The Post-pandemic Heralds the Metamorphosis of Physical Retail: Hyperphysical Stores

The Post-pandemic Heralds the Metamorphosis of Physical Retail Hyperphysical Stores

The past years of the pandemic have seen the emergence of such buzzwords a “Retailtainment” and “Omnichannel” in retail. In the post-pandemic era, while the advent of Web3 has opened up more tech-driven marketing vehicles, it has not brought an end to physical stores. On the contrary, it has livened up physical interaction with more transformative possibilities than ever.

We blend technology innovation into design of physical stores for groundbreaking retail strategies. Yet it is noteworthy to point out, that at the core of such a tech-driven retail strategy lies the humanistic value for community engagement.

Hyperphysical retail entails sensory interior decoration, which the Future Lab defines as ‘giving a ‘higher life’ to physical spaces and objects, and injecting culture to get us out of our cocoons.’ This article offers an insider’ look at the importance of Hyperphysical store and its significance to elevating customers’ shopping experience.

Why Hyperphysical Store Matters

More than simply combining different sensory elements, the Hyperphysical store is intended to strengthen sensory reception for five senses, namely sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, which contribute to effective visual merchandising. In turn, the Hyperphysical store enhances the sensory delivery and imbue product presentations with a sense of luxury.

In such way, the physical store is more than a sales driver but a tool for customer acquisition – a touchpoint to build brand awareness and encourage customers to make purchases. Besides, as luxury is more associated with rich craftsmanship and artisanship, the new format of Hyperphysical store maximizes intricacy in which fashion, art, retail and technology are intertwined. Technological application brings out an extraordinarily engaging sensory experience, taking the physical presence of brands to the next level. 

Earlier this year, Selfridges, the luxury department store, created an in-store section called Universe that incorporated NFT into unique and artistic window displays, pop-up stores and in-store art exhibitions. This art-meets-fashion-and-retail section, featuring Artist Victor Vasarely and Paco Rabanne, displayed artworks and a ready-to-wear collection with NFTs accessible online at Decentraland. The hybrid service complements the virtual store, seamlessly enriching a multi-sensory immersive journey across channels for customers.

Apart from in-store upgrades at department stores, different pop-up stores with hyperphysical elements have sprung up to appeal to younger customers especially the Gen Z. Bottega Veneta set up a real maze pop-up store in Seoul for shoppers to interact with the environment. The triangular and artistic installation was reminiscent of Fall/Winter 2021 collection with motifs, furry strands and a vivid green tone. Instead of selling products, the showcase was intended to highlight the brand’s code. As an exmplary Hyperphysical store, Bottega Veneta indeed created an impressive sensorial experience by likening fashion to the Squad Game. Hence, customers could develop linkage with brand value through the intense colour, mysterious atmosphere and pleasant furry decoration in such a mind-blowing physical pop-up store.

Changes in Customer Experiences in Physical Retail

Beyond personalization, the Hyperphysical store uplifts the whole customer journey. The metaverse transcend boundaries between online shopping and physical stores, enabling an immersive, interactive and memorable shopping experience. Surrealist and maximalist visual merchandising and interior design in physical stores heavily influence customer experiences.

Haptic fixtures in pop-up stores can diversify digital elements to entertain, amaze and allure target customers. The visual presentation of the physical store usually boasts striking designs – bold colours, textures, and dynamic “instagrammable” displays, which help draw shoppers’ attention and immerse them. 

For example, the Balenciaga store in London was wrapped with pink faux fur to market its Le Cagole handbag line. The overwhelming fluffy displays filled up the interior for a whimsical vibe in the store. Such creative and instagrammable interior designs allowed customers to engage with the brand and attracted online customers to open their eyes to the experiential store.

Another example of making offline shopping more intriguing was from Salvatore Ferragamo. They blended NFT into patronage at the Soho store, where customers could enjoy free NFT upon purchase of exclusive or made-to-order products and customization services. In contrast to Balenciaga’s maximalist store, Salvatore Ferragamo’s interior design came out “dramatic” – the Soho store was exquisitely equipped with a large curved screen display and colourful animated artwork. It showcased an entertaining and exploratory store concept. Moreover, the youth-centric considerations led to an immersive and personalized shopping experience for the young generations.

According to IBM’s Consumer Research Insight, 72% of consumers chose stores as their primary shopping location. Hence, while e-commerce has become a mainstream shopping channel and an effective tool to reach consumers, the Hyperphysical retail concept still draws online shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores.

Final Thought

To echo the beginning of the article, technology does not wipe physical stores off the map. In fact, their presence is redefined and elevated by technology. With the emergence of the hyperphysical store, more physical stores turn out decorated with vivid visual presentations and memorable window displays, morphing into mesmerizing presence to acquire and engage customers.

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We gather the latest Visual Merchandising news and share our thoughts about the VM industry. These are exciting display examples

We gather the latest Visual Merchandising news and share our thoughts about the VM industry. These are exciting display examples

We gather the latest Visual Merchandising news and share our thoughts about the VM industry. These are exciting display examples

We gather the latest Visual Merchandising news and share our thoughts about the VM industry. These are exciting display examples

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