, it’s important we consider how businesses adapt to social distancing in a retail environment.

Consider how societal norms might now look. For example, many have spoken of the ‘death of the handshake’. These norms that we took for granted may take on completely different perspectives.

So, what does that mean for retail? If this pandemic changes the way we shake hands, it’s going to change the way we shop. With hygiene and social distancing now front of mind, our shopping preferences are going to change. What we buy, how we buy, how we receive products, and what we expect from brands are all going to look different.

PFS conducted a study, stating 60% of people have purchased more items since lockdown, with 53% having bought more online. Moreover, 77% of these will continue to shop more online once the lockdown has been relaxed. So, many of us are still prepared to spend, but how and what we spend this on may change.

These are enforced, irreversible changes to consumer behavior, and how brands adapt to these changes in-store will be fundamental considerations, that we can start preparing for right now.

Let’s break down the opportunities into four key pillars, to help businesses overcome these individual hurdles:


We are accustomed to talking about personalization as an online execution, something that some businesses execute well, and others struggle with. However, as we start to redesign the retail experience and what it should look like, we must consider how we scale personalization from where it is today – mainly online – and bring these tools to the offline world.


Consumers trust in products and consumers trust in brands. Online, trust is centered around seamless, reliable, secure interactions. Businesses can ensure personal data and payment details are managed and stored securely. They can offer clear delivery and returns options. Ratings and reviews can be included to build trust in products. And brands build messaging around values, culture, and mission to empower a sense of trust through brand transparency. Again, we must consider how the concept of trust and safety can be promoted within the physical environment.


Most brands with an online presence are comfortable leveraging data and analytics to better understand digital user behavior, curate and optimize moments online where they interact with a brand or a product, and design experiences to promote certain behaviors, all driven by data and purchase intent. So, how do we use data to shape offline behaviors? How do we orchestrate data to optimize the customer journey, making sure we’re applying that data in a timely, relevant way, to make real changes that are useful to the end customer?


As consumers and businesses, we identify mobile as a convenient device, that people use to research, engage, and transact on-the-go. But let’s try a different perspective and think of these as safe devices. We all have one in our pockets or handbags. These are very personal things that, generally, only we touch. How can brands leverage this notion and use mobile in this new world, where it’s likely that safe, personal experiences are going to be prioritized, enhanced and harnessed when shopping.

Making change

Whilst uncertainty often means a pragmatic, over-conservative mindset, there are bold moves that proactive businesses can make right now to prepare for a new future. Without doubt, executing in-store strategies leveraging personalization, trust, data, and mobile tactics will play central roles in these moves.

In the following two articles, we will look at two key retail sectors – beauty and fashion – and offer guidance as to how these might adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Selling into Disruption – The Future of Beauty Stores

Selling into Disruption – The Future of Fashion Stores



Chris Hogue | Vice President of Strategy & Products at LiveArea

Chris has more than 20 years of experience launching innovative digital solutions and services. He works closely with B2B brands on expanding their capabilities in new ways. Before joining LiveArea, Chris was head of strategic initiatives at Isobar where he led the development of a new data platform, optimizing campaigns and user experiences and combining behavioral and emotional data.


Elliott Jacobs | Director of Agency & Commerce Consulting at LiveArea EMEA

Elliott is an experienced global commerce and multi-channel retail professional, specializing in helping B2C and B2B companies achieve measurable success by reviewing current strategies and processes, and identifying and capitalizing upon emerging digital opportunities.




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