HYBRIDISM IN RETAIL
Retail can be defined as the sale of products and services to the consumer where he or she does not resell the products and services. The consumer purchases the products with the aim of consuming but not making sales. Retailing involves transacting with the consumer from a single platform which may either be a physical store or a shopping website. The consumer can walk directly into the brick and mortar store and make a purchase, or he or she can simply visit an online platform to make an order (Goworek, 2015). Hybridism acts to integrate both platforms in the retailing business. It combines both physical and online shopping where the customer can enjoy a better shopping experience and still save money through reduced shipping costs. Hybridism acts to widen the market by capturing a bigger margin of the clients and ensuring quick product delivery to the consumers.
Evolution of Retail Stores
Evolution can be defined as the process of dynamism marked by inconsistencies and failures in business that enables survival and performance in the market. It encompasses all levels of the organization prioritizing on the people, ideas, products and business frameworks. For the physical stores to remain relevant and still retain their customer base, they need to embrace evolution and innovation (Goworek, 2015). The retail businesses, therefore, will be able to satisfy both the online and physical shopping needs of their customers ensuring efficiency in distribution. Evolution has thus led to the development of hybrid retail stores in the market.
Hybridism has been significantly featured and employed in the retail theories that aim to explain how the businesses develop, expand and grow to maturity. The theories explain the dynamism in organizations and how the owners utilize various strategies and platforms to reduce cost, increase coverage and also boost their sales. The theories include the retail life cycle theory and the environmental theory.
Retail Lifecycle Theory
The retail lifecycle theory suggests that a retail business goes through various levels of development, that is, innovation, growth, maturity and finally decline. At the innovation stage, the organization is born and is characterized by distinct production, fair growth rate and has a few rivals. When the business is at the growth stage, the sales are high; rivals enter the market and returns on investment are high. The maturity stage is marked by slow growth, high competition, and decline in returns. At this stage, the company forms a new strategy to help it gain a competitive advantage over its competitors (Goswami, 2017).
Competitive advantage can only be realized if the retailer can be able to reduce his or her operational costs, increase market coverage and reduce the price slightly. Most of the organizations choose to implement hybridism at this level where they integrate their physical stores together with online stores. For instance, taking the case of H&M Beauty Company, it has many competitive rivals such as Sally Beauty Holdings who are one of the largest retailers in the United States. For H&M Beauty to gain coverage, it opened online stores where clients all over the world can shop for their products. The company has also diversified on its products by stocking cosmetics. The products sold online have a 10% discount accompanied by free delivery. The online store contains corporate information, a help section for customer assistance and a join section that links the shop with its clients on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. H&M has physical stores all over the major cities in the world enabling it to reach a wider geographical area (The H&M Group, 2003). Hybridism in H&M has boosted revenue generation, coverage, reduced cost and boosted customer attraction.
The Environmental Theory
The environmental theory aims to unravel the manner in which businesses evolved from traditional retail store to the modern department stores, discount stores, chain stores and online stores encompassing the online platforms. Department stores emergence was attributed to by the changes in infrastructure and technology where the clients were willing to agree to fixed prices for their products. Discount stores later emerged due to low economic growth and highly competitive rates in the market (Goswami, 2017). As many people owned vehicles and populations living in the suburbs increased, the chain stores emerged. Innovation and technological advancements were later followed by the emergence of the online stores which could enable online transactions and delivery. Today, the retail stores have chosen to adapt hybridism in their business. They have joined both the physical and online markets.
Hybridism does not only reduce operational costs and increase profits for the stores but also increases shopping convenience and variety products to the clients. For businesses to make profits, they have chosen to focus on the client. Implementing hybridism means the retail businesses not only sells on physical premises but can reach those clients who cannot access their shops through the online platforms. Businesses have chosen to take their operations directly to their clients (Davis, 1995). The clients who have difficulty comprehending the online sites can physically visit the store to get their products. Hybridism has eased business significantly by raising the level of seller-client interaction.
The Significance of Hybrid Retailing
The retailers act as an intermediary between the manufacturers and the final consumers. Retailing in the process enables the manufacturer concentrate on creating products and doesn’t need to plan or budget for marketing and sales. Retailers aim to make shopping for their products easy, saving time and costs on the part of the client. Many of the retail stores have sale people who attend to the customer’s needs and answer any inquiries they may have. The internet platforms also have customer service pop-ups, and the product catalogues have attractive product pictures with brief descriptions and prices for the products. Retailing makes sure the right items get to the right clients at the most appropriate time and the right prices. It’s assured through right product descriptions, pricing, and displays (Goworek, 2015).
