Hotwire gets "phygital"

Hotwire explains why digital brands are “going physical”

Why are so many digital brands falling over themselves to create offline, physical experiences for their customers? That’s the question Hotwire tried to answer recently at its second Trends event in London.

A panel of industry experts from Pinterest, Tempur Sealy International, TouchNote and Startupbootcamp gathered at the Hotwire office on Thursday, June 1, to explore how the digital and physical realms are becoming increasingly intertwined.

Anastasia Emmanuel, a consumer tech brand consultant, argued that customers increasingly want to see and feel the products they find online. She said that “fundamentally” experiencing a product enables the consumer to understand its value.

She quipped: “Grown men behave like children when you put a tech product, like a drone, into their hands – nothing beats that feeling, and nothing can sell products faster.”

Julie Rigby, head of brand marketing at Tempur Sealy International, said her brand is looking to fuse its online and offline stores because its customers are increasingly time-poor and frustrated with the shopping experience.

“We recognise that we need a connected process for our customers,” she said. “We want to see virtual reality communicating with customers in-store rather than pushy sales assistants, creating an experience the consumer buys into rather than pushing a sale.”

Michelle Kramer, head of international communications at Pinterest, echoed this sentiment. She described how the brand is developing physical applications for its social network to help people design their lives.

“Consumers are discovering ideas online and going offline to try out the experience,” she said. “We don’t expect our users to be on the platform all day, nor do we want them to be. We believe great online experiences lead to even better offline experiences.”

Hotwire predicts this trend will transform the British high street in 2017 which matches one of the predictions made by The Future Laboratory’s Chris Sanderson at the Cision World Tour in London on Tuesday.

Sanderson believes trends like this will usher in a new era of PR creativity, and used his keynote speech to examine the opportunities trends, such as the growth of the attention economy, are creating for communicators. Click here now for the full story.

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