Digital First - Physically Enhanced
The Future is Digital First, Physically Enhanced
Embracing a digital first approach
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses must constantly adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the competition. Embracing a “digital first” approach is no longer optional; it is a necessity for survival. But simply having a digital presence is not enough. To truly thrive, businesses must enhance their physical presence in a way that complements and amplifies their digital efforts. This is what we call a digital-first, physically enhanced business model.
A Personal Touch
I’ve experienced this shift firsthand. I used to frequent bookshops like Exclusive Books, browsing the shelves for my next read. But more often than not, I found myself weighing up the benefits of purchasing the book on the Kindle store instead. The convenience of instant access and the ability to carry my entire library in my pocket often won out.
More recently, I was in the market for a Chesterfield-style couch. I visited local furniture stores, but in the end, I made my purchase from Takealot, an online South African store. The retail trade faces digital competition all the time, and as a consumer, the convenience and variety offered by online shopping often tip the scales.
Case in Point: Amazon
Take Amazon, for example. What started as an online bookstore has now become the world’s largest online marketplace. But Amazon didn’t stop at digital. They acquired Whole Foods and launched Amazon Go stores, integrating their digital platform with a physical point of sale presence. This allows all sorts of interactions with clients both on the net and in store, creating a seamless shopping experience that is both digital and physical.
The Tesla Revolution
Another great example is Tesla. They’ve revolutionized the car buying experience with their digital showrooms. Customers can customize and order their car online, and then pick it up at a local delivery center. The showrooms also have a few models on display so customers can see and feel the cars in person. Tesla’s approach eliminates the need for a traditional car lot, reduces overhead costs, and provides a unique, customer-centric experience.
Small to Medium-Sized Businesses Can Do It Too
But this model isn’t just for the big players. Small to medium-sized businesses can also successfully adopt a digital-first, physically enhanced model.
Bonobos, a men’s clothing brand, started as an online-only store but later opened “guideshops” where customers can try on clothes and then have them shipped directly to their homes. This allows Bonobos to provide a personalized shopping experience without the need for large inventory spaces.
Birchbox, a beauty subscription service, also started online but later opened a physical store in New York. The store uses data from their online sales to stock their most popular items and offers services like beauty consultations and classes.
Rapha, a high-end cycling brand, operates “clubhouses” in addition to their online store. These clubhouses serve as both retail stores and community hubs, offering coffee, screening cycling races, and hosting group rides.
The Future is Here
These examples illustrate the power of a digital-first, physically enhanced business model. It’s not just about moving your business online. It’s about reimagining your physical presence to complement and amplify your digital strategy. It’s about creating a cohesive and immersive experience that delights customers and sets you apart from the competition.
As we move forward, businesses that embrace this model will be the ones that thrive. The future is digital first, physically enhanced.
Are you ready?
Ready to Embrace the Future?
Digitally First but Physically Enhanced
The Online Business Model has usurped the Physical Business Presence as the primary business presence. Physical businesses now support the online versions.
This transitioning has been fraught with difficulty but has been terribly exciting. Successful transients are alive with possibilities…