Hybrid CX is here to stay; it’s time to embrace it

To attract and retain today’s promiscuous, channel-hopping consumers, clicks-and-bricks retailers must embrace the hybrid customer journey to meet consumers’ needs wherever they are.

Amanda Groth, 

23 February 2023

2023 is truly in full swing, yet predicting and planning for what’s to come remains a challenge for most retailers. Economists expect the looming recession to be mild by historic standards, but after three years of turmoil, change continues to feel like the only constant. No matter what lies ahead, loyalty remains a key talking point. To attract and retain today’s promiscuous, channel-hopping consumers, clicks-and-bricks retailers must embrace the hybrid customer journey to meet consumers’ needs wherever they are.

Today’s customers want a consistent and seamless experience across all touchpoints, whether they’re online, in-store, on social media or in a brand’s app. They expect to be able to move easily from channel to channel and are becoming increasingly accustomed to combining mediums in a single transaction. In fact, nearly 75% of consumers say they want a blend of physical and digital channels. And marketers know it too, with 67% of marketers stamping hybrid CX in 2023 as highly important.

Hybrid CX Use Cases

The primary goal of the hybrid CX approach is to deliver frictionless and connected brand experiences on- and offline, irrespective of channel or touchpoint.

New shopping behaviours such as Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) or Reserve Online, Try In-Store (ROTIS) demonstrate the complexity of today’s typical shopping behaviours, amalgamating digital and physical experiences into one journey. In this example, as with other hybrid CX use cases, customers benefit from the convenience of online shopping without missing out on the tangibility of an in-store experience.

Loyalty programs can also help bridge the gap between digital and physical interactions with your brand. This can include offering personalised in-store experiential rewards or services based on online purchases, or gamifying desired actions such as collecting in-store reward points after capturing online browse behaviour.

Hybrid CX also enables marketers to elevate the post-purchase experience. For instance, if a customer makes a purchase in-store, they may be more likely to make another purchase if they receive personalised value-added content based on this purchase, like styling tips, recipes or complementary product recommendations.

The Hybrid CX Framework

Though effective hybrid CX can drive sales and provide a competitive advantage, creating a framework to build experiences that respond to evolving customer needs can be challenging.

Implementing a hybrid approach requires a deep understanding of customer behaviour and their preferences, as well as the ability to integrate various technologies and channels seamlessly. Retailers need a holistic and comprehensive view of each customer, accessible across functions to ensure each touchpoint is consistent and drives value. A customer data platform (CDP) creates a 360-degree view of each customer from all of a brand’s online or offline data sources. With accurate data available in real-time, brands can promote personalised customer journeys across every touchpoint at scale, enabling deeper customer relationships to be built and retained.

The way customers shop may have changed, but their expectation of value at every interaction has not. The hybrid approach is very much in its evolution, but what is clear is that it’s here to stay. By embracing hybrid CX and creating engaging customer journeys, brands can prepare themselves for the unknowns of evolving buyer behaviours.

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