It combines the physical and digital worlds for an experience that is full “immediacy, immersion and interaction”.
We have entered a very crucial time in Indian retail, as the blurring of the physical and digital worlds paired with the ubiquity of mobile connectivity are accelerating the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the retail sector. Phygital shopping experience brings the customers and the retail closer. In the industry’s push toward an Omni-channel world, IoT promises to deliver gains in productivity, efficiency, inventory visibility and customer satisfaction. The current trend in Omni-channel retail is to go “phygital” – for physical stores to become digital. The phygital retail space combines the best of both worlds – the tactile satisfaction of physical retail and the intuitiveness of ecommerce.
How do we harness the power of two-way Transaction in a Phygital Design?
It requires a true understanding of the consumer, the shopper tribe frequenting stores and a willingness on behalf of the retailer to embrace change. One of the major areas where companies of all sizes are channelling their focus is towards the improvement of the overall in-store shopping experience that can provide insights to retailers. This mix of technology and physical presence allows customers to physical presence allow customers to optimize their shopping experience, irrespective of location.
We live in a world where customers have grown to expect as opposed to desire. Now shoppers simply expect 3D environments to ‘raise the bar’ of retail experience year on year. In fact, we are rapidly reaching the point where a lack of phygital innovation will seriously impact the bottom line of brands that can’t keep up.
What constitutes excellence in customer experience is being re-defined by the shopper and often goes far beyond a friendly greeting and helpful service. Phygital has many levels of application and may not be right for all retail brands. In fact, varying levels of innovation will always exist across the retail landscape.
How is Phy-gital evolving?
Here are a few examples of how some brands are already delivering it.
Despite the assumption that the consumer only lives online, in-store shopping remains just as popular as ever.
The challenge for retailers is providing consumers with a store that’s relevant – a place that means something to the people who are likely to live and shop nearby.
As brands start to focus more on core values and beliefs, many are now promoting a unique point of view in order to generate loyalty, instead of simply pandering to the general consumer.
The aim for retailers in future is not just to pre-empt purchase behaviour, but to predict the emotions that drive consumers to buy. This type of ‘mood retail’ is not only determined by data or tools such as Google’s Customer Match for Shopping. We’ve also seen certain brands using mood as a marketing tool.
Phy-gital – the future of Retail
While Ecommerce is still a relatively new kid on the block (think about 13% of sales), each year things are changing, and real is a melting pot of transformation. Retail brands are learning to do better or face extinction. How digital influences are occurring at home and in the store has an impact on the customer experience of mobile native Millennial more and more.
There are more key pillars to how retail stores can do Phygital better, such as:
To Personalize the Retail Experience
To Tell their Brand Story
To provide an educational journey and complementary services
To showcase their products better
To use customer and product analytics and machine learning to learn about their customers and recommend them products better.
Optimizing the physical layout of the store creates brand associations, emotional ambience and emotional customer engagement that resonates’ with how the shopping experience is perceived. New designs also must reflect consumer shopping trends:
Integrating technologies such as IoT, iBeacons, RFID tags, VR, AR, Retail Androids, SMS push notifications and more advanced personalization related to loyalty reward programs enables brick and mortar stores to create the unified ambience that Phygital entails.
Brands who have mastered Phygital
Equipped with the power to disrupt traditional sales models, phygital communications can help retailers get even closer to their customers and drive a strong ROI. However, doing this effectively is a challenge for many retailers. For inspiration on how to make your business increase its phygital footprint, check out these three exemplary retailers that have made exciting investments in phygital technology.
Adidas’ Tech Trainer Wall Interactive, state-of-the-art technology in the store
Adidas stores typically stock about 200 different shoes, but their full range stretches to more than 4,000 varieties. To combat stores’ limited ability to stock a variety of shoes, Adidas developed a fully-interactive virtual wall that allows customers to use intelligent search tools to interact with all of the brand’s products.
Shoppers can use the ground-breaking touch screen to pull a shoe “off the shelf,” rotate it, and zoom in on features they want to see. They can also see live social media and video footage that features the products they like.
L’Oreal’s MakeupGenius app allows customers to “try before they buy,” and adds a critical “fun” element to the shopping experience, which Millennials love. The app features a 3D virtual mirror that maps 64 facial points through the front-facing camera on smart phones.
Whatever the angle, the mapping technology shows users what they look like in the seasons top looks, and enables easy, mess-free experimentation. The technology even allows shoppers to try on looks that require products that aren’t kept in stock.
The sophisticated app is not only widely accessible, but it also saves in-store associates valuable time because make-up counters have traditionally relied on customers’ sampling the product in the store, which quickly eats up store associates’ time and attention.
Proximity marketing with machine learning or Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been coupled and represents the next step towards personalizing marketing efforts. This concept, termed as “Concept Aware Personalization”, has been accomplished by Bosch, for retail solutions.
The solution utilizes Wi-Fi based technology patented by Bosch to provide indoor position detection that enables personalized offers to be made visible to customers based on a digital persona that is created from the data received.
It is a first-of-its-kind multi-brand phygital e-commerce marketplace that blends online and in-store shopping experience for customers, seamlessly. The key differentiator – to connect the online identity of the consumer in store and recommend personalised solutions to provide a seamless experience, with a curated shopping experience for customers.