Technology has taken the business world by storm, and the retail sector is no exception. The increasing adoption of digital platforms, smartphones, wearable and connected devices, and more has been changing consumers’ buying behavior across all channels. As a result, technology vastly transforms the shopping experience, both in-store and online.
The end goal, as always, is customer delight. So, it becomes essential for businesses to merge the benefits of a traditional store with the convenience of an online brand store. And thus, phygital was born!
What Exactly is Phygital?
Virtual and phygital commerce is transforming the global retail industry. The disruption caused by technology has paved the way to enhance the customer experience through a better, more immersive virtual shopping experience.
Phygital commerce empowers your brand to replicate the retail experience found in a physical store and takes it online through a virtual medium. By recreating the in-store-like experience online, phygital makes it possible for you to reach your customers directly. Furthermore, it makes online shopping seamless and convenient for your customers, enabling them to fulfill transactions from the comfort of their homes without missing out on the benefits that a physical store provides.
Phygital customer experience goes beyond what a traditional store can offer. It allows your customers to:
- Gauge the look and feel of your product
- Talk to sales promoters in real-time
- Resolve their queries
- Ask any questions that they may have
- Receive personalized recommendations and offers
- Get live product and service demos
- Complete the purchase transaction in one single instance
3 Key Factors Driving Retailers Towards Adopting Phygital
- Cost Optimization
Digital platforms usually have lower recurring costs than setting up physical infrastructure. Therefore, spending money on phygital is less expensive and more of an investment. It ends up making a lot more money for your brand through higher customer acquisition, conversion, and retention. Brands like yours can even go further and select an outsourcing partner for implementing phygital. Since they already have the infrastructure, resources, and expertise needed for phygital, it will save you a considerable amount of time and resources.
- Customer Expectation
Modern consumers are very keen on saving time and effort. And they are willing to pay a premium for a premium experience. As a result, consumers are consistently on the lookout for the best possible experiences and seek platforms that enable them to buy anything at any time from anywhere. While standard e-commerce platforms suit regular items, consumers still need to dive deeper when making big-ticket purchases. Phygital shopping experience addresses this need by engaging consumers in real-time and letting them get a first-hand experience of the product without making them step out of their houses.
- Competitive Advantage
There is heavy competition when it comes to online retailers. Many online marketplaces (Flipkart, Amazon) and social buying platforms (Facebook, Instagram) and every brand have its digital footprint and website. In such a scenario, having a mere online presence is not enough. Your brand needs to leverage innovative technologies and digital platforms that can completely disrupt the way your audience perceives shopping to truly stand apart from the crowd and grab the customers’ attention.
5 Tips for Creating a Truly Phygital Experience
Now that you understand the importance of phygital commerce, the next thing you need to do is get started on your phygital journey.
Here are five tips that will help your brand create a truly phygital experience for your consumers:
- Analyze your current business operations
Planning is an essential part of implementing any new change. And so, you must start your phygital journey by first mapping out your current business operations across digital and physical channels. This will help you take stock of how things are looking now, where the potential gaps lie, and what steps would be needed to address those gaps.
- Decide the level of technology you want to implement at the initial stage.
While you might be tempted to go all-in of phygital (as you eventually should), it might bode well for your brand if you take a staggered approach towards implementing a technological shift. Take the time and resources available for this project and start at a beginner’s level for the paradigm shift. Taking your entire store, the phygital route might be difficult for your employees and require intense training and restructuring. Instead, break down the process into smaller steps and eventually build into it.
For example, focus on enhancing your online presence at the initial level. Once your brand store is set up online, add live QnA and AI-based chatbots to help customers. Add a sales promoter who can give product demos in real-time and directly engage your customers at a further stage. This way, you will not be overwhelmed by the process and indulge in continuous process improvement across all stages.
- Evaluate the potential vendors and solutions available in the market
You might need to enlist a third-party vendor or professional experts to help you create your phygital brand store. Do a little bit of research and find out the vendors and solutions that can cater to your needs and align with your vision for phygital.
- Select the suitable platform to manage both your physical and digital stores
Once you have a list of potential vendors and solutions ready, you need to evaluate them to find the perfect fit for your business. A good way to go about this is to make a handy checklist of features, technologies, pricing, and more and compare the vendors along these lines. This will help you narrow down your options and give you a better understanding of your requirements and strategic initiatives that need to be taken to make phygital a success.
- Translate your phygital plan into a reality
Once you have onboarded your vendor or chosen a suitable solution for phygital, you need to start implementing the required changes right away. Again, an industry-expert partner can help you optimize your processes and ease you into the transition. Or, you can even choose to completely outsource the process, thereby making it easier for you to manage the business side of things while your preferred vendor takes care of the phygital side of things and expands your online portfolio.
To Sum Up
The modern consumer has higher expectations from the market. They want everything at the click of a button, precisely what a phygital shopping experience provides. Phygital is perfectly poised to revolutionize the online and offline shopping experience. Retailers embrace e-tailing and digital channels with open arms since it helps them reach a broader target audience and engage with them more personalized manner. And so, phygital commerce is here to stay.