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Phygital in Retail: Bringing the online and offline together

The retail world is full of buzzwords. Omnichannel retail, retailtainment, shoppertainment, and brand activation are just a few of them. But what about phygital? In case you didn’t hear about this buzzword until now, we are here to explain what it means and help you understand how it can help retailers sell more. 

What does phygital mean?

Phygital comes from the combination of the words physical and digital. As you know, there are two big categories of retailers. On one hand, we have physical retailers, those that have brick and mortar stores. On the other hand, we’ve got eCommerce retailers, those that chose to sell their products online, without having a physical location. 

However, nowadays, customers are expecting more from retailers. That’s why there are stores that are adopting a hybrid approach. This means that they are promoting and selling their products on various channels, both online and offline, depending on where their customers are. 

But what about phygital? Where does this term integrate into the whole retail strategy? 

Phygital refers more to the use of digital technologies in the physical world to offer customers a better experience inside the store. 

While eCommerce retailers have data about their customers and enough digital resources to offer personalized experiences, physical stores have the perfect place to offer those experiences. When combined, you obtain the phygital retail.

Physical meets digital in retail 

People love to shop online because it is convenient. However, they also love to shop in-store because they can see, smell, touch, or try out the merchandise. Ecommerce stores don’t offer shoppers a full shopping experience and neither do the classic brick and mortar stores. 

That’s why many retailers are turning to digital technologies and resources to be able to give customers the best experience. They are bringing the digital and connecting it to the physical store. 

Phygital brings out the best aspects of online and offline, leaving out the inconveniences of both of these environments. It takes the best parts of the digital experience which includes immediacy, speed, and immersion and it combines them with the best parts of the offline experience, which include human interaction and the stimulation of all senses

This approach is the best way to meet the needs of hyper-connected, demanding customers. As we all know, customers are the most important part of any business and that is why more and more retailers are making the customers the center of attention, instead of focusing on products. 

Phygital offers retailers the opportunity to provide better customer experiences in-store. In order to make the phygital user experience a reality, retailers need to focus on the three I’s: immersion, immediacy, and interaction. Also, they need to use technology to facilitate the immersion or the immediacy. Finally, the interaction can be provided by both employees and technology, depending on the experience. 

Now that we’ve established what phygital is all about, let’s take a look at retailers which are using this approach to make their customers feel more connected, increase brand loyalty, and lift sales.

Let's get phygital

1. Amazon Go 

While Amazon started out as an ecommerce-only retailer, over the years, the need for a better customer experience made Amazon extend to physical locations. Amazon Go uses an interesting just-walk-out technology that allows customers to shop without lines and any type of checkout. Yes, they don’t even have a self-checkout. 

How does it work? 

People scan their Amazon Go app before entering the store. Then, they add all of the products they want, the app recognizes them and automatically adds their products to the bill. Finally, once the shoppers exit the store and receive a bill on their Amazon Go app. Easy, efficient, and fun. 

Amazon uses technology for immediacy and immersion. Shoppers receive a convenient experience and feel like they are part of the experience as well. 

2. Rebecca Minkoff

Another mind-blowing example of phygital experience done right is the one from Rebecca Minkoff. Who said that technology and fashion don’t mix well together? Well, Rebecca Minkoff shows us that tech and fashion can work hand in hand to create amazing experiences. 

How? 

Shoppers can “order” the products they want to try with the help of touch screens in the store. Then, they will see which fitting room is available and when they can try out the products. After they try out clothes, shoppers can request a smaller or bigger size with the help of the intelligent touch screen mirror and they will receive it in a few moments. Another great advantage? The mirror can help shoppers change the lighting in the room to see exactly how the outfit is going to look. 

As you can see, brick-and-mortar stores are not going to disappear in a few years because people still love to shop in-store. However, with the help of technology, physical retailers will be able to offer customers better experiences. 

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