Retail

Let’s get phygital: It’s a portmanteau listicle

1+1=1? Doing the math on retail word combos.
article cover

The Office/NBC via Giphy

· 3 min read

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.

In our Coworking feature on Wednesday, Michele Vakiener, an account executive for sustainable green print production at Orora Visual, said that one retail trend she was excited about was “phygital”—aka physical stores adopting digital technologies that are more associated with online shopping.

Maybe it’s just that we’re word nerds, but nothing gets us all aquiver like a well-formed portmanteau. Like “maskne,” which—let’s put it this way—broke out in early 2020, and was understood instantly as a clever fusion of “mask” and “acne.”

There are plenty that are retail-related, so now seemed as good a time as any to do a listicle (list + article) of them.

Athleisure (athletic + leisure): Clothing suitable for exercising and…everything else. Boomed (duh!) during the pandemic.

E-commerce (electronic + commerce): Need we say more?

E-tailing (electronic + retailing): The middle child of the online-shopping glossary. It goes way back to the AltaVista dial-up days when computers were deeper than they were wide.

Freemium (free + premium): A retail and sales strategy where a basic service is given away for free, but more services or content come with a charge. Like those free articles before you hit the paywall. Or YouTube being free (as long as you’re OK to sit through all the ads).

Jeggings (jeans + leggings): They look like skin-tight jeans, but without posing health risks because they’re denim-free.

Masstige (mass + prestige): Used to describe several retail phenomena, including such companies as Trader Joe’s, that many perceive as being simultaneously affordable and gourmet, and upscale brands that are usually in a prestige channel distributing in a mass channel, like Sephora mini-stores opening within Kohl’s.

Metail (me + retail): A recent coinage by retail consultant Joel Bines to describe how much power and agency consumers have in today’s retail environment.

Mocktail (mock + cocktail): Mixed and blended drinks, but without any booze, a growing segment in this sober-curious era.

Nutraceutical (nutrition + pharmaceutical): A food that, along with its nutritional value, has—or claims to have—health benefits, including so-called superfoods like açai berries or green tea. Also applies to common food components, like omega-3 fish oil, that are used in supplements or to fortify food products.

Tofurky (tofu + turkey): A brand name for vegan products that date back to the 1990s and, even though it never gobbled, its Tofurky Roast aims to taste like the Thanksgiving staple.—AAN

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.