A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that while e-commerce will continue to be an essential element of the retail strategy, the future success of retailers will ultimately depend on creating a cohesive customer experience, both online and in stores.
Brick-and-mortar retailers noticed that customers were spending much less time on average in the store yet were spending more money while they were there. This must be the case because the customer must be researching online first in order to minimize the time they need to spend in the store itself. Thanks to online, customers are smarter than ever when it comes to their purchasing decision. They research the products online, read reviews, and search for best prices before investing time or money in any store. Hence, the need to combine both the offline and the online experience for the customers becomes imperative.
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What does ‘Phygital’ mean?
As the name suggests, phygital shopping experience is a mixture of the physical and digital worlds. As the differences between the physical and digital world is getting blurred, both need to collaborate for a better customer experience. The phygital retail space combines the best of both worlds – the satisfaction of physical shopping and the intuitiveness of ecommerce.
Phygital technologies that are making a difference in retail:
- Cashier-Less Shopping
Standing in a long billing queue at a grocery store and anxiously waiting for one’s turn is an experience that every shopper can relate to. No matter how many checkout lines brick-and-mortar stores facilitate, ensuring a swift movement has been quite a task. But the Cashier-Less Shopping gives the customers a seamless shopping experience. With the elimination of human presence, retailers will be calling upon digitised, phygital retail displays to replace people. Many retailers already have phygital retail displays in their stores as click-and-collect points. It allows customers and shoppers to enter the stores by scanning the app and exit without standing at the checkout line.
- Live Chats
Live chat saves time for both the customers and the company. A live chat support is the most effective way to respect your customers’ time. Customers don’t have to get on the phone or to wait for someone to respond to an email, all of their queries are answered real-time through the live chat option.
- Personalised Content
Contextualizing the content experience has become a need for the retailers today. AI/ML based personalization is what makes customers pause and pay attention to your brand message. It is a key way in which retailers enhance user experience.
- Locations-Based Push Notifications
Locations-based push notifications are a way of sending target notifications to consumers based on their geographical location. Retailers can use geofencing notifications to enhance their brand presence and events. They can trigger a reminder for a flash sale when a user is within the close range of the store. Many retailers have already experienced a rise in web / app engagement, thanks to sending out location-based push-notifications to its consumers.
Phygital ecosystem is the need of the hour and will be instrumental in shaping the future of retail. Retailers are undoubtedly evolving their marketing strategies, blending physical and digital marketing together to create a holistic experience for their customers. No matter the size of your business, taking small steps to create a phygital retail experience is something you can start today.