Types of Retail Stores
Majority of the retail stores have gradually transformed over time as many of the owners have gradually encompassed hybridism. Many of the stores traditionally encompassed only physical sales and others exclusively online platforms. Good examples of physical stores are the departmental stores and grocery stores. The department stores stock variety of products displayed in the various levels of the store. Some of the levels stock products such as clothes, cosmetics, footwear, and ornaments. The grocery store on the other hand stocks different types of grains, fruits, and vegetables (Zukin, 2015).
Examples of online retailers include the mobile and internet retailers. Mobile retailers encompass both physical sales and offer online shopping experience. They refer to individuals who use smartphones to record business transactions which are finalized by shipping to the consumer who had made an order. The internet retailers utilize the online platforms I availing their products to their clients. The individuals use shopping websites where the consumer makes online purchases. On transacting, the products are delivered directly to the client’s place of residence or work. Much lower prices characterize the internet retailers as compared to the mortar and brick store.
Stores with both the online and physical premise have gained prominence in today’s market. For instance, the H&M Beauty Company stocks fashionable cloth lines and cosmetics for its clients with branches in many parts of the world. The company also possesses websites where customers can view the products, make inquiries and even make orders (The H&M Group, 2015).
Hybridism and Strategic Marketing
Encompassing hybridism in marketing benefits the business substantially increasing its market coverage, reducing operational costs and customizing its strategies. The business is assured of competitive advantage over its competitors clinging to traditional strategies. Also, hybrid marketing has enabled the owner to integrate marketing notions that impact the business positively by assuring increased returns on investment and expanded the market area. The benefits realized through hybrid marketing include:
Reduced Costs on Operations
Many of the companies in the industry are in the pursuit of cost-effective ways of reaching the client. For instance, telemarketing is one of the cheapest marketing strategies which are built on low costs. A good example of a company using telemarketing is the Tesco Company; supplies cellular commodities to the market. The company thrives on low-cost marketing communicating through emails and catalog distribution. Telemarketing enables the company receives orders, respond to inquiries and finalize deals. Telemarketing also enables the company review the transactions and maintain its records (Mandal, 2017).
Hybridism allows those consumers who widely utilize social media get to view products on the online stores. For instance, scan codes enable client’s access online stores and shop for products instead of only tangible coupons in brick and mortar stores for availing discounts. Using both the physical and online platform enables reach both traditional and online clients. The codes can also be availed to the offline clients through the mail. Enhancing contact and access between the two groups will aid widen the market coverage for the Company (Davies, 2017).
Avails Product Information
Hybridism in marketing aims to avail needed information to inquisitive clients. Consumers willing to make a purchase may have no clarity as to the characteristics of the product, price, accessibility, and availability. An online platform enables the consumer get the right price and product features. The information thus initiates demand which is followed by a consequent purchase or an order.
Hybridism serves to equip the business for the market. The business may face stringent competition, strict policies, inadequate technology, harsh economic conditions and unreliable workforce. Hybridism aims to work on all the weak areas of the business and improve the strong functions to come up with a high performing profitable organization. It accomplishes this by maintaining the successful traditional frameworks and initiating new modes to improve competency and performance. For instance, taking the case of H&M Beauty; the company has been able to improve on its clothing by improving quality, fashion, embracing online marketing and opening stores all over the world. The company has prioritized on their customers by improving on their services and broadening the variety offered. Hybridism has proven to be a significant tool in interacting and closing deals with the customer. Not only does it impact the business positively but also avails variety products, discounts and home delivery.
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The H&M Group. (2015). H&M Annual Report.
The H&M Group. (2003). H&M Annual Report.
Goworek, H. and McGoldrick, P., 2015. Retail marketing management: Principles and practice. Pearson Higher Ed
Goswami, K. and Goswami, G., 2017. Global retail theories and its feasibility in Indian markets: an analysis. Assam economic review, p.46.
Davies, I.A., and Chambers, L., 2017. Integrating hybridity and business model theory in sustainable entrepreneurship. Journal of Cleaner Production.
Zukin, S., Kasinitz, P. and Chen, X., 2015. Global cities, local streets: Everyday diversity from New York to Shanghai. Routledge.
Mandal, P.C., 2017. Customer databases and database marketing: roles in relationship marketing. International Journal of Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence, 3(3), pp.327-336.