As more people buy things online, e-commerce companies seek novel methods to position themselves from the competition and engage customers. “Phygital,” an omnichannel form of retail shopping that offers the chance to create a more immersive, engaging, and interactive customer experience, is at the forefront of these strategies. Phygital methods are being used by retailers from Sephora to Amazon.com to increase conversions, tailor consumer journeys, and strengthen brand loyalty.
Being relatively new, “phygital” consuming experiences mirror the novelty of enabling emergent digital technologies. In order to create experiences that can only be made feasible by the development of new digital technologies, phygital marketing entails designing a consumer journey that seamlessly combines physical and digital experiences. Popular physical approaches, for instance, entail integrating augmented reality, touch displays, seamless digital payment systems, and contactless payment systems into the consumer experience. In the end, the employment of such tactics has broad industry applications (e.g., in banking, tourism, and education), although we primarily focus on retail applications here.
What is Phygital eCommerce?
Phygital retailing is a hybrid of digital and physical retailing that combines the best components of both types of retailing to capture the unique aspects of browsing and purchasing in a typical brick-and-mortar store. Today, a lot of shops have physical locations where their products can be seen, touched, and felt by customers. Customers can also order products online and have them quickly delivered to their houses. This gives them the option of having a more immersive shopping experience. Physical retail includes options like click and collect and buy online, and pick up in-store. Due to the rapid pleasure of in-store purchases without having to wait for days for shipping, online shopping has become more convenient.
Your brick-and-mortar store may have experienced a decline in foot traffic, according to your sales statistics, but you may need to take into account that some of your online purchases may have come from clients who came into your store before making their purchases online. You get to interact with your customers both online and offline thanks to this omnichannel experience, which will increase brand loyalty.
What is a phygital strategy?
A phygital strategy must be built around the current customer experience. It’s critical to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both online and offline shopping experiences. The idea is to combine the greatest elements of both approaches into one cohesive plan. Phygital combines the greatest aspects of the online and offline purchasing experiences to give customers a seamless experience and give shops additional sources of development.
Since their inception, brick-and-mortar stores selling everything from food to clothing have been losing market share to online competitors, or to companies that were more adept at using digital tools to improve phygital client experiences. This can entail installing a self-service kiosk within a retail store or researching pricing online before making an in-store purchase.
This is best illustrated by McD’s, which installed self-serve kiosks in place of servers at all of its US locations. Other chains are embracing this approach as well, including fast-casual chains like Panera and casual-dining chains like Chili’s.
Brands now understand that strong phygital campaigns are just as important to connect their online and offline presences as colours and logos. An engaging experience on your website cannot be lost when a potential customer visits your store. In actuality, 63% of all in-store purchases originate online. Therefore, it is crucial for retailers to connect their online and in-store presences in order to recognise the customer who has just visited their website and is now in the store to make a purchase.
Imagine leaving a restaurant and walking into a different store where you are greeted and given shopping advice based on your personality. In addition to delivering the best possible consumer experience and boosting brand loyalty, this type of involvement streamlines the kiosk experience and makes it extremely customer-centric.
Create engaging mobile app experiences
Customers can be engaged and connected to your products through mobile apps. Customized experiences, like virtual try-ons, can make the buying experience more participatory and individualised. With the use of the Virtual Artist technology, Sephora’s app enables users to virtually test different makeup colours. Users of the Allbirds app can digitally try on the brand’s shoes. Shopping is made more convenient for consumers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see the goods in person due to virtual try-on capabilities. They can try out the products either in-person or online before making a purchase.
Create efficient checkout procedures
The main goal of phygital is to improve and streamline the shopping experience for customers. All phases of the customer journey are included in this, from product discovery to purchase. Make sure to think about how to simplify the purchasing process. For instance, you can incorporate digital payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay into your mobile app. Another instance of increasingly common phygital activities is self-checkout equipment at businesses. Shopping is made more efficient and frictionless when customers visit a store in person yet check out using a digital tool.
Let customers choose how they buy
BOPIS, AKA Buy online, pick up in-store, enables customers to shop online and pick up their purchases in a store or other designated location. If customers decide to pick up extra things during their visit to the store, this helps the retailers save money on shipping expenses. Curbside pickup is another form of physical marketing where customers may order online and pick up in person without ever leaving their cars. The customer alerts the sales staff when they arrive at the store, and they bring the order out to the curb.
Customer portals and websites
When it comes to building online portals, the insurance and healthcare sectors are without a doubt the two most significant. Both are anticipated to be simple to use so that customers may self-serve tasks like paying their bills or asking for prescription refills. But not every website meets this criterion. Some are exceedingly challenging to use, and clients must call a customer support number to obtain what they require. However, things don’t have to be this way!
Websites should be mobile-friendly first. Nearly everyone has access to a cell phone, which is frequently their main tool for daily tasks like maintaining their insurance and healthcare. In fact, according to a Mobiquity study, 52% of consumers say switching insurance is simpler now than it used to be, and 30% agree that they would transfer insurers for better digital features. Imagine the impact technology may have on the customer experience if insurance firms taught their agents to teach clients to self-serve. Insurance companies frequently rely largely on the relationships that their agents have with their customers.
The phygital retail trend checks all the boxes for the immersive shopping experiences that consumers are constantly seeking. No matter how big or small your retail business is, offering omnichannel experiences to your customers can benefit you greatly.
You can start by managing both your online and offline businesses on the same platform as a first step. This will provide you with a unified channel, making things much easier. This unification can be controlled from a centralized dashboard within an eCommerce enabler like EasyEcom, indicating performance channel-wise.
You can eventually begin incorporating digital features into your physical stores. With greater involvement in-store and online as a result, which will help increase consumer experience and loyalty. The best of both worlds can be found in retail when physical and digital components are combined, but to what degree can phygital practices be broadly adopted by e-commerce firms in the future?