How to Step Into The Future By Implementing a Hybrid Shopping Experience

How to Step Into The Future By Implementing a Hybrid Shopping Experience

3 min read

Alex Selwitz

Alex Selwitz | July 26, 2023

The in-store shopping experience is here to stay. And while it’s true that about 75% of shoppers continue to have some in-store interaction, digital shopping is still on the rise. In 2022, US e-commerce sales were more than $1 trillion, a massive increase from previous years.

To take advantage of both types of shoppers, businesses need to know how to cater to their customers in-store and online. The way to do this is through something called a hybrid shopping experience.

This guide goes more in-depth about a hybrid shopping experience and what matters. We’ll cover tips to help you learn how to implement a hybrid shopping experience in your workplace.

What is a Hybrid Shopping Experience?

A hybrid shopping experience is a retail strategy that seamlessly merges online and offline shopping channels. Trends show a steady rise in customer preference for this model; a recent report revealed that more and more customers prefer shopping with brands that offer a hybrid experience. The necessity of adopting a hybrid shopping experience is more than a mere trend — it's a new benchmark in customer experience.

Unlike omnichannel retailing, which merely ensures a brand's presence across various platforms, hybrid shopping creates an integrated shopping journey via digital and physical channels. Think of it as omnichannel 2.0 — the customer can use a smartphone to check product availability in a physical store, test the product in the store, and then choose to either buy it in-store or have it delivered to their doorstep.

Why a Hybrid Shopping Experience Matters

The hybrid shopping experience is of paramount importance, primarily due to the shift in customer behavior accelerated by the pandemic. When lockdowns and social distancing norms were imposed worldwide, consumers swiftly turned to e-commerce. Yet, they still craved physical stores' tangible, sensory experiences.

The benefits of a hybrid shopping experience are manifold. It offers unparalleled flexibility to customers and enhances the shopping experience by providing personalized recommendations, fostering customer loyalty.

For businesses, a hybrid approach provides insightful data from both online and offline channels, enabling a better understanding of customer preferences. The companies that thrived during the pandemic peak swiftly adapted to change — particularly those that embraced a hybrid model.

How Hybrid Shopping Experiences Affect Customers and Employees

A hybrid shopping experience creates a win-win situation for both businesses and customers. It significantly affects both groups, reshaping the retail landscape with comprehensive, well-integrated systems.


Hybrid shopping gives employees a holistic view of the customer journey, preferences, and behaviors. Tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and point of sale (POS) software provide a real-time snapshot of customer activities, from browsing patterns to purchasing habits.

This insight enables employees to offer more personalized service, recommend products based on customer preferences, and predict future trends, enhancing their performance. Understanding how to navigate and operate within a hybrid model equips employees with valuable skills for the modern retail environment.

These skills provide opportunities for skill development, greater flexibility, and efficiency in employee roles, all of which can contribute to their professional growth and satisfaction — and here’s how:

  • The hybrid shopping model brings a high degree of flexibility as employees become adept at managing online and offline channels, expanding their skill sets and potential for career growth.
  • Technological advancements simplify the shopping process: integrating online and offline inventory systems, order fulfillment automation, and user-friendly interfaces for managing customer interactions are all parts of this simplification.
  • Automating routine tasks and minimizing complexity saves precious employee time, which they can invest in providing high-quality customer service. Also, these systems facilitate better organization and tracking of tasks, helping employees manage their time more efficiently and balance their responsibilities effectively.


From the customer's perspective, hybrid shopping offers the convenience of online shopping and the immediate experience of in-store shopping. This flexibility can enhance the shopping experience, making it more personalized and enjoyable.

A well-executed hybrid experience might include online reservations for in-store fittings or previews, personal shopping services across platforms, eCommerce fulfillment services, or exclusive online and in-store deals. These tailored experiences increase not only customer satisfaction but also customer lifetime value (CLV).

One great example is Sephora, the global beauty retailer. In addition to offering an extensive online catalog, Sephora's mobile app bridges the online-offline gap beautifully: customers can virtually 'try on' products using augmented reality, create personalized wish lists, and check product availability at their local store.

Once in the store, customers can use the 'Sephora Color IQ' to find the exact foundation and concealer matches for their skin tone. By intuitively connecting the virtual and physical experiences, Sephora amplifies the hybrid shopping experience.

Ways to Implement a Hybrid Shopping Experience

Now that we know what a hybrid shopping experience is and why it’s so important, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of how to implement a hybrid shopping experience. Here are some ways to start making hybrid shopping possible for your customers.

In-store Pickup

In-store pickup is a popular feature of the hybrid shopping model. Customers can purchase and collect items online from the physical store, saving shipping time and costs. Retail giants like Best Buy and Apple are excellent examples of this, improving customer convenience and efficiency.

3D Modeling

3D modeling is a technology that allows customers to visualize products in three dimensions, enhancing the online shopping experience. By implementing this in physical stores through AR-enabled apps, businesses can offer a unique, interactive hybrid experience, bridging the gap between digital browsing and tangible evaluation.

QR Codes

QR codes in stores offer a multifaceted tool for customers: they can look up product information, compare prices, or even make payments. Retailers like Walmart and Target use QR codes effectively, integrating digital convenience into in-store shopping.

Digital Checkouts

Digital checkouts or self-checkout services offer an expedient, contactless payment option within the store, enhancing the in-store digital experience. Companies like Amazon, with its Amazon Go stores, are pioneers in this field, minimizing queues and elevating customer convenience.

Final Thoughts

Hybrid customers are the way of the future, offering more revenue and helping businesses stay relevant to customers. In fact, as of right now, roughly one in four customers choose a hybrid shopping experience.

On top of that, more and more customers are demanding a blend of digital and physical shopping experiences. Switching to a hybrid shopping system makes keeping up with client demands easier.

A few ways businesses can implement a hybrid shopping experience include offering in-store pickup, using QR codes, and providing digital checkouts. These are just a few ways stores can blend technology with physical shopping to create a great customer experience.

Think about how these experiences can help your business stay competitive and provide value to your customers and employees. A hybrid shopping experience might be the key to improving your bottom line.

Categories: Industries

Alex Selwitz

Alex SelwitzDirector of SEO, Red Stag Fulfillment

Alex has years of experience in eCommerce and digital marketing. In his free time, Alex enjoys playing guitar and learning about new trends in the digital world.

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